The Middle Season 1 , Episode 7: The Scratch - Review

Right from the beginning, The Middle had me in familiar territory. I remember rushing around the house gathering trash and trying to get it out to the curb before the trash truck finished at the neighbor's house. And I remember just missing it; what a horrible feeling that was.

From there, while I was still able to enjoy the episode for the laughs it offered, I was just as equally terrified. As a parent, I've often wondered just how close we are to having the state take our children away. How innocent a comment or statement would it take before these agencies swoop down on our lives with all their self-righteous glory and scare the living crap out of us that they're going to tear our families apart?

From the moment when the police officer told Mike he wasn't even allowed to touch Brick in the principal's office, to the social worker refusing to tell Frankie and Mike how the evaluation went until she filed her report, it just seems like way too much power for some outside entities to have over our families.

Now admittedly, Brick's story sounded downright awful as to what happened, and Mike and Frankie were so caught off-guard, they didn't exactly "fix" the situation. And I know you have to take any report seriously, but kids say and do stupid things all the time. Look at how quickly the writers had Axl ready to say his mom beat him up just to try and get moved to a nice foster home.

Don't get me wrong, the story was handled in a very funny way. I loved how the kids reacted so differently to the imminent arrival of the woman from the state. But, as always, it's the little things that make The Middle so entertaining. When Brick almost showed the woman his "room" under the table, I was afraid to watch. This isn't going to help the case at all, I thought. But Brick came through and showed her the room he shared with Axl.

As always, Sue was a highlight of the episode. She spent most of it crying at the prospect of the family being torn asunder, but still got in a great visual gag when she ran into the sliding glass door. I also totally agree with Frankie's assessment that this is why you don't clean glass doors. Those things are dangerous.

It was a little odd that nobody tried to close the blinds again when they realized that Sue wasn't going to have time to clean all that trash piled up on the back porch. It was just left there exposed for everyone to see, and it was visible when their visitor was reminiscing with Mike about how he stood her up.

The other story, about Bob helping Mr. Ehlert film a new commercial for the dealership wasn't quite as funny, though Brian Doyle-Murray's terrible deliveries of all his lines was great. Particularly when he was trying to say "And down here --" but couldn't figure out what to do with his hands.

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