According to the Rodney Richey’s article, “DeAnn Heline Writes, Produces ‘The Middle,’” the executive producers of The Middle are Eileen Heister and DeAnn Heline. Heister of Chicago and Heline, born in Muncie, IN, were no strangers to the central Indiana environment depicted by The Middle. These two producers were roommates at Indiana University and had the idea to pitch the series to Warner Bros in California. Heiseter and Heline, who won The Humanitas Prize for their success with The Middle, brought a lot to the table. Not only did the two demonstrate great personal experience, but also professional work as writers for Roseanne (Richey).
The dialogue in The Middle is structured to be authentic to the theme and setting of the show. Often times the main character illustrated in the sitcom, Frankie Hess, utilizes voiceovers to inform readers of ongoing or past events and personal thoughts or struggles. In my opinion, this tool makes the show much more effective at presenting its message and keeps the audience entertained. The Middle thrives on viewers that can sympathize with the events and characters portrayed in the story. When the voiceovers are used, relating to the main character becomes effortless.
Silence is rarely used in The Middle, but when it is, often it is to express the quiet nature of the Midwest, or as it is described in the show, Flyover country. The title sequence generally includes corn fields and a blue sky shown in the frame with a jet plane flying over. This is to signify the desolate surroundings. I believe this contrasts the emptiness associated with the Midwest with the strong relationships, loving families, and hospitality lying further within.
The Middle also uses many flashbacks to show how each character has evolved and how Frankie has fought the struggles of raising a middle-class family over time. The references to a typical Indiana environment are profound in the show. I feel more connected with the overall picture when I see these allusions. For example, the occasional Colts apparel, basketball references, and camaraderie of small neighborhoods remind me of my former home. It honestly makes me homesick when I realize I haven’t witnessed these elements in quite some time.
The number one factor that stands out to me concerning the writing is authenticity. As I’ve stated, I pick up on the small details that allow the audience to feel immersed in the show. Even if one has never stepped foot in the Midwest, it’s easy to watch the middle-class family events unfold and exclaim, “I’ve been there.” I see this as the most powerful component of The Middle. Also, when the plot is detailed through the mother of the family, it is more engaging for the observer. A mother’s perspective into the traditional middle-class family is unique in the television world, and The Middle prospers because of it.
Richey, Rodney. “DeAnn Heline Writes, Produces ‘The Middle.’” The Herald Bulletin, 20 Oct. 2009, http://www.heraldbulletin.com/community/deann-heline-writes-produces-the-middle/article_2dd38b0a-7e53-56e1-ae44-665b630b91fb.html. Accessed 8 Sep. 2018.