Monday, November 21, 2011

The Middle: The Problem with No-Cut Activities

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

The problem with no-cut activities is that you can indeed be cut. Back in middle school, we needed some more people on the swimming/diving team. So, one girl in particular decided that it would be a great idea to do that... and she got several of her friends to join in on the idea. The idea was that everyone would "make the team" because they needed so many more people, there would be no need to cut anyone. Long story short, after about three weeks, the ambitious girl was cut, and everyone else (whom she brought to the team) remained. It was sad, but this was so long ago that it doesn't matter anymore. But, at the time, it mattered. It's sad to think about how many people join something because there's no threat of being cut out, yet something goes wrong somewhere and they end up losing their opportunity anyway. In this episode of The Middle, Sue joins a community play at Frankie's insistence... since everyone gets cast. Well, Sue doesn't have the best stage presence and ends up not getting to participate that way. She does find a niche in the backstage technical area, so maybe that will be a shining moment for her in the future as well, but we'll see! Brick's storyline was interesting, but Axl's was fairly useless.

The Middle "The Play" (S03E08): Sue didn't make the lacrosse team and plans to try out for drill team next. [for some reason I thought she already didn't make drill team...?] But, Frankie says that everyone gets into a community production of The Wizard of Oz, so Sue goes for that, with the idea that she'll play a munchkin. [really? teenagers as munchkins? why not the elementary schoolers? At least that's how it was done in my hometown, LoL!] Frankie goes to pick up Sue from rehearsal and the director convinces Frankie to join the play as an Ozzian. [well, she is a bit of a ham...] She's having a great time, right up until the director tells her that Sue is being let go from the production, mainly because of her "crazy eyes." [awwww.] Frankie is even asked to be the one who breaks the news to poor Sue. [oh goodness!] Sue is offended that Frankie is in the play and she's not. Sue keeps asking Frankie to quit, but Frankie puts it off. Mike thinks that there's no conflict - Sue's not a little kid anymore. Frankie tries to use a personal anecdote to help support staying in the play, but Sue takes it the wrong way. [this was both clever and expected, I felt.] So, Frankie just starts making up lies about going places at night when she's really headed to rehearsals. Axl realizes what's going on with Frankie, and tells Sue that Frankie is still in the play.
Sue confronts Frankie when she gets home, and Frankie apologizes, says she's weak, and that she felt special not having to clean up after kids. Sue says that she didn't realize how important it was for Frankie, and Frankie says that she will find Sue a part in the play... Sue ends up running lighting cables and cues, though there was almost a small problem when some cables wouldn't reach correctly.

Brick has a "special friends" day at school and wants to invite a grandparent to participate. [was I seriously the only one who never had these things? I know my sister did and remember seeing it on other shows...] Frankie won't set it up for him, so Brick has to do it himself. [I really laughed at Frankie's comment regarding how some mothers would set that up for their kids, but she's not one of them.] Brick goes to Mike's father's house and runs into Uncle Rusty instead, so invites him to the school function. But, Uncle Rusty stands up Brick's class, which costs Brick some extra credit points, which he could definitely use. Mike goes to confront Rusty about skipping out on Brick's school thing, and Rusty tries to make it up by showing up at the school randomly. Rusty tells the kids about DUI testing. [really??] The lunch bell rings and Rusty takes Brick off-campus for lunch. [the teacher doesn't even seem to notice...] Rusty takes Brick bowling, lets him try beer, and even teaches him to drive... all while forgetting Brick's name. Mike is outside when Brick and Rusty pull up... Brick still driving. [what???!? Out in a field is one thing (which I still disapprove of), but in a neighborhood??!?] Mike confronts Rusty, saying that you can't make up for missing something by doing illegal things. [true. and we've seen it before.]

Axl drove blindfolded, bragged to Mike, and promptly got grounded, both from going out and from video games. [um, duh. and, Axl: "What would you do if one of your friends dared you to drive blindfolded?" Mike: "Get smarter friends?" hahahahahaha] Axl creates his own games with flipping pennies around the house.
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