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BTWF roles: Charlie McDermott in The Ten
December 5th, 2017 under Before They Were Famous, The Middle. [ Comments: none ]

Before Mike Heck wanted to slap some sense into Charlie McDermott on The Middle, Liev Schreiber was doing it over and over and over again in The Ten. Wasn’t the 16-year-old a good sport in that 2007 movie?


18 things you did not know about The Middle in honor of the 200th episode!
December 5th, 2017 under The Middle. [ Comments: none ]

Tonight at 8p on ABC, the little show that can aka The Middle will celebrate its 200th episode. A milestone very few shows get to and this is one of the ones that totally deserves the honor.

To celebrate the 200th episode, the town of Orson gets an honor. They are named the 200th Most Livable City…in Indiana in a magazine. While most cities would not care, Orson goes all out for the 200th including the Hecks. Everyone but Mike (Neil Flynn) that is. He starts to get sad when one of his neighbors tells Mike he got separated for his wife. Now the patriarch of the family will do anything to show his wife, Frankie (Patricia Heaton), that he loves her and their three kids, Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher) and Brick (Atticus Shaffer).

When it comes to the kids, Axl recruits Sue to be his assistant to help him get him job interviews. When he realizes it is working, he insists that she helps him even more and she does not want to do it. Will she help her brother out?

When it comes to their other brother, Brick is trying to win Cindy back. She tells him in order for them to get back together, he will have to do three acts of bravery. Can he do it?

Then it is time to celebrate the 200th city and Mike gives a speech that will make you miss this show even more when it says goodbye in May. Mike Heck is one of the best written characters on television even though he barely speaks. Actually they are all well written and that is why them reaching 200 is so special and so earned.

Talking about the 200th episode, they shot it outside on the Warner Bros lot in winter clothing. Why I am pointing that out? It was over 100 degrees in Burbank when they were shooting it.

I can attest to that heat wave because I visited them on the set that week and all of the Hecks shared a lot of memories with us while we sat at their dinner table and broke bread. Below are 18 things I learned from them and I hope you find them as nifty I did.

1 – Did you know that Shaffer is the only cast member left from the original pilot? Frankie Heck was played by Ricki Lake and Drop Dead Diva’s Lex Medlin played Mike.

2 – How old was Shaffer when he first played Brick Heck? He was just 11 years old when he shot that failed pilot back in 2007, 2 years before the show actually premiered.

3 – This is the second time that Patricia Heaton has been on show that has reached 200 episodes. The first of course was Everybody Loves Raymond.

4 – When the show debuted back in 2009, their lead-in was Hank with Kelsey Grammer, who she starred in a sitcom with two years earlier on Fox called Back to You. Like that show it did not last very long, so they moved The Middle into the 8p timeslot and it has remained as the lead-in for the night ever since.

5 – Did you know that for part of the first season they The Middle aired for the full 8p hour, even though Heaton says, “We just felt like no one knew who we were, where we were.” As time went on, they started getting some great critical feedback in some unique places like GQ and a lot more viewers from all over the USA.

6 – Heaton describes why she thinks this show continues to do so well and grow in the ratings as the seasons goes on. She said, “People do like watching it with their families and their kids. They feel comfortable that they are not going to be blindsided by some off limits topic that they are not prepared to discuss with their kids or having to explain a certain word.”

7 – Has Heaton ever changed a word in the script? She has and that word was “d-bag.” She did not want a parent to have to explain that word to their kids.

8 – Shaffer meanwhile thinks that people tune in for the realness of it all. He told us, “It is everyday life…I think that people can relate to that and it does make people feel better because it is relatable. But it is still an escape that people can go into in this little fun world.”

9 – Remember when Axi was living in an RV? Believe it or not, there was someone on the show who was actually living in an RV by choice.

10 – Only one of the Hecks is not based on real life person and that is Axl. McDermott said that the writers did not know what to do with him for the first two years. As we know, they eventually did find something to do with him and they turned him in to your average teen who doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, and now he is all grown up and he is still clueless. Plus, he makes mistakes like most kids that are in their 20’s make. Unlike most of them, he has already had a short-lived marriage and got fired from his bus-driving job for taking the kids to school in his RV.

11 – McDermott was the only one they brought on for the final auditions as Axl. Heaton knew immediately he was right for the job. She said, “I have four sons, who all walked around in boxers all the time. So, Charlie was just amazing.”

12 – You might find this hard to believe, even though McDermott plays the popular life of the party guy, in real life he is a quiet and shy guy. In fact Sher says, “Charlie might be the best actor on the show because I’ve never seen someone who is so opposite. You are so respectful and sensitive. You are kind and never hurt anyone feelings.” When it comes to Sher, she is Sue Heck and because of that she feels she has, “No range as an actor.” Something I will totally disagree with.

13 – Even though Neil Flynn plays the best father to ever grace our televisions, in real life he does not have any children of his own.

14 – When Shaffer grows up he wants to continue acting but he would also like to direct, write and produce.

15 – During Schaffer’s hiatus, he does voicework and you can hear him in Frankenweenie, The Lion Guard and Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh to name a few.

16 – McDermott went behind the camera for an episode and directed his co-stars. It is not the first time he directed any of them. After the second season, he shot a movie called ImagiGARY which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in with Sher and Flynn as two of the actors in it.

17 – Heaton spends some of her hiatus traveling with the charity World Vision.

18 – There was a time that Sher and McDermott were actually next neighbors. In fact, Sher feels like McDermott is her long lost brother. Just do not tell her actually 2 brothers.


BTWF pilots: Neil Flynn in Kung Fu: The Next Generation
November 7th, 2017 under Before They Were Famous, The Middle. [ Comments: none ]

Before Neil Flynn was a manager at the quarry on The Middle, he was cop in Kung Fu: The Next Generation. He looks the same now as he did when he was 26 in at that failed 1987 pilot.


It is terrific Tuesdays on ABC!
October 3rd, 2017 under ABC, The Middle. [ Comments: none ]

ABC has changed up their Tuesday lineup this season and it is a winner. So much so, I am going to call it Tuesrific!

The night starts off at 8p with the final season of The Middle. Something I am not OK with, but I will enjoy the final episodes as we have them.

The season premiere picks up as the end of the summer and Axl (Charlie McDermott) and his man bun is back from Europe. He is much more lax and wants his stressed out family to relax too. His mom (Patricia Heaton) is stressed out about finding something for the Hecks to put in the town’s time capsule. Sue (Eden Sher) is stressed that she did not do enough this summer, so she is trying to pack it all in in three days. His dad (Neill Flynn) is stressed because he wants his oldest child to get a job and Axl has no intention of doing so. Finally, Brick (Atticus Shaffer) is stressed because he wants to break up with his girlfriend and does not know how to do it.

Will Axl be stressed again by the end of the day or will his family be more lax? You will have to watch this sitcom’s enjoyable final season premiere to find out.

Then at 8:30p, Fresh Off the Boat is back and The Huangs have no where to live. Honey (Chelsey Crisp) invites them to live with her until they find a place, but they are the easiest people to live with. Honey does her best to put up with them, and she looks she about the break. Jessica (Constance Wu) does not feel the tension between them, and she invites her hostess to be her partner on Wheel of Fortune with her for Best Friends Week. That is when Honey finally loses it, and confronts her “best friend,” what happens next is something you do not want to miss. That and Pat Sajak and Vanna White also fighting.

Meanwhile Eddie and Honey’s stepdaughter, Nicole (Luna Blaise) get really close and she confesses something to him. How will react to it? You do not want to miss their special moment or the show in general. Oh and Michael Bolton is back!

Then at 9:30p after Black-ish, The Mayor makes its debut. Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall) is a Rapper who decides to run for mayor of Fort Grey to promote his music. Although that is his intention, he actually proves himself to be a good candidate for the job. So good, he wins the election. Is he up for the job?

His mom (Yvette Nicole Brown) and his high school nemesis Val (Lea Michele), who becomes his right hand woman, will do their best to get him into shape for the job that he is so not prepared to do. Will they be able to do it? Will he step up to his new responsibility? You just have to check out this endearing half hour show to find out. By the end of the episode you will be voting to watch this show every week.

Then at 10p, the night concludes with Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. Kevin (Jason Ritter) is aimless and he returns home to live with his widowed sister, Amy (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) and her daughter, Reese (Chloe East), who is still not over her father’s death. She also is not a fan of her uncle who was not there for her when her dad died.

One night Amy is called away and Kevin is stuck taking care of niece. As the two of them are looking outside they see a light shoot through the sky. They go to investigate and Kevin makes the mistake of touching it. It throws him backwards and causes him to lose time. Not only that, he starts seeing Yvette (Kimberly Hebert Gregory), an angel who tells him he is the last messenger for his generation and he needs to recruit the new messengers. He doesn’t feel very special, but he has been chosen to be that way. Little by little, he is going to feel that way and with that you have a show that is full of so much heart and joy. Something we all
need these days.


The Middle is coming to an end
August 2nd, 2017 under The Middle. [ Comments: none ]

ABC announced today that this season of The Middle will be its last. The show’s creators, Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, “Last year we sat down with our cast and made the bittersweet decision together that in this ninth season it is time to bring the Hecks’ story to a close. It’s been an amazing run, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re looking forward to having an entire year to say goodbye.” Then they added, “Plus, we wanted to go out before too many people knew we were on the air.”

I am really sad to see this show go. Besides being sweet, Mike Heck gives the best father speeches ever on television. The way he talks to his kids, is what every child wants to hear their dad to say to them. I will miss those inspirational chats.


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