Third-episode verdict: The Middle

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Wednesdays, 8.30c/7.30c, ABC

We’re in a comedy boom. Suddenly, there are decent comedies everywhere – as well as a few rubbish ones like Brothers and Accidentally on Purpose.

ABC has most of them: it’s got Cougar Town and Modern Family, although NBC has the best – Community. It’s also got The Middle.

Most years, The Middle would do well for itself – in fact, it’s already had a full season pick up – because it’s not bad. In fact, it’s pretty good.

Okay, it’s not really what you’d call funny. It’s accurate. You sit there through every episode thinking, “Oh yes, I recognise what this pithy look at middle class, middle America life is getting at. These situations are very familiar to me, and no doubt everyone who’s ever had to deal with life in The Middle.”*

But it’s not something you really laugh at. The producers try to make you laugh. They’ve assembled a good cast. They try to come up with funny situations. And you can sit through every episode with a wry-ish smile on your face. But laugh? Not so much.

The jokes just never seem to hit home, because they’re just too silly. The characters are all pretty unappealing and despite their everyperson situations, they’re hard to identify with.

It’s so very near the edge of great, but it never quite gets there.

So, despite this actually being okay, I’m dropping it in favour of other shows. Bad luck The Middle.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Will last a season at most but not get renewed

* Okay, I’m not American, don’t have kids and I don’t live in Indiana, but some things are universal.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.