With much of the Alphabet Network’s focus, not to mention marketing budget, reserved for this week’s splashy September launch, THE MIDDLE — or as it’s better known around theTVaddict.com as “the little comedy that could” — once again is forced to rely on one of its top secret weapons to promote tonight’s hour long premiere. Namely, the ridiculously well-spoken Atticus Shaffer, who was only too happy to spend some time previewing tonight’s season opener, what changes are in store for Brick and which ABC series he’d most like to crossover to.
With THE MIDDLE heading into its fourth season, is playing Brick still as exciting as it was when you first started?
Atticus Shaffer: It’s actually more of a middle ground, no pun intend! Certain parts, like the first part of the season are exciting because we’re back again which is awesome, but then after the first week it it’s like “I’ve been doing this for three months now… it’s only been a week?!” Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but the receptive nature of it just makes it more comfortable in a sense.
Having three season’s under your belt, you now know your character Brick just about as well as anyone. Does that afford you more opportunity to provide input with the writers?
They never let me do that! Just kidding. Actually, because the character of Brick is based on one of the writer’s sons, they really do know how to write for the character. That said, there are always times on the set when I read a script, have a question about how to play a scene, so we’ll sit down and discuss the scene.
What can you tease about tonight’s season premiere?
The season premiere is an hour long episode called “Last Whiff of Summer.” Pretty much, Frankie and Mike want the kids to experience a real family summer and not just one that sees them sitting in front of the TV screen. Of course, they heck it up a bit in an effort to cram in all that outside, bonding and family time together.
Is there anything in particular you’re excited for fans to discover about Brick this season?
This isn’t in the season premiere, it’s in an episode or two later, but there is one thing that I’ve been really excited about. I can’t fully disclose it or anything but Brick does get a new tick, which is going to be really cool and different, especially with us being in the fourth season.
After three years spent playing him, have you tired of people coming up to you on the street to do the Brick “whisper?”
Here’s the thing. When any fan wants to just come up and say hi, take a picture or talk to me, I love it. After-all, it’s the fans who are helping us — and not just the cast members, the crew — they’re helping all of us have a job and support our families so I’m really happy if they come over. But to tell you the truth, fans don’t usually ask me to do the whisper, they just come up and say, “Hi, how are you, I love the show.”
From your love of history to stop-motion-animation, you’re known for your interesting hobbies. Is there any new ones in particular you’d like to see the writer’s incorporate into the show?
Well so far they have taken a lot of things in my real life and incorporated it into Brick’s life. Like in the first Halloween episode, Brick dressed up as Sgt. MacKenzie and went around the neighborhood and nobody knew who he was. That happened to me! I dressed up as Sgt. MacKenzie and nobody knew who I was. And then there’s little things, like Brick enjoying animals, playing with Lego and reading, those are all thing I love to do in real life.
And lastly, with ABC having so many great comedies on the air now, is there one you’d like to visit as part of some sort of MIDDLE crossover event?
Well since I don’t think it would be good for Brick to wander into COUGAR TOWN I would have to say MODERN FAMILY. But not just Brick, the entire Heck family. To do a crossover like that would be hilarious!
THE MIDDLE airs Wednesdays at 8PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada) and stars Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher and Atticus Shaffer.