The Middle: A Sitcom in Indiana

"Mike Heck" on The Middle

I love the TV show, “The Middle,” featuring the fictional Heck family. Maybe it’s because the parents are about my age. Maybe it’s because they have three teenage kids, as I do. Maybe it’s because it’s set in Indiana — where I live.

No matter, the situations in the show are relatable week after week to me. Some of the things I really love are the Indiana references the writers include.

  • The Middle is set in Orson, Indiana. There *is* no Orson in Indiana. I’ve read that the town is based on Jasper, Indiana — but I dunno. I’ve been to Jasper several times (both my sets of grandparents lived very near there), and I’m not seeing Orson as Jasper. From several things that have been said on the show, I get that the setting is southern Indiana. I’m not feeling Seymour — the small, southern Indiana town where I grew up — either. Maybe somewhere in the Bedford area?
"Frankie" on The Middle

“Frankie” aka Patricia Heaton — the mom on The Middle — Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Oldest son Axl attends “East Indiana State,” which we Hoosiers know does not exist. There is an Indiana State University, in southwestern Indiana, but I’m thinking EIS isn’t based on ISU. EIS seems like a smaller school. When daughter Sue was deciding on a college, I loved the way the show had her and her dad visit Purdue and IU. Those are very real Indiana colleges! (Neil Flynn, shown in the top photo, plays dad Mike Heck)
  • The show includes little details that make things fun — last week, I noticed a calendar hanging in the kitchen on the show. It had a photo of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument from downtown Indianapolis, the state capital. The family shops at the “Frugal Hoosier” — while I’ve never heard of such a store, it’s another fun Indiana shout-out.
  • The show’s creators are Eileen Heisler, who grew up in Chicago, and DeAnn Heline, who grew up in Muncie, Indiana. They were roommates at Read dorm at IU. Heline calls The Middle “a love letter to the Midwest.”
Youngest son Brick on The Middle

The Middle Youngest son Brick aka Atticus Shaffer — Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

  • The one issue I have with The Middle is that all the characters in the family use God’s name in vain. This really grates on me, and I’ve even written to the show complaining about it (apparently they’re not listening, as I received no reply and the characters are still doing it). It seems out of character, especially for sweet “good girl” Sue. Oh well — I guess they can’t get everything right!

Watch The Middle on Wednesdays on the ABC network. Here, it’s on at 8 p.m. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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The kids on “The Middle” TV Show

3 thoughts on “The Middle: A Sitcom in Indiana

  1. I have heard of the show but never seen it. I had no idea it took place in Indiana. I hear profanity daily at the Sixth Grade Center and it’s not the teachers or administrators either – it is the sixth graders!

  2. I’ve seen snippets of this show and just can’t get into it, but maybe now that I know it takes place in Indiana, I’ll try it again. But if they use profanity, that would turn me off very quickly.

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