The Middle

Season 5 Episode 20

The Optimist

5
Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Apr 30, 2014 on ABC
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
16 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT

Sue is in a panic, she's less than two years away from graduation and she needs to figure out how to earn a scholarship for college. Frankie forgot to send out any of the patient appointment cards and business has fallen off for Dr. Goodwin. When Mike misreads a situation and reprimands a girl for picking on Brick, Brick demands an apology. Axl and Hutch raid the Heck kitchen in their attempt to bulk up and keep a position on the football team for the coming year.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Too Much Food, Bad Spas and a Misread Situation

    8.5
    Sue (Eden Sher) wins the optimist scholarship. One hundred dollars all for her. I shouldn't have been surprised. She is an optimist, even proclaiming that she can't wait for the next moment.

    However, she is super stressed out for the majority of the episode, she sloshes through working extra shifts, applying for tons of scholarships, some of which she doesn't have a prayer to win, and even does her community service at the old people's home, cutting up meat for them. However, that falls through when she doesn't cut the meat right, and an old person chokes. Yikes.

    Frankie (Patricia Heaton) is horrible at her job and almost gets caught. She fails to mail the appointment reminder cards so no one is coming to work. Being Frankie, she finally addresses all the cards, but forgets to put stamps on them. Fortunately, she gets some stamps and mails the cards so people start showing up for appointments, using the gas mask to keep the person from spilling the beans over the reason why they haven't been there in so long.

    Mike (Neil Flynn) misreads a situation with Brick (Atticus Shaffer). A girl prevents Brick from entering the building, and it looks like she's a bully, but it turns out that that is Brick's friend, Piper (Ava Allan). Brick tries to get Mike to apologize to her, and though he feels sorry about the situation, he doesn't believe he should apologize. But Brick wins out, but Piper isn't one for the apology, as Mike truly embarrassed her in front of her friends. She doesn't really accept his apology and Mikes becomes even more angry, which makes the situation worse but at least Brick isn't too mad at him this time.

    Axl (Charlie McDermott) and Hutch (Alphonso McAuley) need to gain weight so they can remain on the football team, so they are eating everything in sight at the Heck house. Mike has to go into his bedroom to keep a bag of chips from Axl's grubby hands. This plot line is pretty lame, but at least Axl keeps his scholarship, though he is still a tiny man on the team.

    Now, back to Frankie and Sue. Frankie decides to take Sue to a spa so she can relax, which leads to the best scene in the episode. Sue laments that she isn't super smart, like Brick, or athletic like Axl. And several of the sports teams that she made were totally by accident. She is totally average and it upsets her. But Frankie has never been worried about her, so does everything on her own, while she had to constantly nag Axl for years. Sue finally calms down and relaxes which leads her to getting at least that one scholarship, never more deserved.

    All-in-all, the episode was better than last week's, though I don't really know what the writers were going for with the Mike and Brick plot line, but that one scene with Sue and Frankie made the episode really good and worth a second viewing. But I didn't think Frankie would be that bad at her job, she seriously needs to pull it together. Grade: B+

    Side Notes:

    -Guys (aka Axl and Hutch) at a buffet, please use utensils when putting food on your plate.

    -Brick is crazy for thinking that Mike should meet Piper at a park to apology, and bringing candy wouldn't make the situation any better.

    -Brick makes the situation worse by telling Piper's parents that Mike touched her, which he did but in a fatherly way, basically harmless.

    -The spa is truly horrible. I would not have gone in the water if I were them. But they were told and did obey the warning to keep their bathing suits on the whole time.

    -The snacks the spa provides are horrible, as the owner literally pulls stuff out of his pocket. Gross.

    -Frankie surprises her boss, Dr. Goodwin (Jack McBrayer) with a song she wrote (pulled out of her butt) for him. He writes some back for her, It's cute in a creepy way.

    -I wish they would give Axl a new girlfriend, though Hutch is a pretty cool character.

    -I wonder why Brick's math teacher is giving him a hard time. Well, that's probably a plot line for a whole separate show.moreless
Brian Scolaro

Brian Scolaro

Mickey

Guest Star

Ava Allan

Ava Allan

Piper

Guest Star

Michael Chambers

Michael Chambers

Olson

Guest Star

Jack McBrayer

Jack McBrayer

Dr. Goodwin

Recurring Role

Alphonso McAuley

Alphonso McAuley

Hutch

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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