“The Middle” has been a Wednesday night staple in my house for several years. The travails and triumphs of the Heck family, who, as the title implies, live both literally in the middle of America and in the disappearing middle class, are comic gold. Middle child Sue Heck, in particular, is a character that I find both adorkable and worthy of admiration. Here are a few reasons why:
- Her moral compass points due north. Sue is unfailingly honest and true. She can’t abide committing a transgression and is the first to blurt out the truth when a lie would better suit her needs. Consider the episode where she tried adding “…and so on and so forth and what have you” to the end of a sentence to omit crucial information and in the end, just couldn’t do it. Sue cannot tell a lie. She’d make a lousy politician.
- She is relentlessly optimistic. If you watched Sue ask for her special achievement ribbons for her high school graduation, your heart broke a little for her when she found out she had none, not even perfect attendance (“But I’ve been gunning for that one!”). Even so, she soldiered on. She tries out for everything, even, as her brother points out, she never gets picked. Sue may have had to make up her own version of a cheer squad and didn’t get a single invitation in sorority rush, but she still has an unshakeable faith in herself and in the goodness of the world.
- She is fiercely loyal. Sue is a faithful friend to Brad. She loves her family. She worries for them. Of all the Hecks, she is the touchstone, the one who will pull out all the stops to make Mom and Dad’s anniversary special, the one who will drive her little brother to a con and make sure he has a good time. She’ll even let it slide when Mom and Dad forget her birthday.
- She reminds us all a little of our younger selves. The mall job. Finally getting your braces off. Having a crush on a professor. Feeling overlooked (looking at you, Frankie, for forgetting your child’s birthday). Sue encapsulates a piece of just about everyone’s adolescence.
- She is genuinely excited about life. That patented Sue Heck enthusiasm is contagious. Whether she’s making an elaborate Disney schedule or trying out for a job a Dollywood, you just know Sue Heck isn’t going to walk into a room without a huge smile and a can-do attitude. Leave the brooding posers at the door, Sue is my kind of millennial.
So there you have it. This is why I love Sue Heck. If you’re like me and watch entirely too much television for your own good, who is your favorite character(s)?