Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Middle Funniest Moments Ranked

The best sitcoms invoke a sense of self-reflection on the near-universal trials of life. Many of us have families who test our patience or a daily grind that borders on the agonizingly mundane. Being able to laugh at these hardships does wonders to take away their power.

"The Middle" may have flown under the radar whenever awards seasons rolled around, but it kept bringing back audiences who adored the Heck family and sympathized with their plight as an average middle-American household that often struggled to make ends meet. Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton), the matriarch, is constantly overwhelmed by her duties as a mother and responsibilities at work, often exploding in hilarious tirades that perplex the rest of the family. Her husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), is a bit old-fashioned and often keeps his true feelings concealed while fulfilling the dad role with sarcasm and dry humor. Axl (Charlie McDermott), the eldest son, tests his parents' patience with his careless teenage attitude while Sue (Eden Sher), the middle child and perpetual optimist, is chronically starved for attention from her teachers and peers. Lastly, youngest child Brick (Atticus Shaffer) marches to the beat of his own drum even if it makes him the strangest person in the room.

There is no shortage of laughs to be had watching "The Middle." While consistently down on their luck, the Hecks always find a way to shuffle through the chaos. Here's a look at some of the funniest moments the series has to offer.

13. Axl accidentally asks Weird Ashley to the prom

Always chock-full of swell ideas, Axl has a doozy in "The Prom" when he decides to text random girls asking them to be his date. When Frankie appears confounded by the fact that Axl has no clue who he asked to prom, he responds by stating he "has a system." That system is to run down a list of ideal dates and text them to see who will accept. Of course, he blames his mother for supplying him with a cheap phone with "tiny buttons," which leads to him mistakenly texting a random girl named Ashley (who's absolutely not on his list). Ashley accepts the date. As he's flipping through the yearbook with his friends attempting to identify Ashley, he realizes just how terrible his mistake actually was.

The girl he propositioned is simply known as "weird Ashley" among the student body, because she is weird and proud of it. She actually tutored Axl in the past, so he knows her quirks all too well. Frankie and Mike insist their son do the chivalrous thing and take the girl he asked to prom. Even though Axl initially refuses to go to the dance in order to spite his parents, he ends up doing the right thing and escorting Ashley — even though she's wearing a wizard robe to the big event. Despite the mishap, the couple have a great time.

12. Axl can't differentiate 'they're,' 'their,' and 'there'

After finding a long-lost 5th grade paper while cleaning his room in "Year of the Hecks," Axl reminds his parents that they once promised him a giant cookie back in elementary school if he ever brought home an A on a report card. If he would've turned in this paper, he alleges, he would've received an A in English. Of course, his parents rightfully point out the fact that he didn't turn it in, so they don't owe him anything.

As stubborn as Axl is, he takes it upon himself to barge into his 5th grade teacher's class room and present her with the paper. To Axl's initial satisfaction, she indulges him — but comments that in order to receive a retroactive A in the class, he'd have to receive nothing less than an A on that paper. She deducts points for the paper being 6 years late, alongside various grammar issues. Finally, appearing annoyed, she asks Axl whether he knows how to differentiate the words "there," "their," and "they're" by now, as he is now in high school.

He confidently answers in the affirmative, but then she provides an example sentence using the word "there" and asks him to spell it. As he begins spelling the incorrect word, the 5th grade students try to signal his mistake to him. Embarrassingly, he can't manage the task, even with the help of a room full of children.

11. The Hecks go to the wrong Disney park

Sue Heck is one of the most indefatigable teen characters on television. She never gives up even in the face of the most bizarre and intimidating challenges. When she sees the opportunity to win a new car simply by keeping her hand on it longer than anyone else, she is determined to be the victor. After Sue outlasts the competition, it's revealed in the fine print that she didn't win a car. Instead, she won a vacation to Disneyland.

In the "Orlando" episode, the Heck family endures a road trip to remember as Sue raises the blood pressure of everyone in the vehicle when she takes a turn at driving. The family also reluctantly agrees to see Brick's internet girlfriend, but not before finding out that he broke up with her during the trip. They're then subjected to an awkward meeting with a family of strangers.

Finally, however, the family manages to arrive at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. With smiles on their faces, the Heck family marches up to the ticket booth only to be informed that their tickets are actually for Disneyland in California. The episode closes on that painful but humorous note. However, the park agrees to honor the tickets in the following episode, and they are still able to enjoy their vacation — for better or for worse.

10. Axl gets locked in the library

Let's face it, procrastination is human. Most teenagers are well-accustomed to procrastinating school assignments, big or small, and Axl is a champion at it. After sitting on a history paper assignment for a month, Axl uncharacteristically takes the advice of his parents in and goes to the campus library to complete the paper without distractions on the due date — Halloween night. However, Axl may have been a bit too dialed-in to his history paper, which he based on the film "Pearl Harbor." After finishing the final line of the assignment, he proclaims his excitement only to find that he is the only one in the library. It is now after hours and the library has been locked up.

Axl makes an attempt to escape by phoning campus security. Unfortunately, the library only has a rotary phone and Axl can't figure out how it works. The only thing left to do is make conversation with a bust of Shakespeare, whom Axl calls LeBron, to pass the time. After a long while alone with his thoughts, Axl realizes he is afraid of the unknowable future. Not only is it hilarious to watch Axl being trapped in a library, he is also forced to confront himself and experience a little growth after all in the episode "Halloween V."

9. Brick and Axl crash into the Orson cow

Axl takes on the daring task of teaching Brick how to drive in "Roadkill." However, in typical Axl fashion, he doesn't really take the task too seriously, letting his younger brother take the wheel of his rust-bucket Winnebago. While out driving one night, Axl hops up from the passenger's seat to get himself a bite to eat. He instructs Brick to just keep going straight. Taking Axl at his literal word, Brick continues straight even though that means driving off the road and into the small town's beloved Orson cow statue.

Quickly, the tipped cow becomes the talk of the town. Axl and Brick begin to feel the burden of guilt, but stay quiet regarding their part in it. The town organizes a rally to raise money to help protect Orson from vandals and bring awareness to the damaged cow. Eventually, one of the troublesome Glossner boys takes credit for the incident. Axl can't let that stand or allow the lie continue any longer, so he fesses up to the crime. Axl and Brick spend the next several days performing community service as penance for Brick's literal — and hilarious — interpretation of Axl's driving instructions.

8. Crazy bunny runs lose in the Heck house

After Brick develops a new quirk that begins irritating the family in "Bunny Therapy," Frankie takes a therapist's recommendation to heart and brings home a pet bunny for Brick to engage with and grow his social skills. Quickly, however, Brick detaches from the bunny and lets his mother know that he thinks there's something wrong with it. It doesn't take long before the animal begins to creep the Heck family out with its snarls and tendency to bite.

Then one fateful day, Axl runs into the kitchen frantically telling the family the bunny is out of its cage. The entire family, with the exception of Mike, attempt to climb onto the nearest piece of furniture in fear of a potential ambush by the little creature. Mike thrashes around the kitchen as he attempts to capture the bunny amidst the family's chaos. Eventually, he corners the bunny and tosses it in the bathroom where it takes up residence for several days much to the fear of the rest of the family. It's classic, zany fun to watch the Heck family try to survive the tyrannical reign of a seemingly harmless, secretly evil pet bunny.

7. Mike tows a boat into a ditch

Kids, even ones as troublesome as Axl, eventually grow up and move out of the house. In "The Ditch," Axl is about to graduate from high school and embark on a new adventure in life — college. Before he does, Mike takes his son on a fishing trip to spend some one-on-one time with him. Along the way, he counsels Axl to stay focused while in school. As irony would dictate, the father-son duo pass a park where several bikini-clad women are playing volleyball. Distracted, Mike hits a bump in the road and corrects himself before seeing the boat he was towing pass by him in his driver side window and land in a ditch.

Axl joyfully gives his father grief for hypocritically advising him to stay focused and not get distracted. The obnoxious teenager even notes that while his own gaze is stolen by attractive women all the time, married patriarch Mike isn't supposed to be looking. Chagrined, Mike insists that he was only distracted by the large group of people, not the women specifically. He also protests that Axl's mom spends plenty of time "googling Brian Williams" anyway, so he's not the only one who falls victim to "distractions."

6. Mike gets beat up by Rita Glossner

The Glossners have been a pain in the neighborhood since the beginning. Rita Glossner (Brooke Shields) is the sole parent of a group of rowdy boys who roam the neighborhood unattended, wreaking havoc along the way. Rita's rough exterior intimidates the neighbors so much that they rarely complain to her face. In the episode "The Wind Chimes," Rita hangs the titular noise-makers on her porch, and the constant sound keeps the Heck family awake most of the night. Frankie finally opens her window and yells about the wind chimes, not knowing that they belong to Rita. In only a matter of seconds, Rita shows up on her doorstep growling and intimidating Frankie, who quickly backpedals on her rebuke.

To spite the Heck family, Rita hangs an array of new wind chimes across her porch, forcing the Hecks to try sleeping in their basement to escape the noise. Finally, Mike runs out of patience and proceeds to remove the chimes from Rita's porch himself. Rita appears and vehemently scolds Mike, then suddenly begins to assault him. Looking back on the scuffle, Mike recounts to Frankie that "she literally went up a tree and dropped on me like cat." Much to our enjoyment, the picture painted by that sentence certainly adds to the amusement of the moment.

5. The kitchen sink caves in

Disaster is always around the corner. When you least expect it, it'll strike. The Hecks are all too familiar with unexpected calamity. On a typical morning for the family, Sue is calculating her funds toward her ultimate goal of paying for college while Mike decides play a game of "fruit ball" by lobbing an apple at Axl across the kitchen. As Mike and Axl play catch, Frankie intercepts the fruit and scolds the two for potentially destructive behavior, as any mother would.

While Frankie is harping on the dangers of throwing objects in the house, she casually tosses a utensil in the sink. That utensil was the final nudge the beleaguered sink needed to break through the counter top and cave into the cupboards below in the cleverly-titled episode "The Sinkhole." Water begins spouting from the newly formed hole in the counter, and the Hecks frantically scramble to control the situation. Living in a house that certainly seems unstable at times, maybe Frankie should take her own advice.

4. Sue burns her hair off

Sue Heck and good luck never quite connect. She rarely achieves her goals, but not for lack of trying. The universe typically works against her, which makes her chronic optimism in spite of it all incredibly endearing — and a source of painful comedy as she doggedly soldiers through the adversity. On rare occasions, though, Sue is dealt a bad hand even she can't see the bright side of. And when she cracks, the whole family knows about it.

In "Not Your Brother's Drop Off," Sue prepares to head off to college. Excited for the new chapter, she decides to try something new and curl her hair. After some fun rehearsals in the bathroom mirror of meeting new friends at college, she removes the curling iron only to find that it took her hair with it. Distraught, she unleashes her frustration that Frankie bought a cheaper curling iron from a garage sale. Of course, Frankie attempts to make it all better as she fixes Sue's hair, giving her a trim to match what she lost. It isn't quite the start to the first year of college Sue had envisioned, and it's a perfect comedic example of how frustrating the Heck's working-class life can be — and how endearing and relatable they are as they do their best to navigate it together.

3. The Hecks battle the Glossners

After Sue's car goes missing, it becomes painfully obvious who the culprit is. The family's suspicions are confirmed when Frankie has a run-in with Rita Glossner at the grocery store and she's driving Sue's car. Claiming it's a gift from her generous sons, she stubbornly drives off in the stolen vehicle. After the sheriff refuses to do anything about the car because he's only four days away from retirement, Mike rallies the family and convinces them that they need to stand up to the Glossners once and for all. Prepared for a fight, they approach the Glossner home. Rita, however, is also prepared and calls out to her sons to ambush the family.

After the Hecks wage war against the Glossners and lose in pathetic fashion, the rest of the neighborhood backs up the reeling family in a final stand. After much chaos, confusion, and hilarity in the neighborhood war, the Hecks at last retrieve the lost vehicle in "The Final Battle."

2. Frankie loses her pants on a treadmill

Frankie teaches us all an uncommon but nonetheless valuable lesson in "True Grit": Never go shopping for underwear without your reading glasses. When Frankie dons her new unmentionables, Mike points out that she has a message plastered on her butt. Upon further examination, she sees that she accidentally purchased underwear that says "I'd hit that" on the rear. After laughing at herself for the mistake she made while picking them up on sale, she resolves to return them. However, the clerk at the clothing store injures Frankie's pride when she implies that the panties are too young for her.

To spite the clerk, Frankie keeps the underwear and even purchases more. She then ups the ante by defiantly heading to the gym in her new undergarments. As she's running on the treadmill, the exercise equipment gets the better of her: She trips and is pulled off, but not before losing her pants to the machine. "I'd hit that" is now widely displayed for all in the gym to see.

1. Frankie eats Axl's toenails on accident

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing went right, it seemed as if the whole world were against you, and your only saving grace was to come home from work, sit down on the couch, and watch "Wheel of Fortune"? That's the exact position Frankie finds herself in during the episode "Major Changes." However, instead of being relieved, her misfortune is only compounded when she finds a near-empty chip bag on the couch and begins to savor the remaining crumbs while grumbling that her children ate the rest. Sue informs the exhausted matriarch that she's actually eating Axl's toenails. That's right. Leave it to the slouchy teenage boy to form a disgusting habit like clipping his own toenails into empty chip bags.

As you can imagine, Frankie nearly crumbled at the horrifying revelation. She quickly ran to the kitchen to wash out her mouth and berate her son for a behavior that he perceives as wholly innocent. As is often the case, it's difficult for the teenage Axl to think about much else beyond his own comforts and needs. Frankie storms out of the house, leaving the family to wonder if she'll ever return (and what she'll do if and when she does). The toenails were hilarious the straw that broke the camel's back, and upon her exit she simply threatens that major changes will be enacted in the house.