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The Middle

Ep114 The Yelling

01/26/10 Season 1 TV-PG

As every good parent knows, the only way to ever truly get through to your kids is with compassion, respect and love. If that doesn’t work, try yelling. Now, Frankie Heck isn’t a yeller. Wait a minute. Yes, she is. But all that is about to change.

There’s a lot going on with the Heck kids. Axl has to write a detailed report on the Aztecs that must be bound in a very specific cover booklet. Sue is trying out for the majorettes. She actually has a decent shot at becoming a baton twirler this year, as an outbreak of swine flu took out a lot of the competition. She’ll just have to cancel a babysitting gig to attend tryouts. As for Brick, he needs a hat for “hat day” at school next week.

Bob is celebrating his three-week anniversary with his new lady, Charlotte. He forwards pictures of his true love to Frankie’s phone. She never knew her cell phone had video capabilities. She decides to take advantage of the technology by recording her kids whenever they give her a hard time. But Frankie has a rude awakening when she goes to the videotape. Turns out she’s a yeller.

Frankie vows to change her ways. She makes a deal with her kids. She’ll calmly ask them to do things only once and she’ll trust them to adhere to her requests without any follow-up. Days go by and Frankie has no way of knowing if her kids are coming through, as she promised not to nag. As the urge to yell builds, Frankie stays true to her word and remains a mum mom.

Much to her surprise, Frankie discovers that her kids are stepping up and taking some responsibility. Brick managed to find a hat for hat day. Sue arranges for a ride to majorette tryouts. And just when Frankie thought it couldn’t get any better, she sees Axl writing his history paper on his own. Way to go, Frankie!

With Mike still out of work, Bob manages to get him a job as his riding partner during his night job delivering Little Betty snack cakes. It’s union pay, which is nice. But it also means Mike must spend his evenings with Bob, which is not so nice. It’s not that he doesn’t like Bob... Actually, that’s it exactly. But a job’s a job.

While out on the road with Mike, Bob gets several text messages from his lady. Unfortunately, one of them is a Dear John text. Bob is heartbroken. Not even stuffing his face with Little Betty snack cakes can cheer him up. Mike suggests they take a ride over to Charlotte’s place to see if he can patch things up. Impossible. Charlotte lives in New Mexico. Bob only knows her through the Internet. They danced for each other on iChat!

Bob freaks out and runs wildly into the open night. Mike stops his panicked spree with several nifty open-field tackles. As they sit on a rock, Bob mentions that Charlotte has three kids, a little house and a cat. He could have walked right in and had a life. He says, “I could have been like you.” Mike realizes that Bob envies him. So, he invites his Little Betty buddy over for dinner to help ease his heartache. Bob can bring snack cakes for dessert.

Frankie decides to take a warm, relaxing bath to celebrate her non-yelling success. But before she can sink into the suds, the doorbell rings. It’s the mom of the child Sue was supposed to babysit. She never canceled the job. So now Frankie must watch the baby. She wants Brick to sit with the kid while she gets dressed. That’s not a good idea. The child might then get the head lice Brick picked up from the hat he got from a homeless guy.

Frankie puts Axl on babysitting duty. She has no choice. She has 11 minutes to get to the office supply store before it closes. See, Axl never picked up the special cover he needs for his report. Frankie makes it to the store on time. But the manager closes up the store while she’s still in the binder aisle. She’s locked in!

Mike and the kids arrive at the office supply store as the security guard tries to find the right key to unlock the door. They can see Frankie inside, but can’t hear what she’s saying through the glass. That’s probably a good thing. Because it’s not about what’s she’s saying, it’s more about how she’s saying it. In other words, she’s yelling. But somehow she makes it work. Good to have you back, Frankie.

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