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'The Middle' fan recap: Decisions, decisions

Season 6 | Episode 20 | “Food Courting” | Aired April 15, 2015

This week’s episode of The Middle is all about being in a bind. Being stuck between staying loyal to the old, but wanting to move on to the new. Growing up and becoming an adult, but still holding on to the childlike enthusiasm of your youth.

Let’s start at the beginning. It all started on Axl’s 21st birthday. Or a day leading up to Axl’s 21st birthday? Or a couple of day’s after? I’m not exactly sure. No one actually has a 21st birthday, it’s more of a couple weeks of celebration surrounding the day when you were born 21 years ago, and you aren’t exactly sure what day that is throughout most of it … but, party!!! (Right?)

Anyway, Axl has a lot of celebrations planned for his 21st birthday week-and-a-half. The only problem—his family has other celebrations planned for him. Does he go home and eat cake and ice cream and spend his 21st birthday with his family, or does he swim in his friend’s truck-bed pool? We all get to that point. That point when you no longer spend your life’s big moments with your family. Of course, for Axl, he has never been one to seem very sentimental about these sorts of things. He’s more of an “ignore all of my family’s calls and texts until they leave me alone” type. Happy birthday, Axl!

Sue, who in a few short years will be in Axl’s shoes, is also stuck making a big life decision. She has been working at the local baked-potato restaurant at the mall for a good while, but now, she’s been tapped. Tapped by a cool new restaurant known as “Chop Suey.” Yes, the local Chinese restaurant is building a fast-food worker dream team, and they want Sue to be their Air Jordan. Now Sue has to make a choice. Does she show her loyalty, or does she go for the food-court gold? I say: Loyalty is nothing when you’re offered $10 an hour. You take that and never look back.

With Sue and Axl both growing up, at least Frankie has little Brick, the only non-teen in the house. Oh, wait, he is a teen now. And everyone knows kids get a free attitude and smart mouth as a 13th birthday present. So Brick—cute, sweet, book-loving Brick—is now yelly, angry, “you can’t tell me what to do” Brick.

The problem with growing up is that you think you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, like hanging with friends and ignoring your family; or leaving your job for a newer, fancier job with no security; or being mean to your mom because that’s what your brother did when he was your age. But, in trying to act cool and mature, you sometimes forget to step back and see that you don’t have to grow up right this instant. Being young means you can have a huge 21st birthday rager with your friends and have a beer with your dad. You can do it all, and enjoy every second of it.

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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