As any fan of the show will tell you, what THE MIDDLE lacks in MODERN FAMILYesque levels of critical acclaim and COUGAR TOWN’s controversy, it more than make up for with good old fashion laughs. And a big part of the reason why is star Patricia Heaton, who mere hours ago was kind enough to pick up the phone and talk to us about what’s in store for the Heck family when season 2 of THE MIDDLE kicks off tonight at 8PM on ABC.
What are you most excited about heading into the second season tonight?
Patricia Heaton: I’m really just excited to have everyone come and watch, both our old fans from the first season and our new ones. I think ABC did a great job of repeating the show a lot over the summer and I think a lot of people who may have not have been able to catch the show last season caught on so I’m hopeful we’re going to continue to do very well. The show is so funny with really smart scripts and a wonderful cast. Plus, my old nemesis from EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, Doris Roberts, has graced us with her presence in tonight’s season premiere and she was her usual professional, talented and funny self. It was a great episode, and really so far, shooting the whole season has been fantastic.
Last season Brooke Shields tormented the Heck family playing a somewhat-off-her-rocker neighbor. Are there plans this season to get to know anymore of the family’s neighborhood, and is there any chance your former fictional TV husband Ray Romano (of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND fame) will drop by?
Ray is very busy with his own wonderful and successful show MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing him anytime soon. That said, Norm MacDonald is dropping by this season as Mike’s (Neil Fynn) brother which is wonderful casting because he joins John Cullem who as Mike’s Dad, leaving us with these three wonderfully tall men who never say anything. Which is particularly funny when they’re juxtaposed with Frankie and her family who are overly emotional and talkative. Expect a really funny Thanksgiving episode.
In last May’s finale, we finally saw Sue finally succeed at something when she made the school’s cross country team. Is this going to be the season of Sue?!
This season Sue is all about the cross country team! She’s so excited to be a part of it, even going as far as to wear her sweatshirt until it practically falls apart. Unfortunately, this week we’re filming an episode — and I don’t want to give away too much — where almost all of Sue’s success is taken away from her once again. Luckily, in typically optimistic Sue fashion, she soldiers on.
Any chance Brick will develop some social skills?
Doris Roberts is playing Brick’s teacher and she’s certainly going to try and whip him into shape. But in the end, Brick is Brick and we wouldn’t have him any other way. Atticus Shaffer does such a great job playing the character and everybody who comes up to me to talk about the show loves to whisper to me [Brick style!]. He’s had quite the impact.
And finally, as someone who has spent more than their fair share on television sets — or if we’re being honest honest with ourselves, at Craft servicess — one can’t help but feel bad for actor Charlie McDermott who more often than not is forced to play Axl sans shirt! Does season two give him more or less of a wardrobe?
More shirt off! In fact, I think the whole key to our success is that Axl does not wear his shirt and we’re not about to let him start. Not only is he the easiest character that wardrobe has ever had to deal with, guys his age can eat whatever they want and still look good so don’t feel too bad for him. I certainly don’t!
Don’t miss the season premiere of THE MIDDLE, Wednesday September 22 at 8PM on ABC