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Christmas (The Middle)

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"Christmas" is the first Christmas-themed episode of the ABC sitcom The Middle, aired in the show's first season.

Plot

While cranking out the annual Heck family Christmas newsletter, Frankie brings everyone up to speed on Mike’s promotion at the quarry, her new job selling cars, Axl’s new job bussing tables and Sue’s pseudo-boyfriend, Brad. As for Brick, he’s bummed about the fleeting notion of Christmas. The boy’s deep.

When the director of the Christmas choir announces that Melanie Howard has throat polyps, Frankie is ecstatic. It’s not that she wishes abnormal mucus membrane growths upon anyone; it’s just that Melanie has hogged all of the solos for the past 15 years. But now Frankie has a shot at taking center stage at midnight mass. If only she didn’t have to deal with the hassles of the holidays.

Mike says he’ll handle things this year. He’ll just make a list. Frankie is a little put-off by how nonchalant he is about taking on Christmas. It’s hard work. But Mike seems to be up to the challenge. He goes shopping at the mall, puts up the tree and makes a snowman out on the lawn. Frankie is upset that he’s doing all the fun stuff without her. So she insists on being the one to take Brick to see Santa.

Brick’s holiday blues even bring down Santa. Frankie gives Mike one more thing for his “to do” list: Fix Brick. That won’t be easy. The little guy’s depression stems from a Santa Pez dispenser he got a few years back. It was great for awhile, but then it was gone. When Brick questions his own mortality, Mike says, “That’s why we have books and candy and water parks and TV. It’s all just a big old distraction from death.” Makes sense.

Brick takes the news in stride, but then Mike adds a tidbit that totally traumatizes his young son. He says that if Brick doesn’t stop whispering to himself, Santa won’t bring him any presents. So now he isn’t talking at all. Frankie is upset because Mike rushed through the Brick situation just so he could check it off his list. Mike takes offense and almost admits Christmas is hard. We said almost.

With Melanie Howard still on the disabled list, Frankie scores the solo gig at midnight mass. She wants the family to get to the church at 11 so the “I only go at Christmas and Easter crowd” doesn’t snag all the good seats. What happens next reminds us of a classic holiday poem. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Heck house not a creature was stirring because Mike and the kids fell asleep on the couch.

A disappointed Frankie launches into song as her family shows up late and in pajamas. Everyone screams at each other on the car ride home until Brick shouts, “Everybody stop yelling!” Unfortunately, he also whispers the word “yelling.” Brick freaks out because now Santa won’t be bringing him any presents.

The bickering continues until Mike hits an ice patch and the car goes into a spin. Once Mike regains control of the car, the family resumes yelling. Then he hits another ice patch. He regains control once more, but this time it looks like the screaming is over. Everyone is way too freaked out.

Mike finally admits that Christmas is hard. That’s all Frankie ever wanted to hear. Brick finds his missing Santa Pez dispenser. It slid out from under the seat the second time they almost died. It’s a Christmas miracle! Frankie says via voiceover, “So almost dying twice had made the rest of us start thinking about our own existence. But for Brick, it made him stop.” That plastic Santa must be popping out some pretty tasty two-year-old Pez pellets.

As Christmas morning rolls around, Brick is happy but Sue is not. She went out to give her overly-effeminate boyfriend Brad his present and caught him hiding in the bushes with a boy. You can just guess what they were doing. That’s right. They were smoking. So that’s why Brad would never kiss Sue under the mistletoe! He didn’t want her to know he was a smoker. At least, that’s what Sue believes. Yes, it’s another Christmas miracle.

See also

Warner Bros.
Movies
Warner Bros. Pictures Christmas in ConnecticutGremlinsNational Lampoon's Christmas VacationJack FrostNational Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island AdventureThe Year Without a Santa ClausFred ClausA Christmas Story 2
New Line Cinema ElfThe Nativity StoryFour ChristmasesA Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
Live-action television episodes
Friends and Joey "The One With Phoebe's Dad" • "The One Where Rachel Quits" • "The One With the Girl from Poughkeepsie" • "The One With the Inappropriate Sister" • "The One With the Routine" • "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" • "The One With the Creepy Holiday Card" • "The One With Christmas in Tulsa" • "Joey and the Plot Twist" • "Joey and the Christmas Party"
DC Comics "Season's Greedings" • "Home is Where the Hurt Is" • "Twas the Night Before Mxymas" • "Lexmas" • "Year's End"
Other shows "A Semi-Merry Christmas" • "Mel, the Magi" • "Mel's Christmas Carol" • "'Tis the Season to Be Jealous" • "A Christmas Story" (Growing Pains) • "A Christmas Story" (Just the Ten of Us) • "Santa on the Lam" • "Miracle on Elm Street" • "The Christmas Show" • "Fa La La La Laagghh!" • "The Man Who Canceled Christmas" • "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" • "Deck the Malls" • "Christmas Day-Ja Vu" • "A Country Christmas" • "How the Finch Stole Christmas" • "Meet the Cuban Parents" • "Christmas Punch" • "A Clear and Presentless Danger" • "George Is Being Elfish and Christ-Misses His Family" • "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis" • "Christmas" (The Middle) • "It's Beginning to Stink a Lot Like Christmas" • "The Maternal Congruence" • "Jolly Red Elf" • "The World Ain't Over 'Till It's Over" • "The Santa Simulation" • "Give Santa a Tail-Hole"
Animated productions
Looney Tunes and related shows The Shanty Where Santy Claus LivesBedtime for SnifflesGift WrappedBugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales • "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special" • "'Twas the Day Before Christmas" • "Jingle Boo" • "The Great Wakkorotti: The Holiday Concert" • "A Christmas Plotz" • "Little Drummer Warners" • "No Time for Christmas" • "The Twelve Days of Christmas" • "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" • "It Happened One Night Before Christmas" • "In Arms Way" • "Noel" • "The Christmas Tree" • "The Banks of the Delaware River" • "Feather Christmas" • "Yule Be Sorry" • "Christmas in July" • Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas • "A Christmas Carol"
DC Comics "Christmas With the Joker" • "Holiday Knights" • "Frozen Out" • "Comfort and Joy" • "Storybook Holiday" • "Invasion of the Secret Santas!" • "Second Christmas" • "The True Meaning of Christmas"
Other cartoons "Yuletide and Redtide" • A Scooby-Doo! Christmas • "The Match Before Xmas" • The Polar Express • "Ho Ho Horrors" • Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker TaleA Miser Brothers' Christmas • "Da Grinchy Code / Duck" • "FROST / Undercover Claus" • Scooby-Doo! Haunted Holidays • "Fantastic Four Christmases / Red and White Collar" • "The Plight Before Christmas" • Tom and Jerry: Santa's Little HelpersElf: Buddy's Musical Christmas • "Scary Christmas"
Albums
Have Yourself a Looney Tunes ChristmasA Hip-Hopera ChristmasMerry Christmas: Animaniacs & Looney TunesThe Looney Tunes Kwazy ChristmasA Looney Tunes Sing-A-Long Christmas

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