On Wednesday, ABC made the shocking announcement that Season 9 will be the last for the Wednesday night comedy, The Middle. Along with the cancellation announcement is a promise for a “fitting and happy ending” for the members of the Heck family. How could the beloved family show tie the loose ends?
Broadcast throughout the worst American recession since the Great Depression, it was hard to not relate to the struggling Hecks, from the fictional town of Orson, Indiana, the “middle” of the country. The family had job loss, broken dishwashers, and college tuition to stress over, and they always found a way, with love, family, and humor at the core of every challenge.
The members of the family include the show narrator and mother, Frankie (Patricia Heaton), father, Mike (Neil Flynn), and their three children: happy-go-lucky Axl (Charlie McDermott), upbeat and persistent Sue (Eden Sher), and the quirky bibliophile Brick (Atticus Shaffer).
The executive producer of The Middle, Eileen Heisler, spoke to EW explaining that they had previously told the cast the bittersweet decision that the show is ending after this next season.
“We sat down with the cast at the end of last year. It was important to have a year to say goodbye. We want to be able to tell all the stories.”
What stories still need to be told?
Perhaps the most pressing story is whether or not good-looking, boy-next-door, Sean Donahue (Beau Wirick) and Sue Heck will finally get together. Everyone knows that the Donahues are the lucky family. Could Sue’s pure heart and determination to never give up be rewarded with handsome, smart, and sweet Sean?
From the beginning, Sue mistakenly thought that Sean had a crush on her, although Sean was just his normal nice self, always considerate to his best pal’s little sister. Sue’s crush on him was gawky and understandable, but she soon found herself dating others, forgetting Sean.
A few years later, Sean surprises her by showing up in a tux and holding flowers, with the intention of taking her to prom. Sue had to decline, as she already had multiple dates, and saying no is just not in Sue Heck’s vocabulary.
But last season, when Sean Donahue again surprised Sue and showed up to take her to a dance, Sue later realized he was “the” guy. Yet, once she realized what she felt for him, she had no idea what he really thought about her.
A few weeks later, unbeknownst to Sue, Sean made the long drive from Notre Dame, and showed up at her dorm, armed with a card to “Suzy Q” and a snow globe, expressing his feelings. Axl opened the door and shooed Sean away, thinking that he was interested in his (secret) girlfriend, Lexi (Daniella Bobadilla), and not realizing Sean was really into Sue. Again, their paths were crossed. How will the writers bring this couple together?
And what about Sue’s old boyfriend Brad (Brock Ciarlelli), now that he has finally come out? Will he meet his man?
One of the other stories that Season 8 left hanging is whether Axl will get a great job. Axl cannot find anything. Throughout the series, everything around Axl always turned to gold, and The Middle writers should have a lot of fun creating the perfect post-college career for the affable Axl. They already found him the perfect girl in Lexi.
And will font-loving Brick write his own first novel? Could he possibly meet the author of the Planet Nowhere books? And what about his romance with Cindy (Casey Burke)?
Most of all, will Frankie and Mike finally get out of debt? Will their financial misery end and will they finally have some money to burn?
Perhaps Frankie could win a million on “the wheel” like Pam Sykes (Kirsty Alley)? Or Mike could find gold at the quarry? Or perhaps the Frugal Hoosier will sell lottery tickets and the Heck family wins the big one?
And hopefully, The Middle writers will include a few episodes with the delightfully musical Reverend Tim Tom (Paul Hipp)! Or will Rita Glossner (Brooke Shields) make another hysterical appearance?
Most of all, will the show fast forward in time? Will we see where the Heck family is in five years, 10 years or even more?
What story do you want to see resolved in The Middle? Are you going to miss this ABC show? Share your thoughts below!
[Featured Image by Preston Mack/Disney Parks via Getty Images]