What’s Worth Watching: Mother’s Day Blues on The Middle

The Middle
Michael Ansell/ABC
The Middle

The Middle, “Mother’s Day Reservations” (Wednesday, May 6, 8/7c, ABC)

Would it kill the Heck family to provide their long-suffering mom Frankie (Patricia Heaton) with a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift? Probably, if we’re to judge from this typically hilarious episode, in which Frankie challenges her husband Mike (Neil Flynn) and their kids to step it up. (The low bar was apparently set by a “First Mom on the Moon” T-shirt.)

While Sue (Eden Sher), Axl (Charlie McDermott) and Brick (Atticus Shaffer) try and try again to find the perfect gift with increasingly diminishing results, the best running gag involves curmudgeonly Mike valiantly attempting to make an online reservation for afternoon tea at a local tea shop. (Who knew Orson, Indiana had such a place?) As usual, Frankie’s her own worst enemy, setting herself up for another bout of self-recrimination when she asks each of the kids what they’d do differently from her as parents. “Why do you go looking for trouble?” Mike growls, sympathetically. Because that’s the Heck way. And Frankie’s no easier on her own mom (Marsha Mason) when she shows up for the big day. Well, there’s always next year.