EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'The Middle' recap: Kirstie Alley's Pam Staggs is still partying like it's 1999

Season 6 | Episode 10 | “Pam Freakin’ Staggs” | Aired Jan 7, 2015

Welcome back to Orson, Indiana. It’s been a long month since we last saw the Hecks celebrating Christmas, and boy did they return with a bang. Not only do we get all five Hecks this week, but we finally get to meet the infamous and incredible PAM FREAKIN’ STAGGS!

Yes, if you’re a longtime fan of The Middle, you remember Pam Staggs as the supercool high school classmate of Frankie’s who won a crap ton of money on Wheel of Fortune. Well, Pam is back in Orson now, and, by the way, she’s being played by the legendary Kirstie Alley. (And yes, Kirstie Alley is most definitely legendary. If you don’t agree, you need to watch It Takes Two, which is one of the best movies of all time.)

Anywho, Pam is exactly how you would expect her to be. She’s just your typical “most popular girl in high school who grew up to have a perfect life and no matter how much you hate her for it you also would give anything to be BFFs with her.” She’s divorced, but not in a sad way, in a cool Real Housewives way. She also has a successful son who lives in South America. She knows all the best bars and all the best drinks, and, oh by the way, she has boatloads of Pat Sajak money.

And, the coolest part about Pam Staggs—she actually wants to be friends with Frankie.

So these two gals are reliving their high school days. Going out every night, singing karaoke, chatting it up like two old besties.

Back at home, Sue is trying to come up with new ways to get noticed on her college application. She’s trying to learn the oboe, because she read on the Internet that colleges LOVE students that play the oboe, and the Internet is always right.

Fun fact I learned during this episode—a poorly played oboe kind of sounds like a dying cat.

So Sue is making the (correct) decision to move on from the oboe and try instead to get a scholarship for the rowing team. But that’s kind of hard to practice when you don’t live near a body of water larger than a backyard pool.

But there is one surefire way to get a college’s attention, and that is 4H. Sue is going to get into college AND become a farmer. Let’s just hope the Hecks have enough room in their basement for a baby cow.

Axl, who is already in college, is trying to get the girl of his dreams, Devin Levin. In case you forgot, Devin Levin is the girl of Axl’s dreams because she basically is Axl in female form. But dating Devin Levin is actually harder than he expected it would be. I don’t think Axl has ever had to work hard to get a girl. Actually, he’s probably never had a girl not like him. But things are progressing pretty well with these two crazy kids who are basically the same person.

Back to Frankie, she is getting pretty burned out with Pam. Turns out Pam is kind of a little bit nuts. And kind of a little bit rude. The problem with the fun, cool people from high school is a lot of them never grow up, which is Pam’s problem. In Pam’s own words, “I’m just a beautiful, wealthy liar.” At least she still has a checking account full of Pat Sajak money.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, there was very little Brick in this week’s episode, but Mike is admitting “Brick, you’re annoying me the least this week,” which is probably the best compliment he’s ever gotten from his dad.

And, you know, things are still not perfect in the Heck house, but Pam Staggs is jealous of them, which is basically the greatest compliment Frankie has ever gotten.

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

You May Like