The Middle wraps its fifth season tonight (ABC, 8/7c) with a trip to the happiest place on Earth, but as Atticus Shaffer tells TVLine, the trip won’t be smooth sailing for at least one member of the Heck family.
Below, Shaffer previews the two-part season finale, which introduces a new love interest for Brick and a serious mission in Disney World.
TVLINE | I love the way Brick is treated on The Middle, how his differences are celebrated, rather than squashed.
I’m of the belief that everyone is supposed to be different. Unfortunately, there are often times when any kind of uniqueness is snuffed out. And that’s what I love about Brick; he follows the beat of his own drummer. He doesn’t care about what’s popular. And I feel like the rest of the Heck family follows suit. Everyone has their own personality.
TVLINE | If you weren’t a Heck, which TV family — past or present — could you see yourself in?
It would be really weird and random, but I’d have to say Family Matters.
TVLINE | Any present families?
I love doing voiceovers and I love randomness … so even though this is very different, I feel like I’d be a great character on The Simpsons. Just get in there and be insane.
TVLINE | Tell me about the upcoming season finale. I hear you take a trip to a certain magic kingdom?
Yes, the Hecks are going to Disney World! We actually got to shoot in Disney World for a week, and man, that was crazy. The director was like, “OK, we’re going to do something called ‘guerilla shooting.’ We’re going to hide in the bushes, and when an area starts to clear out, we’ll come out and get the shot, then hide in the bushes again.” And that’s pretty much what we did.
TVLINE | I imagine Brick could get himself into some trouble in Disney World.
Oh, absolutely. Brick is just being Brick. His storyline involves him wanting to get a set of Mickey Ears, then struggling to hold onto it throughout the trip. It fits so perfectly into the mold of who Brick is.
TVLINE | And I understand the first part of the hour might involve a new lady friend for Brick?
Yes, the storyline is him interacting with this girl online. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s a milestone for Brick. It’s not like the girls you’ve seen him with before, who were either using him for Goldfish crackers, or just awkward. It’s his first real girlfriend, and it’s a long-distance relationship. She’s in North Carolina.
TVLINE | Should we be worried that Brick is getting catfished?
[Laughs] There is a worry of that, like always.
TVLINE | Does the finale feel conclusive? I know you haven’t been renewed for a sixth season, but it’s looking good. [Editor's note: This interview was conducted prior to The Middle's renewal.]
That’s what they’re saying. And I do hope we get picked up, especially after this season finale. You’ll be wondering what happens next.
TVLINE | That sounds vaguely cliffhanger-y.
No, and thank goodness for that. I watch The Walking Dead and I’m always like, “Please don’t let there be a cliffhanger.”
TVLINE | For the record, in the event of a zombie invasion, I’d want Brick in my corner.
That’s what I’m talking about.
TVLINE | Do you have any general hopes for Brick as you move into the next season?
For however much time we have left, I’d really like to see Brick growing up. I’m three years older than Brick, so everything he’s going through is stuff I’ve already been through. To be able to have Brick grow up, and show that he stays true to who he is, is something I’d love to see.