Monday, September 1, 2008


Dear Readers,
I need to apologize to you. I've done you, and my pal Javier Grillo-Marxuach, a great disservice. You see this summer through a series of events (studying for the bar, and mainly my Tivo and ABC Family hating each other) I missed out on a few episodes of a wonderful show, which I am only now getting caught up on. Because I'm only just now getting caught up on the show I've not been able to tell you all about it. What makes this a bigger shame is that it's simply The Best New Show of the Summer!

The show I'm talking about is ABC Family's The Middleman. The Middleman, based on three excellent comic mini-series by Javier and artist Les McClaine, follows the misadventures of Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales), an artist and temp worker, who gets hired to be the sidekick of The Middleman (Matt Keesler), a nice, well mannered, hero with no name who works for a mysterious organization to "Fight Evil, So You Don't Have To." Wendy is a slacker artist who longs to find out what happened to her dad, who disappeared when she was 14. She lives in an illegal sublet with her best friend, and fellow artist, Lacey (who also happens to protest anything she possibly can).

The Middleman himself is a 50s throwback, a nice genial man, who despises foul language (instead he uses phrases like 'Sweet Molly Brown!'), won't use violence unless he has too, and treats women with respect, imagine if Leave It To Beaver had a spy, then you've got The Middleman. Add in the Middleman's helper Ida, a robot who could watch shapeshift but is now stuck in the form of a middle age crotchety woman played with hutspa by Mary Pat Gleason, and you've got one crazy, and fun organization that anyone would want to work for. (Ida is clearly an homage to The Doctor's Tardis, stuck in the form of a 1950s police box, from Doctor Who)

Each week The Middleman and Wendy must face off against the most crazy villains you've ever seen, from Dracula the Ventriloquist dummy to a haunted tuba from the titanic to an evil boy band (aren't they all) made up of intergalactic dictators. But underlying this battle against evil are several other story arcs, one main one being the aforementioned disappearance of Wendy's father.

Another great part about this show is Wendy's relationship with her friends. These friends include Lacey, Noser (the wonderfully strange guy who hangs out in the hall and speaks in song lyrics), and Tyler, an amazing guy who was himself up for Wendy's job as Middleman in Training. While the strange adventures Wendy goes on with the Middleman are a blast, her daily life with her friends is almost just as fun. We see the gang through an Art Crawl (ART CRAWL!) through their apartment, which includes paintings, sculptures, performance art, and of course Noser's version of Stump the Band, which doesn't actually include Noser playing the song, but simple saying if he knows it or not.

But possible the best part of the show is how cram packed it is with pop culture references, the only show I can think of that could possible keep up is Gilmore Girls. And I know you're thinking "what kind of pop culture references?" Well the 2nd episode was jam packed with references to Back to the Future, from a bomb being at "the twin pines mall" to using the fake names "Bufford Tannen" and "Clara Clayton." Other episodes have been packed with references more fitting for the episode, such as a recent episodes about Ghost which included a slew of Ghostbusters references. In fact to keep up with all the references Javier has gladly posted a reference to all the gags from several episodes over at The Middleblog.

So again I'm sorry for not letting you know of this wonderful show sooner, but don't fret, you can still see the show. For starters you can watch the Season Finale tonight at 10/9c on ABC Family, and don't worry most episodes are stand alone so you can probably get by with what you've read here. You can also catch some episodes over at the Official Site. And if that's not enough you can download the entire season on iTunes. (You should at least check out episode 10, "the vampiric puppet lamentation," which is by far the best episode of the series thus far)

It's well worth your time to at least check out the episode tomorrow night, plus it could use all the ratings as it can get, while it's loved by the critics it's ratings aren't the greatest. Also if you really want to experience The Middleman you can swing over to Amazon or any other number of online stores and pick up The Collected Series Indispensability which contains all three volumes of the comic.

Also to Javi I'm very sorry it's taken this long to write about your amazing show, hopefully my 3 readers can help make the difference in ratings!

The Middleman & Creators (Les McClaine, Matt Keeslar, & Javier Grillo-Marxuach)

2 comments:

BOBBAAAY said...

cant make any difference to the ratings
but i do get the torrents !!

jana said...

We've been watching the MiddleMan all summer! It's so much fun to watch a show with Zac and Jake that we all find funny and fun. They don't always get some of the jokes, thankfully.

Post a Comment