Before The Middle’s upcoming series finale, we got to ask Brock Ciarlelli, who plays the amazing character of Brad a few questions.
Hi Brock, welcome back to TV Series Hub and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Since most people already know you quite well (if you don’t, check out our previous interview with him here!), let’s just dive right in!
When did you hear The Middle would end after the 9th season?
“I knew there were talks of it that season 9 would probably be the last, towards the end of season 8. There were conversations about it during our final weeks of filming during that season. But I got the official news when I went to lunch with one of our writers over the summer before season 9 started. And then a few days later, the news broke to the public.”
How do you feel about the show ending?
“Honestly, I’m great! Of course, I’m sad that I won’t be seeing everyone on a regular basis. Since I got the news before we even began working on the final season, it wasn’t an abrupt shock. As a result I was able to soak up every moment. More than anything, I’m grateful. Not many people in this profession are as lucky as I have been and I don’t take that for granted.”
Tell me about the last week, or the last day of shooting The Middle.
“My last day of shooting was not everyone else’s last day. But regardless, it was a mix of emotions. The scene we filmed during my final day was a scene with most of the recurring characters, as well as every member of the Heck family. It was nice to have everyone there. It was very surreal when we finally finished filming that day. Eden [Sher, who plays Sue] was my final and longest hug that day. And when we pulled back, she had tears streaming down her face. I love that girl so damn much.”
Will you still keep in touch with the cast members?
“Yes, no doubt. I want to keep in touch with everyone. I know that’ll be difficult, but I want to try! However, the person I’ll see the most is Jen Ray, who plays Nancy Donahue. I’ve already seen her multiple times since we finished filming. We also love watching reality competition shows together… it’s a strong bond!”
How difficult is it to say goodbye after 9 years?
“It’s hard, but it’s time. The Middle never wanted to be a show that dragged on for longer than it needed to. Shows lose their spark when they do that. So while it’s difficult, it’s comforting knowing there are 9 great seasons. The hardest part of saying goodbye is leaving Brad behind. That character means so much to me. I never really knew how special he was until it hit me that I’ll never play him again.”
What did you love most about the show?
“This is a show that’s for the whole family. Truly. And there aren’t many shows like that. It’s relatable and funny.”
What are you going to miss the most?
“The paychecks! Just kidding. I’m going to miss going to work where I know everyone. For me, when I’m in a comfortable environment that’s when I do my best. Plus it’s always fun to catch up with the cast and crew. The Middle can have some pretty long hours, so you inevitably get close to everyone on set.”
What kind of legacy do you think the show will leave behind?
“The show’s motto has always been: ‘you do for family.’ And if anything, I hope that’s the legacy. It’s so important and so true, it’s a theme that appears in every single episode. It’s the DNA of the show.”
What was your favorite episode or scene to play on the show?
“Brad’s coming out scene was extremely important not only to me, but to a lot of fans who watch the show. It was a different approach to a coming out scene. At least different than I had ever seen. It’s important to show all types of characters on TV and let them be who they are. And that’s exactly what we did during that scene.”
What was your favorite episode that you weren’t in?
“That’s a good question! I loved the 200th episode. When Mike gave his speech and started listing off all the people of Orson who make the town special, that got me choked up. I wish I was there to see him act that out in real life. In fact, a lot of my favorite moments from The Middle come from Mike’s sentimental scenes. Mike dancing with Frankie’s mom at the gas station, seeing Sue as a grown woman during the vacation with the Donahues, and selling the diaper business to pay for college are also some of my favorite Mike moments.”
So halfway through this season Brad started dating Luke, played by Corbin Bleu. Is Brad still dating him?
“Yes! While Luke has only been in that one episode, Brad has mentioned him saying he’s “so happy” with him. You want to know who’s a stand up guy? Corbin Bleu. That man is a class act. He is genuinely one of the nicest people I’ve met in this industry. And let’s not forget talented. Coincidentally, I met him when I was in 8th grade. It was during the hype of the first High School Musical and he came to Colorado for an appearance. And I stood in a line for hours just to get an autograph… and now look at us! We’re playing boyfriends on TV.”
I met @corbinbleu in 8th grade at his Meet & Greet in Colorado. Who woulda thunk after all these years I would be rambling on about chamomile tea to him? #TheMiddle @TheMiddle_ABC pic.twitter.com/xY8SndUmHK
— Brock Ciarlelli (@BrockCiarlelli) January 10, 2018
What do you think Brad’s future will look like?
“Well, I do know Brad has big plans for him and Sue this summer. There’s a quick mention of it in the finale. But if we are looking 10 years into the future, I’d say Brad is happily running a community theatre in Orson. A place where he can direct, choreograph, and star in all the productions. Beyond that though, I bet Brad’s happy. Brad has always been good at that… and when he’s not, he has Sue to help him. No question – they’ll be best friends forever.”
What did you think about the series finale? Is it the perfect way to end the show after almost a decade on TV?
“YES! The finale is so so SO good. I promise you, the viewers will be so satisfied. There’s one particular monologue that Patricia Heaton [who plays Frankie] gives towards the end of the episode that I’m so excited to see on TV. Everyone got teary eyed during the table read when she said it. Not surprisingly, the finale will make you laugh and cry.”
I know you can’t give a lot away, but what can you tell us about the finale?
“You watch a sitcom for the characters more than anything. The thing with sitcom finales is that you want the viewers to know that the characters are going to be okay. And a good finale leads you to believe that they’re still living their lives, as they’ve always done, even after the finale. And The Middle has done that… in a brilliant way. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
Soooo, is there any way we can keep the show from ending? How much money do you all want?? 😉
“Ha! Unfortunately not. The decision to end it was not because of ratings, or a network cancelation, or anything like that. It was a creative decision. But again, ending at season 9 ensures that every aspect of the show is great for all 9 seasons.”
The Middle shot its last episode 2 months ago, so what have you been up to in the meantime?
“To put it quite simply: auditioning like crazy! This industry is all about the hustle. So I’m on the hunt for the next job.”
What other sitcom would you like to be on and why? Or would you rather try something completely different, like a drama?
“I would love to be on a sitcom that makes you laugh but also makes you sentimental… Just like The Middle. It’s my favorite type of show to be apart of, but also to watch.”
I know you did your first one man show, Fully Committed, last month in LA. How was that? And are you thinking of doing more things like this in the future?
“It was such a great experience. I bought the script last summer and wanted to do it when I had the time. So once The Middle ended, I went for it. I played 35+ characters — and had a blast doing it. During the performances, so many members of The Middle cast and crew came to watch…including said TV boyfriend, Corbin Bleu. And better yet, he loved it! Felt nice getting his stamp of approval, seeing as he’s been on Broadway three times.”
Any other exciting things you are working on right now?
“My kickball skills. Right after I finish this interview, I’m heading to the championship game for my kickball league. And my catching skills could use some work, so I’m actively trying to work on those. However, I’m really great at drinking the beer that my team and I have at the bar after we finish a game. That’s my strong suit.”
What do you hope to do in the future?
“I’ve always said if my career relates to the entertainment industry, I’ll be okay. That’s what I hope for.”
Brock, congrats on 9 years of The Middle! I hope to see you back on TV soon.
In the mean time check out my post about The Middle with 10 reasons of why it’s one of my favorite show’s of all time!
Credit Featured Image: Storm Santos