After three seasons of THE MIDDLE serving up big name guest stars for older brother Axl (Kristin Cavallari ) and younger brother Brick (Chord Overstreet, Doris Roberts, Betty White), middle child Sue Heck is finally getting her long overdue moment to shine. In tonight’s episode, Sue finds a kindred spirit in Jane March, her school guidance counsellor played by none other than Whoopi Goldberg, who inspires her to reinvent herself. But what exactly does that reinvention entail? Well, we recently had the pleasure of catching up with Sue’s real-life alter-ego Eden Sher, who was only too happy to preview some of the hilarity that ensues and why she couldn’t be prouder to play Sue Heck. See for yourself, after the jump.
Having watched every other member of the Heck family get to act opposite a big name guest star over the course of the past three seasons, Sue finally gets one of her very own. Thoughts?
Eden Sher: I know right! It didn’t even cross my mind, believe you me I’m just grateful to be along for the ride, but it was the most magical experience. I could not have been happier that this was my first real plot line with a special guest star and Whoopi Goldberg was who it was.
According to the episode description, Golberg’s guidance counsellor inspires Sue to reinvent herself. Should we be worried for what that means?
[Laughs] Without giving too much away it gets a little kooky and it gets a little crazy as per the norm. You’re going to see Sue attempt to reinvent herself yet… [spoiler alert!] ultimately learn that who she is is awesome!
In a recent video tease posted by EW.com, it would appear that Sue is upset about not being in the yearbook. Was that something you could relate to growing up?
Here’s the thing. I was a lot like Sue in several ways, but I think I found my niche early on so I never really had a problem with being noticed. Not to say I was always in the popular crowd but I went to a Performing Arts High School so there wasn’t a conventional popular crowd and I sort of just found my group of friends pretty easily. I definitely was in my high school yearbook, not excessively mind you… but not like Sue!
Good Answer! Especially because we never buy it when actresses claim they had no friends in high school!
Exactly! Like the really hot girl who was like “Yeah, I was a total nerd in high school!” No, no you weren’t, there is no possible way!
Speaking of high school, one of the thing that is so appealing about Sue is that she is not in such a rush to grow up. Which is to say, Sue didn’t automatically transform into a typical character from GOSSIP GIRL or 90210 the moment she entered high school.
I’m not going to toot my own horn because I didn’t create the character and she is absolutely a product of the imagination of the writers, but she is one of the greatest feminist icons to air on television! I’m serious. I need to write an essay about how motivational she can be for young girls. I love Sue and I love playing her.
Do parents often approach you to tell you how grateful they are to have found a show they can actually watch with their kids?
Yes, and it’s super gratifying when people come up and say they enjoy watching the show with their kids and enjoy [pause for dramatic affect] my performance! I’m just thankful that I have a really fun time of doing this job and that other people watch it and are at least mildly entertained. That said, I’ve actually retained a lot of anonymity. People rarely stop me. In fact, the only time I get stopped is when I go out with Charlie [McDermott] or Neil [Flynn]. People will notice them and then sort of connect the dots as to who I am.
Having already wrapped shooting for the season, what would you like to see for Sue next year?
I would like to see Sue enter a new friend group and then have those friendships challenge her attitude/ideals and force her to defend her position on life. I would love to have a crazy monologue about happiness. I don’t know, the only thing I requested from writers — and I doubt this would be an option running through their minds — is that I never want Sue to get jaded.
Do you ever think we’ll see that “very special episode” in which Brad sits Sue down and reveals to her that he’s just not that into her!?
I honestly kind of hope so. And I hope it’s not treated as an after-school special type of thing. But I do think it’s important. I mean it’s fun to poke fun at the fact that everyone knows [about Brad's sexuality] except Sue but I totally do want to see that. And I want everyone to be like, “It’s great! It’s awesome! Good for you Brad!” I just like seeing that kind of thing on TV. But that’s just me being sappy, I love seeing coming out stories where it gets better.
And finally, how are you keeping busy during your summer hiatus? Any movie projects on the go?
I’m on the east coast right now about to film a movie in Philadelphia. A movie that Charlie [McDermott] co-wrote with another one of our best friends. It’s awesome that it’s actually coming to fruition and I’m so excited to talk about it. It’s called “ImagiGary,” and it’s this really sweet coming of age story about this guy during his first semester at college whose intense feelings of loneliness causes him to re-imagine his childhood imaginary friend. My official character is credited as “drunk girl” and it’s a really cool kind of running joke throughout the movie. I have a real character and I’m always drunk and you never learn my real name. I died my hair blond, I have a pink streak, it’s pretty much the anti-Sue.
THE MIDDLE airs Wednesdays at 8PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada). More info on THE MIDDLE can be found at abc.com.