Why The Ending To The Middle Was Perfect, According To Patricia Heaton

 Patricia Heaton as Frankie Heck in The Middle
Patricia Heaton as Frankie Heck in The Middle

Patricia Heaton is known for playing Frankie Heck, one of our favorite TV moms from the 2010s on The Middle. The incredibly memorable show about a quirky middle-class family from the Midwest ran for nine years. It felt like a refreshingly honest take on class and what it was really like to grow up in, well, “the middle” of everything. In 2018, the series came to a close in an emotional finale, which Heaton said was a perfect ending for the hit ABC sitcom.

What Happened In The Final Episode

After years and years of watching the Heck children grow up, The Middle concluded its run in 2018. In the final episode, the dysfunctional central family took a road trip to Denver to drop off their oldest child, Axl, who was moving to the city in Colorado. Emotions bubbled over, as all the Hecks were in the midst of big life changes, with Sue taking a hotel job and Brick making Axl’s room into a reading nook.

Then, when we flashed forward and found out Axl moved back to his hometown to raise his own family, Sue also got married, and Brick became a successful author. The show's last scene was a flashback to the present day, where the road trip accumulates into a fight because someone forgot something at home.

The Cast of The Middle in a car in the final episode of the show
The Cast of The Middle in a car in the final episode of the show

Why It Was The Perfect Ending For The Middle

A lot of sitcoms end with a flash forward to what the future holds for characters, but The Middle felt different. The show was built on the idea of the ordinary family, and it concluded the same way, with the Hecks all having their own ordinary midwestern families. Patricia Heaton felt the same way. Speaking to Cleveland.com, the comedy actress talked about the series finale, saying:

When I read the script for the last episode, I thought it was just absolute perfection. The very last line of the show is amazing. And I said to the writers, 'That must have been the first thing you thought of when you started writing the show.' And they said, 'No, it just occurred to us as we were writing that, of course, that's how it should end.'

It is historically difficult to end beloved, long-running shows, but the writers of the The Middle really nailed it. It honors the central idea of the series, finding humor in mediocrity and characters that never truly felt the need to soar above it, but find happiness anyway.

Also, the last scene in question could not be more fitting. Even in the most emotional, heartfelt moments, something always happens that breaks the Hecks out of a touching interaction, igniting an argument so true to the rest of the series. The Middle is loved for its relatability, and nothing is more relatable than a family squabbling over someone forgetting something important on a family trip.

I think I speak for most fans of the 2010s sitcom, when I saw that the series is greatly missed. Conversations of a spinoff series around Sue Heck circled around ABC for a while, however, the network decided not to pick it up. While we may never get to see the Heck family on the small screen again, audiences can rest easy knowing that we got a perfect finale that even the cast of The Middle adored for their characters.

You can revisit The Middle now, as the sitcom is currently streaming its entire nine-season run for Max subscribers. For more information on other great shows on the streamers, make sure to check out our feature on the best shows streaming on Max right now.