The Middle Season 1 , Episode 4: The Trip - Review

Okay, there's clearly something going on with Atticus Shaffer's legs, or leg. It's not a big deal, but at the same time I can't help but notice it when he's limping around. I wish the show would just address whatever it is, so I can stop thinking they're trying to pull a fast one over on us and pretend there's nothing there. It's like when How I Met Your Mother was horribly trying to cover up two pregnant bellies all last season.

Brick can have a medical condition, and we'll still love him as much as ever. In fact, it would make the family even more "just like the rest of us." Regardless, Brick was hilarious this week with his new girlfriend. I remember when my son was getting his first little girlfriends, and it seemed to go down about the same way. Not the point where his new girlfriend gives me a verbal beat-down on my own front porch, but maybe we're just not to that point yet.

The other main plotline had us finally finding something that Sue is good at! I'm as shocked as you are.

I'm impressed with Mike's level of commitment in helping Sue sell those sausages and cheeses for that exciting trip to the state capital. I was even more impressed with Sue's salesmanship. She could probably teach her mom a thing or two in that department. And even though we'd figured out already that Frankie had forgotten to mail the envelope, the scene with Sue staring at her through the windows in the back of the bus as the envelope fell from the visor was hilarious.

As a parent, I could also relate to Frankie's sense of pride in her daughter coming through at the same time that she was getting screamed at by her daughter. Sue getting assertive is what she needs to take that next step on her journey into adulthood. And if Frankie has to stand there and get yelled at, deservedly so, for Sue to take that step, well she's proud to do it. Parenting creates a whole weird mix of emotion at the strangest times.

I felt badly for Mike, though, getting his ass handed to him by Olivia. First she bullied Brick as her boyfriend, and then she took down Mike simply by refusing. He should have called her parents. Too bad in today's day and age you can't spank random kids who refuse to leave your porch or your son alone.

Brick handled it, though, in his own clever way: pass the problem onto someone else. And I have a feeling Olivia is going to be somebody's problem for a long, long time to come.

It's refreshing to see a show about everyday people fudging their way through everyday life on television for a change. For most of us, the Hecks are actually people we can relate to; certainly more than the likes of The Real Housewives or Desperate Housewives. If they can keep the writing as funny and fresh as we've seen so far, there's no reason The Middle couldn't stand proudly next to Modern Family as part of a new renaissance in ABC comedy for many years.

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