The Middleman

The Pilot Episode Sanction

Season 1, Ep 1, Aired 6/16/08
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  • Episode Description
  • Wendy Watson is thrust into the middle of a science experiment gone wrong while temping at a laboratory. Fortunately for Wendy, The Middleman, a crime fighting comic-book-like superhero, shows up to save the day. Impressed by how Wendy handles herself when faced with danger, and in need of a colleague, The Middleman recruits Wendy into his secret organisation.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Stephen Sowan

    Ben Stanley

  • Matt Keeslar

    The Middleman

  • Natalie Morales (II)

    Wendy Watson

  • Mary Lynn Rajskub

    Dr. Gibbs

  • Fulvio Cecere


  • Fan Reviews (8)
  • One of the shows that you keep watching hoping that it will get better in time.

    By D-BorG, Jun 20, 2008

  • Different and silly. The Middleman shows promise.

    By SartaqKhan, Sep 21, 2009

  • It was entertaining.

    By Dbunny0925, Jul 02, 2008

  • Cute and imitative, but, arguably, among the best summer TV fare, so far.

    By skaizun, Jun 18, 2008

  • Wendy Watson a.k.a. Dub-Dub, is a struggling artist out of college going from one temp job to the next. On one of her jobs a freak accident occurs with a tentacle beast. The Middleman appears. The Middleman convinces Wendy to become his partner.

    By marklinenfan, Jun 20, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (17)

    • The Middleman: No more monologuing, or I'll Swiss-cheese you on principle.

    • The Middleman: So, what's it going to be: Keep the secret, or death? Wendy: What do you think? The Middleman: Ma'am, specificity is the soul of all good communication. Wendy: Yes. Duh. The Middleman: Outstanding. You're good under pressure. Wendy: Are you hitting on me? The Middleman: Just making an observation. Wendy: Hellooo, nutjob, party of one. The Middleman: No, Ma'am. I'm just The Middleman.

    • Wendy: Get a hold of yourself, man. What's easier to believe: a gorilla holding a gun or a big hairy guy doing a drive by?

    • The Middleman: I don't get it, why the mob? Dr. Gibbs: Money! Fast, tax-free cash money. This is a federally funded lab. Every year the government is less and less interested in making smarter apes and every year they slash my budget. Without money, I will never fulfill my dream. The Middleman: What dream? Dr. Gibbs: To build an army of genetically engineered super-apes... Dr. Gibbs/The Middleman: (together) ... and take over the world.

    • The Middleman: What makes more sense? That a monster trashed a science lab or that a gas main exploded? If I hadn't planted your Zippo some pink skin normal would have still come up with a rational explanation. People want to believe reality's normal. The ones who don't are freaks and no one believes them anyway.

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    Notes (9)

    • The crew could afford only one gorilla suit. As such, Mike Starr plays all of the gorilla characters in the episode. During the laboratory sequence, as the camera pans through the lab, Starr portrays one gorilla, slips away once the cameras pass him, runs to the next station, and plays a different gorilla. The only time two gorillas appear is when they use a CGI gorilla doing Tai Chi.

    • The machinegun used is the actual gun used in Scarface (1983), from which much of Spanky's dialogue is taken directly.

    • Director Jeremiah S. Chechik worked on The Avengers (1999) and the inclusion of various references to the episode were asked for by series creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach. One such scene is the Middleman looking through a magnifying glass, his face itself magnified. It parallel a scene in the movie where Sean Connery's character is looking through a magnifying glass the same way. Another was the brief black-and-white sequence with the Middleman and Wendy (which took 14 minutes to shoot).

    • Stephen Sowan (Ben) originally read for the role of Noser. He failed to get the part and was cast as Wendy's girlfriend.

    • Series creator Javier Grillo-Marxuach can be seen twice in the episode. He's a scientist teaching a gorilla to read in the lab, and his face appears on the Omerta Rat poster in Spanky's private room. Comic book artist Les McClaine's picture appears in the Italian restaurant: it's the large photo hanging on the wall.

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    Trivia (2)

    • Trivia: The name of the Italian restaurant — Il Mutande Grandissimo — translates to "The Really Big Underpants".

    • The mob killer who is presumably one of Gibbs' "operatives" is clearly not a gorilla. The killer is much shorter and thinner. In the opening shootout the killer is wearing gloves but glimpses of human skin can be seen between the gloves and the cuffs. The DVD commentary notes that the director and creator deliberately kept it vague, to suggest it might been a human operative, but that doesn't account for the banana dropped at the scene of each crime.

    Allusions (15)

    • Jolly Fats Wee Hawkins: The name of the temp agency references Cracking Up (1983), starring Jerry Lewis. The Jolly Fats Wee Hawkins airline agency is a low-budget carrier.

    • Dr. Gibbs: get him to stop painting those damn soup cans. Referencing Andy Warhol (1928-87), an American artist and prime mover of the pop art phenomena. He rose to fame in the 1960s with works such as Campbell's Soup Cans and other paintings of brand name products.

    • Spanky: Man has climbed Mt. Everest, gone to the bottom of the ocean. He's fired rockets to the moon, split the atom, achieved miracles in every field of human endeavor. Referencing Goldfinger (1964). Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) delivers the same line as he describes Operation Grand Slam.

    • The Middleman: Barry Allen or Wally West? Referencing two incarnations of The Flash, a comic book superhero. Barry Allen is the Silver Age Flash, first appearing in Showcase #4 (October 1956). The character was created by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Bob Kanigher. His nephew, Wally West, first appears in The Flash (vol. 1) #110 (December 1959–January 1960). Wally West was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino. Both gained their powers of super speed by being doused with electrified chemicals. Wally started as Kid Flash but later took on the role of the Flash when Barry Allen died.

    • Wendy: Does Rosie have an off switch? Referencing Rosie the Robot Maid from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Jetsons (1962-1987). Like The Flintstones, the series featured a normal everyday family in a different timezone. George Jetson was the father with wife Jane, teenage daughter Judy, and younger boy genius Elroy.

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