Though this TV show has been on the air for four years now, I only just started watching it last month, but I have been missing out. I also started watching Modern Family (which has now won three Emmys for Best Comedy) and Suburgatory. However, this is the best show of the three I feel. (I refuse to watch The
The show is simple and the situations are real. So far this season, Frankie (Patricia Heaton) lost her job in car sales and decided to return to school to become a dental assistant, only to have a strict and awful teacher who uses Frankie as the living example for the rest of the class. Axl (Charlie McDermott) is the king of the school, as this is his senior year, only to have everything be tossed away when his younger sister, Sue (a great Eden Sher) ran over his foot while trying to drive. Brick, the younger of the Heck clan (Atticus Shaffer) ate too much Halloween candy and turned normal for a brief period of time. Mike (Neil Flynn) hasn't done that much, but his mere presence is enough.
Though the latest episode was supposed to be about Thanksgiving, it came across as more of a Valentine's Day episode. Here Frankie decides to invite some marines over for the big holiday, which Mike doesn't like, though he is also less than thrilled that her parents (Marsha Mason and Jerry Van Dyke) are coming to visit. Sue is devastated over her mascot chicken head being stolen by the other team. Brick is, as per usual, buried in a book, in this case the real story of the book Love Story became a movie. When his grandmother asks if he wants to watch it with her, he glances up from his book, "Now why we would do that?" because he is all about the books and nothing else even matters. Axl is dealing with a huge crush on his tutor, Cassidy, who claims to have a boyfriend in college (I doubt this ). I doubt this because she left the room immediately when Axl impulsively kissed her and smiled secretly to herself and she flirted with him when he criticized her handwriting, stating that she needed a handwriting tutor. But she shows no interest in him, especially after his broken foot (thanks to Sue running over it) heals and he can play football again.
The show plays out quickly, as they only have twenty-two minutes and tons of plot to cram in. The Thanksgiving dinner with the marines goes horribly, as Frankie's parents are fighting over everything, as her father is convinced that food is poison because of the refined sugar and insists on telling the marines his stories of Korea. She ends up telling everyone the story of her parent's first date, screaming at how wonderful everything turned out, causing the marines to become uncomfortable and leave.
Though Sue is unable to find her chicken head and has to settle for a bear head, she is the one who tells Axl not to think about football, just play the game which works. That scholarship offer is back on the table. And Cassidy broke up with her (supposed) college boyfriend and now she and Axl are together. Even Frankie's parents make up. All is right in the Heck's world.
Modern Family may scope up all the Emmys, but this show is funnier and packed with talent. Eden Sher shines as Sue, who is the constant butt of her older brother's jokes and never seems to catch a break when it comes to anything. Patricia Heaton is still the underappreciated housewife, just as she was in Everybody Loves Raymond, another great show, but now she is more likeable and Mike is not an idiot so we don't have to wonder why she decided to marry him.
The Heck family is just like any other, struggling to make ends meet, doing the best they can with the typical situations and the results are hilarious, at least to the outside observer. Grade: A-