Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton) is a superhero. Well, no, not an actual superhero - not unless you count getting her kids out the door for school every morning as a superfeat. Middle-aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country, this harried wife and working mother of three uses her wry wit and sense of humor to try to get her family through each day intact. Frankie has a job selling cars at the town's only surviving car dealer; her husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), is a manager at the local quarry.

In between juggling shifts and picking up fast food dinners eaten in front of the TV, Frankie and Mike raise their kids with love and solid Midwestern practicality. Axl (Charlie McDermott) is the oldest, a teenage jock who eats the family out of house and home and walks around in his underwear. Then there's Sue (Eden Sher), their extraordinarily ordinary pre-teen daughter who fails at everything she tries with great gusto. Brick (Atticus Shaffer), the youngest son, is an odd kid whose best friend is his backpack. Together, they're putting "The Middle" on the map.