‘The Middle’: Catch up before Season 4 premiere

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The meandering pace of "The Middle" mimics ordinary life, and the show carries simple themes from season to season. Check out these highlights and catch up on Season 3 before the one-hour Season 4 premiere on Sept. 26.

Frankie

Frankie finally got a new dishwasher. Aunt Ginny passed away, leaving Aunt Edie and Doris, the diaper-wearing dog, in need of supervision. Brick's senior citizen pal accepted the job. Frankie survived hosting Rusty's wedding, although her last-minute makeover efforts left the house with tattered wallpaper.

Mike

The stoic dad showed a softer side in Season 3. Fans learn that he's secretly cared for a stray cat, Limestone, for the past seven years. His quiet relationships with his dad and brother improved, and he bonded with Brick.

Sue

Sue showed more assertiveness and managed to achieve some huge high school milestones during her freshman year. She started her own pep squad and had her first real boyfriend. She had to continue wearing braces because the orthodontist overcorrected her original problem. Axl's friend Darrin took her to the prom.

Brick

Brick struggled with the Presidential Fitness Challenge. He developed a crush on the new girl in his social skills group. The annual spelling bee was a disaster when he misspelled the first word.

Axl

The eldest Heck child proved he could impress a college recruiter with his hidden personality and intelligence. He consoled Sue after her break up and secretly helped her at school. Weird Ashley accompanied him to the prom for a second year.

Season 4 predictions

Neglected home repairs test Frankie's patience, and she will likely find a foe to replace the broken dishwasher. (Remember the broken dryer from Season 1?) Humiliation at the spelling bee and prom are annual traditions for Brick and Axl. Are they cursed?

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