Eden Sher says “We don’t care who you are, where you’ve been, come to THE MIDDLE!”

Whoopi Goldberg is showing up in ABC Primetime tonight – no, they’re not doing a special evening episode of THE VIEW.  She’s lending her humor and wisdom to one of the best shows on TV, THE MIDDLE, as a guidance counselor who helps Sue in her time of need.    Eden Sher, Sue’s portrayer, called working with Whoopi “life-changing” and went on to describe how she came to the show –

“Well, I had done her show, and she’d told me she loved the show, but I just assumed she was saying that.  Then she told Patty [Heaton], like a year later, I want to be on the show, I want to play Sue’s guidance counselor, and I want to have braces,” Sher said.  I mentioned to Eden that not many people will request braces, and she went on to add, “I know, but she is so frickin cool, and she did!”

Eden and I then delved into what’s coming for the rest of the season in an interview about THE MIDDLE in general, why we love Sue’s optimism and what she hopes to see in the future for her character.

What can you talk about for this episode, and what sets it aside for Sue Heck, and why it’s such a good one for you?
Oh she sort, it’s almost like, the “it gets better” mentality, personified.  Sue never really expected her life to go badly, but she is really having, like a valley, in terms of her peaks and valleys, on her emotional scale, and she’s having a rough time.  This guidance counselor is just so inspiring to her.  It showed real growth for [Sue].  She came to terms with “there are other people like me” and it turns out okay, look at this awesome guidance counselor.  Of course, no one else in the world felt that way about that guidance counselor, no one knew who she was.  But for Sue, it was revelatory.

Does this revelation and how this episode ends, does it push Sue in a different direction towards the end of the year?
A little bit, yeah.  Absolutely!  Her optimism can get much more extreme, but I think it solidifies it.  Her high school year was not that great, and she’s realizing, wait, it is the end of the year, and it hasn’t actually gone that well.  This solidifies her path in a positive direction, as opposed to the dreary, hateful of high school direction.

Sue is so optimistic – maybe a character without her outlook on life would have noticed that things weren’t going all that well.  She has that constant “it gets better.”  It’s probably a fun character to play, not focusing on the “sad,” so to speak, but it’s nice to have something different, here, too.
Totally!  There’s not a lot of genuine fear or concern to play with Sue, and this explores that side of her a bit.  I really liked it.  It was so nice.  It was interesting, because when I read the script, I was like, I don’t have a lot of hard punchlines, I don’t have any hard jokes in my dialogue, but it’s been one of my favorite episodes to act, because I felt like the scenes were so good!

I love the reaction shots we get from you as Sue – we don’t need a hard punchline, because that provides the light, the humor, sometimes.
[laughs]  I’m glad, I love it too!

Have talks between the writers and cast happened about what comes up for next season?   Any word on what happens in Sue’s life next year?
Ooh, I have no idea!  I don’t know!

What would you love to see for her?
I would love to see her get another boyfriend.  A different type of boyfriend.  I don’t know, something a little bit, I want to say wacky, but sometimes I hate that word! [laughs]  I think she should make a few new friends, and like, join a different kind of group, and have her attitude challenged by these people, and have to defend it, and be like, “no, you are all wrong.  Being happy is awesome!”

We’ve talked about this before, but I can’t help but say again how Axl is the one talking up a big game with the ladies, and it’s Sue with the cavalcade of boyfriends!
Uh, yeah, because she’s AWESOME!  Who wouldn’t want to date Sue?

I know we have a prom episode coming up – how does prom go for Sue?
She doesn’t have a major storyline, but it is, I think, hilarious.  One of Axl’s friends asks her to prom, and Axl’s friends’ lines about Sue are supreme.  They are like, perfect!

What would you say to people sets you apart from other shows, and why they should tune in?
I think that we’re just on a really fundamental level, relatable.  And we’re not an aspirational show.  We’re not, like, I love SEX AND THE CITY, but it takes place in a fantasy world, and is not real on like, any level.  And I love that, but we’re a show that personifies what most people in the country, and maybe not the world, but a lot of the world, are going through.  They’re really fundamental problems that are awesome to make fun of, because everyone can laugh at them.  Like, “oh yeah, I do have that problem with my mother,” and “oh yeah, I do have that problem with my brother.”

I’ve found myself saying both on more than one occasion when watching the show!
Yeah [laughs]!  And I think, there’s no, we don’t have a lot of pretense on the show, so it’s super easy to just jump right in.  It’s like, “we don’t care who you are, where you’ve been, come to THE MIDDLE!”

THE MIDDLE airs Wednesdays at 8/7c leading off an all new night of comedy on ABC.  For more information about the show, head over to their site at ABC for videos, photos, episode guides, and more!