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'The Middle' fan recap: How could you forget Brick's birthday?

Season 6 | Episode 15 | “Steaming Pile of Guilt” | Aired Feb 25, 2015

This we know about The Middle‘s Frankie Heck: She loves icing, she’s a bit scatterbrained, and she has a habit of forgetting her children’s birthdays.

Frankie hasn’t just forgotten Brick’s birthday, she’s REALLY forgotten Brick’s birthday. It literally hit her three months later. And it’s a big birthday too. Brick has been a teenager since November, and not one Heck realized it.

Frankie and Mike want to do a big blowout party for Brick at the bowling alley with all of his classmates, since it is such a special birthday (even if it took them three months to realize it). But in typical Brick fashion, he’s not a fan of celebrating with his peers. His idea for the perfect birthday is to have his family do exactly what he wants them to do, and listen to him talk about whatever he wants to talk about for an entire day. Sounds fun right? Brick has cool interests like fonts and random 19th-century Scottish military generals and Appalachian clog dancing and … yeah. Sorry, Hecks: This is the punishment you deserve for forgetting the day your 13-year-old son and brother was born.

Meanwhile, back at Orson High School, Sue is campaigning to win a Senior Superlative in the school yearbook. Senior Superlatives are a rite of passage for all high school seniors, and Sue has her eye on all of them. Even if she hasn’t had much school spirit or amazing hair the last four years, she’s making up for lost time by trying to get people to realize she is superlative in many categories. Hopefully, voters will pick her for at least one of them.

At East Indiana State, the campus’s new power couple, Axl and Devin Levin, are still very couple-y. Have we picked a couple name for them yet? Axvin? Daxl? Well, I guess we shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves (even though I kind of love Daxl), because the campus’s most perfect couple is kind of on the outs. And you can blame one person: Weird Ashley.

You remember Weird Ashley: a possible witch who might have put some sort of spell on Axl to get him to go to prom with her not once, not twice, but three consecutive times. Now her spirits have driven her to East Indiana State, where she is finally close to Axl again. Really close. Like, living across the hall from his new girlfriend close. Dear Weird Ashley, can you tell me your secret spell you’ve been using on Axl? I want to see if it works on Zac Efron.

Devin isn’t a fan of Axl’s nickname for her new hall-mate. And she’s realizing Weird Ashley isn’t the only girl Axl has a not-very-nice nickname for. “Ugo from Idaho”? Really, Axl? I was starting to hope that you were finally growing up. Guess I’ll have to hold out hope a little while longer.

Also, Brick’s birthday party is still going on. He really knows a lot of stuff, and he’s finally getting the chance to talk about all of it. I think his favorite part isn’t torturing his family, but just knowing that they’re spending time together. Even if everyone else isn’t enjoying it that much.

The Middle airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. 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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