The Middle 5.13 Review: “Hungry Games”

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Guest star Keegan Michael Key was hilarious on Wednesday’s episode of The Middle.  As a guest reverend in their church, he took an immediate interest in the Hecks.

Frankie had a squatter’s coupon for the whole family at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and planned to take full advantage of it by eating every meal of the day there just after church.  Their plans flew right out the window the second Reverend Deveaux invited them into his office.  They initially caught his eye from the pulpit when he saw Mike throw a hymnal book at Axl, which missed and hit a lady seated in front of them, but their reputation in the church community has preceded them.

Everyone was anxious to get to their buffet as soon as possible, except for poor Brick.  When he took the reverend up on his offer to talk to him one-on-one, he really let all his insecurities out.  I felt so bad for him when he admitted he feels like his family would be happier if he didn’t exist.  That was so sad!  Reverend Deveaux was shocked and recognized this family is in desperate need of counseling.  As Frankie told Mike when he was suggesting they leave Brick there and go to the buffet anyway, “it’s free counseling.  Can we really afford to turn down anything free?”

Without even realizing it, they almost all receive free one-on-one counseling with the man of God.  After Brick was done, the family was almost out the door until Sue blurted out that she got drunk at a party and danced provocatively.  I was cracking up when we saw a flashback to Sue twerking against a wall because she really thought she was drunk!  She had taken one sip of a spiked drink at a party, and spit it out right away but swore she was intoxicated enough to twerk later.  It got even better when Sue told the reverend about the game she made up called Twizzle Stick, which involves her hiding in a room with only 1 body part revealed and if no one notices her, she gets a point.  It’s typical for Sue to be invisible (remember when one of her teachers never remembered having her in her class?) so it’s safe to say Sue probably wins a lot of Twizzle Stick games.

It came as a surprise to see that the only Heck not in need of counseling was Axl.  His sincere speech to the reverend after Frankie and Mike had their own session was truly touching.  He knew that his family may appear to be dysfunctional with all their individual quirks and issues, but he highlighted the best aspects of them.  They spend a lot of time together, often fighting or picking on each other, but they all do love and support each other when it matters most.  Axl has really been surprising me a lot this season.  His character is obviously maturing, which is a nice change of pace.  It’s moments like this that make this show my favorite family sitcom on television.

New episodes return February 26th after the Olympics.

[Photo via Michael Ansell/ABC]

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