Let me start off by saying that the title of this week’s The Middle should have actually been “The Prom.” Sue’s junior prom really took the spotlight away from the boring minor storyline of Frankie and Mike attempting to make friends.
We first saw Sue crying to Frankie over not having a date to prom, and next thing you know she gets asked out by five different guys! Her prospects included her manager at work Edwin, her flamboyant best friend Brad, her gross neighbor Derek, and Axl’s two friends Sean and Darrin.
Out of all of those guys, she was most excited when Darrin offered to take her just in case she didn’t already have a date. Sue had to break the news to her four previous suitors, including breaking a little piece of my heart when she told Sean the bad news. Sean was the sweetest of all because he drove home from his school hours away and missed out on important tests just to go to prom with Sue. Sure, he was doing it as a favor for his mom who called him after Frankie told Mrs. Donohue about Sue’s datelessness, but Sean really is a great guy to actually pull through on a favor like that.
This all leads to a great scene when Darrin shows up at the Hecks’ house after Sue already left by herself (complete with a very sad plea for Axl to take her picture that only makes you love her even more.) Axl was in rare form as he was already selflessly dedicating days to helping Brick with a project, and then he was even protective over his little sister. He knew that she wanted to go with Darrin, and he was rightly upset with his friend for hurting Sue’s feelings. This was the wake-up call that Darrin needed, and he rushes to the school to find Sue. It’s really hard not to root for Sue, so seeing her get this happy ending with Darrin showing up at prom was incredibly cute.
My major issue with this episode was that Frankie and Mike were seemingly absent from Sue’s entire prom preparation. Aside from Sue crying to Frankie (and Frankie not even paying attention to her) at the beginning of the episode, Sue was left to deal with her prom problems by herself.
While their only daughter was going to her first prom, Frankie and Mike were too busy worrying about making friends. They met a new couple on a walk around the neighborhood, and consequently threw a dinner party with the new people and the Donohues. The writers made Frankie and Mike act entirely out of character this episode. Seriously, what parents would ever miss out on that cliché pre-prom picture?
Much like my review, this episode very easily could (and should) have been entirely focused on Sue’s prom preparations. I can’t even imagine Frankie and Sue shopping for her prom dress. That would’ve been hysterical to see! Then when her date problems started, Sue probably would have talked Mike’s ear off about it. Lucky for Frankie and Mike, Sue’s such a happy kid that she won’t hold this against them.
[Photo via Michael Ansell/ABC]