Valentine’s Day has a way of creating trouble, and it is no different for the Hecks on the “Valentine’s Day III” episode of The Middle. February 14 marks the official end of Christmas, and the rotting tree has to come down.
Brick, at the ripe old age of 10, has to write a report on love for school. He has no clue what to write, so he may have to resort to the internet. He considers learning about love from his parents and asks them what they’re doing for Valentine’s Day: nothing. Well, not nothing; they agree that Mike will bring home a bucket of chicken, they will change into their sweats, and they will watch TV in separate rooms because Mike will want to watch sports. The plans aren’t exactly the makings of a great report on love, so Brick confirms with them that the parental control password for the internet is “1234.”
Axl also has an unwanted school assignment: he has to present a speech or video detailing a life-changing event. It’s a problem, because he hasn’t had any. He thinks people who meet him have their lives changed from his awesomeness. Axl’s friends have had more interesting lives: getting trapped under the ice on a lake, delivering a baby sister, and being pronounced dead for two minutes at the age of six.
While buying Valentine’s treats for Brick’s class in a grossly red-and-pink aisle of the store, Frankie runs into Nancy and Paula. They decide Valentine’s Day would be much more fun if they could spend it with friends, so they agree to go out as a group with their husbands. Nancy’s coupon for a $9.99 Valentine’s Day meal at The Fountain Room seals the deal. Mike agrees to the new plans when he learns he will have other guys to talk to.
Sue is so excited to have a boyfriend this year for Valentine’s Day, and she anxiously awaits Matt to ask her out on a date. He does, saying they’ve been in love for almost three weeks and he wants to take her to a restaurant. After Sue agrees, he kisses her in a way that freaks her out. She immediately tells Frankie, “Out of nowhere, he puts his tongue into my mouth. Oh my God, what is that? Who does that? I can’t help but feel bad for him. It’s like he totally forgot how to kiss.” Frankie says nothing, but thinks she has to talk to Sue more.
Axl’s first attempt at his life-changing-event project is a speech about how he was once afraid he wasn’t hot because a girl turned him down. The end of the story is that he realized he must be hot, so he asked her out again and she said yes. The family tries to give him suggestions for a better story, but there’s really nothing. His life has been simple. When all else fails, make something up: his next attempt is a video of his very sick brother, Brick, who plays along. There’s no cure for the mystery disease, and it’s a life-changing event for dear brother Axl. Brick plays it up: “It’s not knowing that’s the hard part. Oh, and the dying. Actually, they’re both hard.” The nightstand is covered with all the medications he must take: Flintstones vitamins, Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Pez candy, and the best oneMidol.
At their Valentine’s Day group dinner, Frankie and Mike are having a great time talking with their friends about how stupid teenage boys are. Someone is going from table to table selling single roses, and Frankie ends up the only woman at her table without one. Of course she’s furious, but doesn’t confront Mike about it until he’s gone to bed by himself and has fallen asleep. Mike doesn’t get it, because they both agreed that flowers are a waste of money, and he thinks it’s childish for Frankie to be mad that all her friends got one and she didn’t.
Sue did get flowersand leftovers wrapped in swan-shaped tinfoilbut Matt kisses her again at the end of the date despite her attempts to avoid it. She runs to Frankie again and tells her that she thinks Matt is doing it on purpose, and it’s like having an eel in her mouth. When Frankie explains that it is French kissing, Sue is shocked that her definition was wrong: “I thought it was kissing during a rainbow!”
While Axl is finishing up his video with Brick, Frankie and Mike start fighting about Valentine’s Day and Axl sees this as a potential life-changing event. He films them and provides narration explaining that they fight all the time and it could lead to a divorce, which would be life-changing.
The next time Sue tries to avoid Matt’s kiss, he confronts her about it. She tells him she only wants to kiss American, not international. It’s great news for Matt, because Sue’s braces were shredding his tongue.
Brick does end up writing about Frankie and Mike for his report on love. He talks about how love is shown through the small things, like when Frankie massages Mike’s neck in the car; when Mike warms up the car for Frankie on a cold day; how they have their own language; or how, if they had a lot of money, they would still be at home hanging out together. Great love stories can be small, and the report causes Frankie and Mike to make up.
What did you think about the “Valentine’s Day III” episode of The Middle? Remember to keep your braces in check, and watch The Middle, Wednesdays at 8pm ET on ABC.