After a nine-season run, ABC-TV's "The Middle" wrapped with a two-part finale that had to be somewhat pleasant for ardent fans of the show. I hesitate call myself a "fan," per se, but I did enjoy the quirky little comedy nonetheless.
I wouldn't have been crushed if I'd missed an episode, mind you, but I did sort-kinda want to keep tabs on Sue, Axl, Brick & their hard-working "never gets ahead" parents Frankie & Mike. Ya know, I think it might be because they remind me (remotely, anyhow) of my aunt & uncle and cousins a bit. Whereas my aunt and uncle divorced, the Hecks, kept it together, somehow.
For me, the past couple of seasons became more about being emotionally invested in seeing Sue - "the Middle" child (literally) - finding happiness. Growing up the geeky/awkward but persistently optimistic girl, bless her heart, her triumph and happiness was constantly derailed or sidelined, and yet, "nevertheless, she persisted."
SPOILER ALERT - so after a couple of boyfriends here & there, it was telegraphed to us all along that neighbor Sean (from the Donahue family the Hecks never felt they measured up to, but still were neighborly friendly with). Suffice to say, after WEEKS and at least a season or two of "near miss" angst, Sean realizes she adores him and chases the Heck family (on their way to moving Axl to his new job in Denver) into Illinois to let her know he, too, adored her.
It was awkward/cute - as is the case with anything "Sue" had been all along.
Thus ends "The Middle," and my emotional attachment to the show ends on a sweet note. Axl became a father of "little Axls" (karma rules!) and Brick became a successful geek-fiction author and Sue and Sean broke up (did you not see that coming?) a few times before finally marrying - thus enjoining the Hecks and the Donahues as a "family" forever!
Mike and Frankie? Eh, not much changed; their "all too real" marriage grounded in low-middle class reality never really altered. The house stays a mess; they stay "working poor," but they've done their jobs as parents of three imperfect kids from an imperfect family living in an imperfect home in America's "middle."
And that's how those of us who watched "The Middle" all these years had to see it winding down, anyway, right?