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'The Middle' recap: Happy Thanksgiving from the Hecks!

Season 6 | Episode 7 | “Thanksgiving VI” | Aired Nov 19, 2014

With only a week until Thanksgiving, we were gifted another great holiday episode of The Middle.

The episode centers around Frankie’s grand idea to not deal with Thanksgiving at home and instead take the whole family to the King Feast Buffet restaurant, much to Sue’s chagrin. I’ve thought about it, and I’ve definitely got to side with Sue on this one. Sure the Hecks don’t currently have a human-size dining-room table, or a sink to fill the giant hole in their kitchen. And sure they usually just buy a bunch of stuff that can be easily microwaved, so it’s not like they spend that much time cooking anyway. But it’s Thanksgiving!

Part of the fun of Thanksgiving is the stress of knowing your house isn’t nearly put together enough to have people over, and the stress of cooking food that you pray doesn’t give people food poisoning, and the stress of cleaning everything up at the end. That’s just Thanksgiving. Eating at a restaurant, no matter how unending the food is, just isn’t really Thanksgiving.

But Frankie didn’t consult me on these matters first, so to a restaurant they go—the Hecks, plus the dates of each Heck kid. Sue is bringing Darrin, Brick is bringing his girlfriend, Cindy, and Axl is bringing some random relative of Frankie’s hairdresser, Devin Levin.

Let’s start with Axl and Devin. They’re basically perfect for each other. They talk football together, and they’re both big fans of Funyuns and causing destruction at the dinner table. She is basically the female version of Axl, and he digs that. He doesn’t want to admit he digs that, but he definitely digs that. The only reason he won’t admit that him and Devin are probably going to eventually get married is because she was sent to dinner by Frankie, and if there’s one thing angsty college kids hate, it’s significant others chosen by their parents. So who knows if we’ll see more of Devin Levin, but I definitely hope so, because they would definitely be the most perfect couple ever. Almost as perfect as Sue and Darrin.

Speaking of Sue and Darrin, they’re still as perfect as ever. The only problem in Sue-and-Darrin-land is Mike and Darrin. Because, as with most dads with teenage daughters, Mike is not a fan of his teenage daughter’s boyfriend. So Sue makes it her personal Thanksgiving mission to get Mike to like Darrin at any cost.

Things come to a head when the restaurant runs out of turkey. (Side note: This never happens when you have Thanksgiving at home. Just saying.) Darrin takes the last piece of turkey and Mike is not okay with that. So Darrin tries to make up for it by telling the servers that it’s Mike’s birthday in hopes of getting them to sing to him. You would think that after all these years of being BFFs with Axl and dating Sue that Darrin would know Mike a little better than that, because clearly that is NOT something Mike is okay with. So Sue is going to have a little more work to do before Mike and Darrin go off on BFF bro-dates.

So we’ve got Axl and Devin falling in love in front of our eyes, Frankie eating her weight in taquitos, and Sue and Darrin working WAY too hard for Mike’s affection. And Brick missed all of this great Thanksgiving action because he was too busy spending every last dime he had to try to win his girlfriend a stuffed flounder in the claw machine because her favorite animal is a flounder because that’s normal.

In the end, I’d say it was a pretty successful Thanksgiving meal in the world of Heck, even if it did all go down in a restaurant.

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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