The Middle (S08E15) “Dental Hijinks”

Review: This week’s episode of The Middle had a lot of different storylines. Let’s start with this week’s adventures of the parents. Mike has a toothache (apparently brushing your teeth as often as Mike does on screen, doesn’t prevent problems with your teeth), but of course he doesn’t want to go see a dentist. Frankie guilts him into going to Dr. Goodwin, but because Mike really just doesn’t want “someone poking around where they got no business being”, he tells Dr. Goodwin to lie to Frankie and tell her that his tooth is fine. Dr. Goodwin however, isn’t a great liar and tries to come up with a cover story, making the lie bigger and bigger. Mike eventually feels guilty towards Frankie for lying so he goes to Dr. Goodwin to let him fix his tooth. This was my least favorite storyline this week. It had some funny parts, but the general plot has been used a little too often in sitcoms and it didn’t really have anything special to it. I did like seeing Mike and Dr. Goodwin interact with each other though, especially because their characters are so different.

Meanwhile at East Indiana State, Sue tells Lexie about her crush on the safety cart guy Tyler. When she tries to figure out if Tyler likes her too, Sue’s ex-boyfriend Jeremy shows up and ruins the perfect moment. Tyler does ask Sue out, but he takes his girlfriend on their date (that apparently wasn’t a date) and Sue is disappointed. But the meeting did lead to something because Tyler’s girlfriend breaks up with him after Tyler spends the night looking at Sue instead of her. And even though Sue can’t believe it, Tyler really likes her too. While this storyline may not have been very original either, I am happy that Tyler and Sue are finally together and I hope to see a lot of them in the rest of the season!

With graduation coming up, Axl, Hutch and Kenny plan to get rid of the Winnebago. Since the Bago has become a successful venue for some legendary parties at East Indy, the boys decide to sell it to a freshman to let the parties continue. However, finding the right person proves to be harder than they thought, but eventually they find three guys (who look exactly like them) willing to buy their mobile home. When they pack up their stuff, they get emotional and Axl decides to get the Bago back until they all graduate. I still can’t believe Axl will be graduating in a few months and I wonder what will happen to the characters of Hutch and Kenny after graduation. I hope we will see them back at some point.

Back at home, Brick starts writing a musical to submit as the school’s spring play, in the spirit of Lin Manuel Miranda who also started out as an unknown writer, but grew to become a big star. As opposed to Miranda though, Brick writes about a lesser known character: Charles MacKenzie, a Scottish sergeant and Brick’s favorite World War I hero. Not surprisingly, the musical, including historical Scottish rap and bagpipe beatbox, doesn’t get picked by the school, but Brick decides to keep working on it anyway. Although small, this storyline was my favorite of this week. Brick’s raps were hilarious and I think what Atticus Shaffer did in his scenes was just fantastic!

Like I said, there were a lot of storylines this week. The four completely different plots in this episode felt a little bit too much. I think the episode would have been a little bit more balanced if it only had three plots. I would have loved to see more of Brick and his musical, in exchange for one of the other storylines, because his scenes were just really great.

The Middle doesn’t usually fall back to storylines that are used often in sitcoms, but that was a little bit different this week. While the writers are always able to bring their own original The Middle ‘feel’ to it, this week it felt a little less original than usual and I do think this was one of the weaker episodes of the season. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it because, like I said, it did have some great scenes and funny lines.

Rating: 8/10