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

Atticus Shaffer talks playing Brick, 'The Middle's' V-Day episode

Season 6 of The Middle has seen each member of the Heck family go through some big life changes as they grow and mature. Brick, the youngest Heck, is possibly the one going through the most changes.

Atticus Shaffer, the actor who plays Brick, talked exclusively with EW Community about those changes, and what we can expect from Brick the rest of the season.

Entertainment Weekly Community: The Valentine’s Day episode is Wednesday. What can you tell me about it?

Atticus Shaffer: What’s cool about the Valentine’s Day episode is in the past, the storylines have kind of involved either the parents or Axl and whoever he’s dating at the time or Sue. And this year, because Brick is kind of growing up more, he’s becoming more aware emotionally and everything like that, he has gotten a girlfriend this season, Cindy. So Brick’s storyline for this episode will be that Cindy lets Brick know that she wants him to kiss her, but he’s never done that before. So he’s kind of trying to get everyone in the family to help him to actually be able to do that first kiss, where it’s actually him kissing the girl for the first time, not like back in season 5 when he got kissed. So he’s going through his usual Brick self of going through all the intricacies and trying to find out as much info as possible so he doesn’t mess anything up.

In this current season, we’ve seen a lot of episodes that seem to focus more on Axl and Sue, but we haven’t really seen much from Brick. Is that going to change later in the season?

Yes. That’s the thing: Sometimes we will film the show incredibly out of order. Like in the first season specifically, we filmed the 15th episode, I want to say, the fifth week of filming, and we hadn’t done all the stuff in between that lead up to that. We were very much all over the place. Then this year, we were also shooting things out of order. The episodes that are up to about the eighth or ninth episode are definitely more about Sue and Axl, obviously, because those are their storylines. But there are about four or five that we recently filmed that are really good Brick episodes. You’re gonna get to see more about how he interacts and behaves. And also how he’s growing up emotionally, and how he’s becoming more aware of everything.

I know you’re a couple of years older than Brick in real life, so can you relate to some of the things he’s going through since you’ve been there before?

Definitely. I am three years older than Brick. I’m 16, Brick is 13. And I actually do think it’s interesting because when I was younger, I was just starting to go through those changes and Brick had not. Now that I have gone through it, I can go back and relate to everything I’ve gone through and apply it to the show. And obviously this a TV show, so Brick is a little more traumatized than what I went through. But it’s still close enough that I can say, “Oh yeah, I remember those feelings,” and I can take things from my life and incorporate it into the character.

You keep mentioning that Brick is going through changes this season. Do you think he’s really changing, or he is still Brick at heart?

He’s definitely still Brick at heart. And when I say changing, in the first and second seasons, you saw him and he was complete eye-of-the-storm. There could be a huge, catastrophic event happening and he would not be that concerned by it. What is so cool about him now is that when I say he’s changing, he’s growing emotionally and he’s understanding the depth of certain things—but like you said, he’s still Brick. He’s still going to take things in a very matter-of-fact way or in a very sweet way, in a very deep way. But he is becoming more self-aware, and saying, “I am matter-of-fact, and I am the eye-of-the-storm.”

Brick is such a unique character. What has been your favorite part about playing him?

You do see different sides of Brick, and a lot of times you just see him as his quirky self, but at the same time, that’s what I love about being able to play Brick, because he’s simultaneously so unique. He’s smart, he’s witty; if he doesn’t know it, he’ll do research on it. He is so smart and so unique in that way, and he has the confidence in that. That shows kids, people, whoever watches the show that it is okay to be unique. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be quirky. It’s okay to be smart. And that’s what I love about Brick, because he is a little bit of a loner in a way. Even though he is quirky and everything, he is who he is. He follows the beat of his own drummer, and he has the confidence in that.

One of the favorite episodes I think we ever filmed was when Brick and the social group went out into the playground, and they were stuck on the playground and they couldn’t get back into the library. I LOVE that episode because Brick was a total military tactician. He read War and Peace and The Art of War and everything like that, and he wanted to help the social group to be able to get back into the library. In the end he was able to succeed. And that was such a cool way to see that Brick can take charge, in his own way, and he is able to get that social group out of there and save everyone. I just thought that was so neat that they incorporated that into the storyline.

Just one more question. Do you have any secrets about the rest of the season?

I said this at the beginning of this season when it was just starting to film, but I can definitely say more of it now: This is a season where there’s a lot of changes going on. Axl is continuing college. Sue is about to get into college. Brick is growing emotionally. The parents are changing in their own way, whether it be emotionally or in their thought processes or whatever. In this season, there are a lot things that, whether it is just for one episode or whether it continues for the rest of the season and possibly series, they are big changes, but in a good way. Big things that happen. Big things that don’t hinder you and make the viewer go, “What just happened?’ It’s more of, you see it and you’re wanting to see it because it’s interesting to see how the characters are developing through that specific situation. So I think people will enjoy it, especially as they see the latter episodes of the season. I think everyone is going to really know what I’m talking about and really enjoy it.

The Middle‘s Valentines Day episode airs Wednesday, Feb. 11, 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