The Middle - Season 4 PG

The Middle

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Summary

The Middle Season 4

Patricia Heaton stars as Frankie Heck in this warm and witty single-camera comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations. Middle-aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country, Frankie Heck is a harried wife and working mother of three who uses her wry wit and sense of humor to try to get her family through each day intact. Frankie's unflappable husband, Mike, is a manager at the local quarry and her sardonic partner in the daily grind that is raising their average - yes, most definitely average - family. 

In between juggling shifts and picking up fast food dinners eaten in front of the TV, Frankie and Mike raise their kids with love and solid Midwestern practicality. Axl is the oldest, a teenage jock who eats the family out of house and home and walks around in his underwear. Then there's Sue, their extraordinarily ordinary teen daughter who fails at just about everything she tries with great gusto - although now that she's in high school, she has high hopes that things are turning around. Finally, there's Brick, their quirky fifth-grader, who reads constantly and whispers to himself. But through all the madness shines a loving family -and together, they're putting The Middle on the map.

Episode guide

  1. 01 - Last Whiff of Summer Part 1

    On the fourth season premiere, Frankie's plans to recreate the magic of her own childhood summers are foiled when Mike lets it slip that Axl is his favorite Heck child, and Frankie tries to coax the kids into telling them who their favorite parent is. Meanwhile, when Frankie and Mike discover that Axl failed English during the past school year, they force him to make it up in summer school, otherwise he could jeopardize any chance of getting a college sports scholarship after graduation; Brick takes up growing a tomato for his summer project; and Sue tries to bond with a reluctant Mike and attempts to get him to do numerous activities with her, which she plans to document in a giant scrapbook.

  2. 02 - Last Whiff of Summer Part 2

    On the fourth season premiere, Frankie's plans to recreate the magic of her own childhood summers are foiled when Mike lets it slip that Axl is his favorite Heck child, and Frankie tries to coax the kids into telling them who their favorite parent is. Meanwhile, when Frankie and Mike discover that Axl failed English during the past school year, they force him to make it up in summer school, otherwise he could jeopardize any chance of getting a college sports scholarship after graduation; Brick takes up growing a tomato for his summer project; and Sue tries to bond with a reluctant Mike and attempts to get him to do numerous activities with her, which she plans to document in a giant scrapbook.

  3. 03 - The Second Act

    When Frankie is suddenly fired from Ehlert Motors, she embarks on a quest not to repeat mistakes from the past by taking any crummy job that comes her way, deciding to go instead to tech school to secure a real career. Meanwhile, school has begun and Axl is starting his Senior year in high school, Sophomore Sue takes on the task of mentoring new freshman Jenna (guest star BAILEY BUNTAIN -- Bunheads), and Mike is upset with Brick when he can't be bothered to put his book down to meet some of Mike's friends after a softball game.

  4. 04 - Bunny Therapy

    When Brick develops yet another quirky tic that begins to overshadow his whispering, Frankie and Mike are urged by the school therapist, Dr. Fulton (guest star DAVE FOLEY), to get him a small pet so that he can learn to bond with it, which in turn will help him bond with people. But when they present Brick with an ill-tempered bunny, the tiny animal teaches the Heck family the true meaning of evil. Meanwhile, as the Homecoming dance approaches, Axl finds himself dating cheerleaders Courtney and Debbie (guest stars BRITTANY ROSS and NATALIE LANDER) -- but he doesn't know which one of them is actually his girlfriend; and Sue tries out for school mascot.

  5. 05 - The Hose

    Trashy neighbor Rita Glossner (guest star BROOKE SHIELDS) returns and is about to rain fire upon the Heck household when she accuses Frankie of stealing her hose. Meanwhile, Sue takes a peek at Mike's paycheck and is so shocked at how little he makes that she decides to call off her first official road trip to Cincinnati for her school mascot duties in order to save money; and while Brick learns about the birds and bees in school, Axl shocks his little brother by explaining the whole process in graphic detail.

  6. 06 - Halloween III: The Driving

    As Halloween approaches, the Hecks get quite the scare when Sue receives her learner's permit, and it's time for Frankie and Mike to teach her how to drive. But when a freaked-out Sue loses her nerve, she ends up running over Axl's foot, which could put an end to his high school football career and hopes for a scholarship. Meanwhile, Axl looks forward to voting in his first election, and Brick undergoes an unexpected transformation when he eats too much Halloween candy.

  7. 07 - The Safe

    Frankie is made an example of in front of the entire class when she doesn't make a good impression on her first day of dental assisting school with no-nonsense teacher Mrs. Armwood (guest star JANE KACZMAREK). Meanwhile, because Axl's broken foot may end any chance of him receiving a college sports scholarship, Frankie and Mike insist that he up his grades and get himself a tutor; and Sue and Brick think they've stumbled upon an expensive item inside an old safe and try to get big bucks for it from a local pawn store employee (guest star RICK HARRISON -- Pawn Stars).

  8. 08 - Thanksgiving IV

    Frankie attempts to do a good deed for Thanksgiving by inviting a couple of Marines (guest stars/former Marines WILLIAM FRANCO VASQUEZ and NICK JONES, JR.) to celebrate the holiday with her family. But with Frankie's parents, Pat and Tag (returning guest stars MARSHA MASON and JERRY VAN DYKE), constantly bickering, the good deed may not go unpunished. Meanwhile, while Axl grapples with his growing feelings for tutor Cassidy (guest star GALADRIEL STINEMAN), he receives the good news that his foot is healed and he can play in the big game; Sue tries to track down the thief who has stolen the chicken head off of her school mascot uniform; and Brick becomes mesmerized by a book on the making of the film, Love Story.

  9. 09 - Christmas Help

    Christmas doesn't seem so merry to Mike when he helps brother Rusty (recurring guest star NORM MacDONALD) move some furniture into the Heck house garage and discovers that Rusty doesn't actually own the items. Meanwhile, Frankie hatches a plan to take a part-time holiday job in a department store in order to get an employee discount to buy presents; Axl turns the garage with the stolen furniture into his own bachelor pad; and Reverend TimTom (guest star PAUL HIPP) makes a bold choice by casting Brick in a holiday play and tasks an overly zealous Sue with baking cookies for the event.

  10. 10 - Twenty Years

    As their 20th anniversary approaches, Frankie begins to think that Mike may be tiring of her company and is purposely trying to avoid her. Meanwhile, Sue frantically tries to coax Axl and Brick into helping her set up an anniversary party for their parents; and Brick falls into a non-responsive state when Axl tells him the ending of a book he's been waiting years to read.

  11. 11 - One Kid at a Time

    Feeling guilty over not being able to spend enough quality time with each of their kids, Frankie and Mike decide to dedicate each day of a three-day weekend to one of their offspring. Unexpected revelations emerge when Axl takes them to a paintball range, Sue talks them into an exhausting itinerary consisting of 17 separate activities, and Brick attempts to bring them to a "Planet Nowhere" sci-fi book convention.

  12. 12 - Life Skills

    Axl is shocked to discover that he and Sue are enrolled in the same Life Skills class. And things only get worse for the "Ax-Man" when he is assigned to work with his sister on a big class project. Meanwhile, Brick's school therapist, Dr. Fulton (recurring guest star DAVE FOLEY), attempts to teach him how to reach out to his fellow students in order to make some friends; and Frankie and Mike find themselves dealing with an unreasonable insurance company after they discover a tree branch has fallen and broken the windshield of Frankie's car.

  13. 13 - The Friend

    Mike is upset with Frankie when he discovers that she set him up on an adult playdate with a new neighbor who shares the same interests. Meanwhile, when the school cheerleaders announce that they're taking over cheering for the wrestlers -- thus putting Sue and her Wrestlerettes out of business ¬ a determined Sue demands a cheer off; and Brick makes a lovesick Axl begin to question whether he's intellectually stimulating enough for his smart, new girlfriend.

  14. 14 - The Smile

    While other kids begin receiving college acceptance letters and Axl doesn't, Frankie and Mike begin to worry that their son's chances for a sports scholarship have passed him by. Meanwhile, Sue is determined to prove that smiling is contagious as a hypothesis for a school science project, and a relentless Brick begins pestering his parents for an iPad.

  15. 15 - Valentine's Day IV

    As Valentine's Day approaches, Axl and partners Sean and Darrin (recurring guest stars BEAU WIRICK and JOHN GAMMON) take Boss Co. to the next level by offering their services to help guys break up with their girlfriends. Meanwhile, Brick becomes upset with Frankie when he discovers that she has thrown out all of the school artwork he has made over the years, Sue is thrilled when ex-boyfriend Matt invites her to the school's Valentine's Day dance, and Mike accidentally sends a romantic text meant for Frankie to a co-worker at the quarry.

  16. 16 - Winners and Losers

    As Frankie prepares for her upcoming annual tradition of watching the Oscars on TV, she becomes overly concerned when Brick informs her that he's taking a three-day school bus trip to Chicago -- worried that his unique quirkiness could lead him to become separated from the group. Meanwhile, Sue wants to find out if Axl's friend Darrin (recurring guest star JOHN GAMMON) has feelings for her.

  17. 17 - Wheel of Pain

    After accidentally breaking the family room window, Axl, Sue and Brick decide to band together and place the blame on the neighborhood bad seed Glossner kids. But Frankie and Mike know that the kids aren't being truthful and put together a wheel of pain, in which the kids must spin the wheel and land on a consequence, hoping that one of them will break down and confess -- putting Sue's "Sue-weet 16 Party" at risk. Meanwhile, Frankie needs to please her no-nonsense dental assisting instructor Mrs. Armwood (guest star JANE KACZMAREK) in order to obtain a prime dental rotation spot.

  18. 18 - The Name

    Frankie's sister, Janet (guest star MOLLY SHANNON), comes to the rescue and offers to help run the Heck household while Frankie studies for her dental assisting school finals. But the sheer amount of disorganization in the house throws perfectionist Janet for a loop. Meanwhile, when Cassidy's ex-boyfriend pays an unexpected visit from college, Axl tries to take the high road and not act like a jealous boyfriend; and Sue wants to legally change her middle name (which is also Sue) in order to have a normal name on her driver's license.

  19. 19 - The Bachelor

    Frankie can't hide her disappointment over who "The Bachelor" chooses to marry and ends up moping around the house for days about it; Mike attempts to toughen Sue up when she joins the school's tennis team and continually compliments her opponents during their matches; and Axl and Cassidy try to figure out where their relationship stands after their big fight. The Bachelor's CHRIS HARRISON provides voiceover for the episode.

  20. 20 - Dollar Days

    After successfully graduating from dental assisting school, Frankie attempts to interview for a job but discovers that, when asked about herself, she doesn't quite know how to describe who she is. Meanwhile, when Axl gets his band their first paying gig at the Orson Dollar Days, Sue becomes a 'Yoko' to boyfriend Darrin's 'John' and begins to offer unwanted advice to the group; and when Brick informs Frankie and Mike that he has joined the Prairie Scouts, Mike ends up reluctantly having to lead his quirky troop's camping trip. JACK McBRAYER (30 Rock, Wreck It Ralph) guest stars as Dr. Goodwin, who Frankie interviews with for a possible job. Supernatural's JIM BEAVER guest stars as Brick's not-so-trustworthy Scout Master, Mr. Stokes.

  21. 21 - From Orson With Love

    After discovering that Sue's life, as defined on Facebook, is pretty pathetic, Frankie creates an online alias (or two or three) and attempts to make her daughter as popular as possible. Meanwhile, after having read Tuesdays with Morrie, Frankie's healthy dad, Tag (recurring guest star JERRY VAN DYKE), coerces Mike into listening to his long-winded life stories on a weekly basis; and Axl and Brick attempt to garner interest in getting a bunch of baby bunnies and kittens adopted by producing a viral video starring the animals in a James Bond knockoff.

  22. 22 - Eight is Enough

    On the fourth season finale, Molly gets accepted into an elite eight-week writers' workshop in Iowa, but faces a big decision when Mike asks her not to go

  23. 23 - The Ditch

    While waiting in line at the power company to pay a late bill and dressed in her lab coat for her new dental assisting job, people mistake Frankie for a doctor and let her cut in front of them so that she can finish her business quickly and get back to saving lives. But when one of those people shows up at Dr. Goodwin's (guest star JACK McBRAYER -- 30 Rock) office for a dental checkup, Frankie must attempt to keep up the charade, which leaves her new employer completely perplexed. Meanwhile, Axl discovers that Sue has a perfect attendance record at school and convinces her to ditch a day and live life on the edge; Dr. Fulton (DAVE FOLEY) tries to find out why Brick is so opposed to going to middle school; and Mike and Axl's fishing trip takes a turn for the worse when a distraction causes Mike to crash the boat he is towing, wedging it into a ditch.

  24. 24 - The Graduation

    As graduation day approaches, tension begins to build between Frankie and Axl when he ignores her requests for answers about the graduation party she's planning for his special day. Meanwhile, Sue hopes that the sixth time's the charm as she once again attempts to pass her driver's test; and during his final days of elementary school, a forgetful Brick is reminded by Vice Principal Dunlap (guest star MARION ROSS -- Happy Days) that he's the class historian and is responsible for putting together a slideshow highlighting the last four years of school in front of a school assembly. Note: This season finale episode was directed by series co-creator and executive producer Eileen Heisler.