The Middle 5.20 Review: “The Optimist”

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Stress is an unfortunate reality of life.  Whether it be work related like in Frankie’s case, or school related like Axl and Sue’s cases, we can all probably identify with this week’s episode of The Middle.

Poor Sue is driving herself (and her family) nuts over her premature obsession with college.  She’s only a junior, but she’s already feeling pressure to apply for tons of scholarships and devote all her time to studying for the SATs.  I would have loved to be able to read her essay for the American Patriots scholarship which she entitled “Why I’m an AmeriCAN and not an AmeriCAN’t: Red, White, and Sue.”  ABC should totally put that up on online because I have a feeling it would be very inspirational to read.  Sadly she doesn’t receive that award, but they do look forward to hearing from her again next year.  Fingers crossed she gets it then!

Frankie’s quietly trying to fix her own downright lazy mistake at work.  Instead of sending out the patient reminder cards to her dentist office clients, she threw them all in a drawer when her boss Dr. Goodwin asked her to mail them out 6 months ago.  This is more unbelievable because she was apparently too busy reading a celebrity gossip magazine to do her work.  She’s the only dental hygienist at the practice, but still I find it hard to believe that she could have let this go for so long.  She might not be the best worker, but she’s at least an attentive mother.

Seeing how worked up Sue has become over the pressures of college, Frankie treats her daughter to a spa day with a great Groupon deal.  This spa was such a dive that they even had to just laugh at it.  Far from living up to its name of Heavenly Springs, the hot tub was in a dingy room with a sign that warned not to use the tub if you are incontinent.  The man who works there even warned them to keep their bathing suits on at all times unless they want to be pregnant.  I was surprised they even went in the hot tub after that.

This mother-daughter bonding time was very sweet and much needed.  Sue opened up to Frankie, “I’m not super smart like Brick.  I’m not an athlete like Axl.  I’m right in the middle.  Middle in grades, middle on teams, middle child, middle everything.” Frankie told Sue how special she really is, which we all know to be true.

Axl was hanging around the Heck house a lot this week with Hutch.  They were reminded that weigh-ins for the football team are coming up, and in order to stay on the team and keep their scholarships, they need to bulk up.  Of course they resort to eating every last drop of food in the Heck house but they still haven’t gained weight.  For Axl’s sake, I hope he can at least prove his worth to the team so he can stay in school.

Brick roped Mike into the strangest week of his life.  One morning when Mike was dropping Brick off at school, he saw a girl holding the door closed as Brick was trying to open it. He took action and got out of the car and confronted the girl to leave Brick alone.  Little did he know, this girl Piper is actually one of Brick’s new friends.  Brick puts him into an awkward position when he asks Mike when he’s going to apologize to her.  He doesn’t see how that’s necessary, but Brick keeps insisting on setting up a date and time for his dad to apologize to his friend.  Word of this grown man wanting to meet their 12 year old daughter in a park gets back to Piper’s parents and they all agree to meet at a restaurant for this apology.  This really is weird but it’s so hilarious to see Mike’s reaction to it all.  It’ll probably be the last time he gets involved when it comes to Brick’s social life at school.

I’m glad things worked out for everyone in the end.  Just as Frankie said, Sue bounced back almost instantly when she appropriately received The Optimist scholarship for $100.  Frankie also got her reminder cards sent out, and the dental practice was busy once again.

[Photo via Michael Ansell/ABC]

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