If there was one unstated takeaway lesson from tonight’s episode of The Middle, it’s to always have a woman involved when planning a surprise party. Or any party, really. Of course the minute Mike pitched the idea to Axl and Brick, I knew we were in for a fun ride.
The whole impromptu party stemmed from what will go down as another classic Heck car ride. On the way home from a neighbor’s confirmation ceremony, Brick discovers he was never confirmed. Who’s really surprised though? This is coming from the same family that floats their anniversaries, holidays and birthdays. Frankie seizes the moment and calls in her floating 50th birthday from two months ago as the perfect excuse to stop for good (and expensive) pizza. All was going well until Mike forgot he left the pizza on the roof the car. Crows were literally eating their parking lot pizza when they turned around so as not to waste a penny of their hard earned money.
Maybe it was guilt over the ruined pizza but Mike had the idea to throw Frankie a surprise party. He and the boys wisely agree that Sue isn’t the best at keeping secrets, but it became painfully obvious they needed a woman’s touch with everything. First of all, Mike’s idea of food for said party was a six foot sub. Which is fine, but that’s literally all he thought of in terms of food. No side dishes like Nancy Donahue asked about. It didn’t even look like they had any sort of appetizers. A couple bags of chips and pretzels never hurt anyone. Sue even points out the guys didn’t even think to put a tablecloth out under the sub and boxed wines.
I couldn’t believe they didn’t even have a cake. When you think birthday party, the first thing popping into your mind should be cake! But no, Nancy managed to frost a phonebook for the illusion of a cake which worked out well considering the guest of honor herself was only attending the party via Skype. By this point the whole party was a disaster. Sue can’t tell a lie to save her life so Frankie had shown up to surprise her at school when she was actually coming home for her party. Long story short, this should be a lesson to all guys out there. Find a sister, mother, friend, neighbor or any strange woman off the street to give you some pointers on throwing a party. Always remember to have someone in charge of the birthday girl too!
Secondary to the birthday shenanigans was a Brick storyline that felt old. He’s never been athletic yet he chooses to tackle sports as a part of his school’s “I can’t” project. The whole idea here is to help the kids overcome challenges they think they can’t do. The first thing that pops up in conversation with his family when asking for advice is his lack of sports skills. At least he can say he gave them all a try and finally rule sports out for good. I think changing his resolution to his inability to do small talk was even funnier anyway. At the party he tries to chat up Mr. Donahue by addressing the concerns of his own mortality at his mother’s 50th birthday. That’s pretty deep stuff for an 8th grader to be worried about!
Be honest now. On a scale of Axl to Sue, how hard did this episode of The Middle have you shaking your head?
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