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Wait, summer is over already? 'The Middle' season premiere recap

Season 6 | Episode 1 | “Unbraceable You” | Aired Sept 24, 2014

The beginning of the sixth season of ABC’s sitcom The Middle started in very un-Middle fashion. The Heck family was actually relaxing. And getting along. Sitting by the pool, enjoying the final, fleeting moments of summer and feeling accomplished and calm. That is, until that goody-two-shoes neighbor Nancy Donahue has to ruin the moment by reminding Frankie she screwed up again and made Sue and Brick miss the entire first week of school. Oops. But would you expect anything less from Orson, Indiana’s most scatterbrained mom?

So the relaxation instantly turns spastic. Sue has realized she missed all of the great senior-year activities. Brick is stressing about falling behind in his maturity and needs to find a new backpack to prove he’s just as cool as his peers. And Axl is stressing … just kidding, Axl is sleeping a lot and ignoring the world.

But if there’s anyone in the family who can never let stress ruin a constant stream of joy and optimism, it’s Sue. And in very Sue fashion she has dubbed this season, and her senior year, the “Year of Sue.” There is nothing that can hold her back. Nothing except the fact that she is now in her eighth year of having braces on her teeth. She is in the only senior to still be held back by a big old metal mouth. But not for long. Instead of the usual stream of “three more months” that she’s been getting from the orthodontist for over a year, Frankie steps in in true Frankie fashion to tell the doctor that he needs to do things the way the Hecks want them done. And just like that, Sue is metal-mouth-free!

Brick is also trying to grow and adjust to the new school year. He has been far behind his peers for so long, but not anymore. He’s decided the best way to be cool like the other kids at school is to become more fashionable. And nothing is more fashionable than a new book bag. Or messenger bag. Or guitar case. Or baby carrier. Fashionable Brick is definitely a work in progress.

While everyone else in the family is going through a new-school-year crisis, Axl is playing basketball. A LOT of basketball. So much that he has worn Mike completely out. It’s clear that Mike can’t quite keep up with Axl anymore, but the only one who is bothered by this is Axl. Could he actually be maturing too? Could he actually be feeling sympathy for others? It doesn’t matter because it’s not like he would ever admit it. Plus, the fact that Mike is seemingly seven feet tall will always make him a formidable opponent in any athletic event.

Maybe this year really will be the “Year of Sue.” Or maybe it will be the Year of the Heck. The kids seem to be budding into a group of well-adjusted … nah. Who are we kidding? If there’s anything we can expect on The Middle this season, it’s that things will always be hectic in the Heck household.

The Middle airs Wednesdays at 8/7C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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