The Middle Season Premiere Showcases Summer Vacation Favorites

The season premiere of ABC's The Middle was a hilarious summary of a family's expectations about summer vacation and the harsh reality of what really happens.

Last night the season premiere of ABC's “The Middle” showed the family getting ready for the best summer ever. Frankie and Mike wanted the kids to have a really memorable summer before Axl went to college. The reality of summer vacation on a tight budget with resistant kids came crashing down around everyone's ears.

Summer Vacation on a Budget on “The Middle”

Fans were able to catch up on what their favorite characters on ABC's “The Middle” did during their summer vacation. Mike realizes Axl will be going off to college if he manages to get his grades together. He wants the summer to be memorable and Frankie agrees to give it a try. They realize their summer vacation budget consists of the change dropped in the cushions of the couch. Frankie (Patricia Heaton) and Mike (Neil Flynn) see the good times will have to occur at home rather than a tony getaway.

Their first attempt to have a good time with Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher) and Brick (Atticus Shaffer) involves their own memories of childhood. They ask the kids to go to a drive-in movie. The kids have no idea what this is until Frankie describes sitting in the car to watch a huge iPod. The children reluctantly agree to go. They squabble in the car as the couple in the next vehicle “wrestles.” The parents finally send them to the swing set to play, despite the fact Axl and Sue are rather old for that activity.

The kids discuss who the favorite child is and Axl says he is the one hands-down. Brick feels he is the favorite because he is the youngest. Sue guesses she must be the favored child because she is smart and the only girl in the family. They return to the car and the parents continue to focus on Axl, his football, his grades and going to college. They send Sue back to the swings and the swings breaks, causing her to fall.

Summer School and Favorites on “The Middle”

Frankie discovers Axl's report card hiding under his bed and learns he failed English. The parents scold him and scuffle to get him into summer school. With all this attention on Axl, Sue decides to start a scrapbook entitled the “Summer of Sue and Dad.” Throughout the show, she takes photos and adds memories of them going to places such as the hardware store to try to get her father's attention.

Her parents are focused on getting Axl through high school so he can be a football pro at college. Brick spend his time focusing on growing a huge tomato on the yard. The tomato thrives more than the family's dreams of a stellar summer vacation. Brick uses various undergarments to hold the tomato as it grows on the vine. At one point, Frankie tries to no avail to get the kids to run through the sprinkler like she did as a child. They simply do not get the point.

Frankie attempts to plan a family day again and looks up a park to see the fireworks on Fourth of July. She leaves the picnic basket by the car and unbeknownst to anyone, it gets slobbered on by a dog. She goes back for the basket and everyone winds up getting sick on the chicken. During the picnic, it comes out all three children view dad as the favorite parent. Frankie protests the concept of having favorites. They also find out they are on the wrong side of the park to see the fireworks, which are obscured by trees. Frankie loses more points with the kids for this day in the park.

Going to the Fair for a Tomato Contest

In an effort to at least get in Brick's good graces, they family sets out to go to the local fair for the annual tomato contest. Sue waits to ride with her father while Axl takes Frankie and Brick. Axl wind up trying to park in the middle of a demolition derby and his car is totaled. Brick's tomato is crushed in the process and he gets upset that Axl took away his attention and chance to be a winner. After they get out and the car is taken away, Axl realizes his final paper to graduate from English was in the car.

Sue is desperate for attention and tried to be bad by skipping her vitamin and other minor infractions. Nobody notices so she decides to get lost at the fair while everyone rushes to help Axl get his paper back. She gets bored and sits at the Lost and Found office, waiting to be discovered. The family walks in hours later to see if the English paper was turned in. Frankie sees Sue sitting and yells at her to get up, stating everyone is tired. Sue realizes they did not even notice she was gone.

With a wrecked car and no English paper, Frankie feeds the family food on a stick to try to cheer them up. They all agree they are done with summer and finished trying to have fun. Dad admits he loves Sue and fireworks start to go off overhead. They all realize they can't be upset with fireworks going off in the sky. Frankie is also the narrator of the show and reflects on the summer memories, realizing it was her favorite summer ever – not that she has any favorites. One Facebook fan commented, "This show is GREAT! It is like my life & everyone's that I know." It was certainly the kind of summer most families can relate to.

ABC's "The Middle" airs on Wednesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET

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