Previewing Christmas with the Hecks with THE MIDDLE’s Eden Sher

ATTICUS SHAFFER, CHARLIE MCDERMOTT, PATRICIA HEATON, NEIL FLYNN, EDEN SHEROn an all new Christmas episode of THE MIDDLE (airing Wednesday at 8/7c), Frankie wants the family to spend as much time together as possible, and Axl tries to avoid that at all costs.  Meanwhile, Brick starts running some fundraising schemes after $97 worth of wrapping paper goes unsold, Mike shares with Axl the perfection that is Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle,” and Sue, poor Sue, is allergic to Christmas.  I spent some time chatting with Sue Sue Heck (Eden Sher) about what’s coming up tonight for the family and for her character into the New Year!

What’s coming up for Sue in this episode – I know she spends a lot of the episode behind a plastic wall?
Well!  [laughs] I had a fun week, because all of my scenes took place in one room.  I didn’t have to move much.  For some of them, I didn’t even have to wear my braces because I was barely visible!  Sue is terribly allergic to the Christmas tree, which is her favorite part of Christmas, so she has to be a temporary bubble girl.  She makes a little home for herself.  It was kind of funny, obviously, in the show, it is assumed that you can see through.  The actual real life plastic that was used was almost completely opaque. [laughs] It was so hard to act with people in the scene, and I couldn’t see.

NEIL FLYNN, CHARLIE MCDERMOTT, EDEN SHER, PATRICIA HEATONI love that – you have the scenes in the episode with Sue saying “is someone there, who just walked by.”
It was super authentic!

I love the episode, aside from some cheerleaders stopping by, it was a fun look at how the 5 of you, the Hecks celebrated and got through Christmas together.  What’s going on for everyone else in this episode?
Honestly, it’s hard for me to remember what the episode is about when I finish filming it on Friday, what I’ve shot that week, so that is a hard question to answer [laughs].  Frankie wants everyone to be a family, and Axl is home for Christmas, and they make an arrangement about what events are mandatory and what he doesn’t have to go to, and of course, they can’t agree! [laughs]

I love the dynamic this season of Axl being away, he’s there so much, but Frankie always makes such a big stink about him coming home.
I kind of can’t believe how seamlessly they have transitioned Axl, the writers and producers, have transitioned Axl into college. It makes so much sense.  The whole thing seems natural, and real.  And he’s still there.  It seems like, oh yeah, he’s a college, but him being there all the time seems very true.

You get to see Sue and Brick take the lead at home, but also still have to deal with Axl.
Oh yeah!

ATTICUS SHAFFER, PATRICIA HEATONTo be where you are, past 100 episodes, you still seem to be having so much fun with it.
Yeah it is [laughs].  I have to say – it is one of those things.  I cry every day because I am so grateful.  It’s been 5 years and I still love it.

You still have those braces though!  Any word on when Sue will be rid of them?
You know what’s funny – every year prior to this, when people asked me about the braces, even maybe interviews earlier this year, it was one of those things where it was like “I love my job, I really do, but god those braces are awful.”  I don’t know what changed, it was around the 100th episode where still it’s not like “I need my braces, please I want to wear them when I’m not filming.”  It’s not quite to that level, but now I don’t even care!  I sound like a cheeseball, like a literal gruyere cheeseball when I talk about how much I love work, but I just don’t even care that I have to wear the braces anymore.  I love my time there, I accept the braces.  And when they come off, they come off, and if they don’t, Sue will have the most perfect teeth in this fictional world! [laughs]

Ooh!!  We shall see!  There are some romance things come up!

I love how Sue gets all of the romance stories!
I love it, exactly!  I realized in these last few episodes where I was kissing boys, which you know, she’s allowed to do, but I think Sue has kissed more boys on the show than Axl has kissed girls.  I think Axl talks about kissing more girls, but Sue has had the actual experience.

Is there hope for Sue and Darren, or will we meet a new guy?
Oh wouldn’t you like to know! [laughs]

It has to be hard to want to talk about the show, but still keep it in, because you don’t want to give away the good stuff!
Yeah, it’s crazy – we don’t have any like crazy twist driven BREAKING BAD type show, but there are still those things that I don’t want to give away because I want people to see them, and be excited!

Is there something you haven’t gotten to do yet with Sue that you’d love to see explored?
Maybe a little more Sue in leadership mode, going a little crazy with power. She’s never had enough power to really go crazy.  I would love to see Sue with a romantic side, but they did that!  She’s doing it!  That would be nice, crazy with power!

For more info on THE MIDDLE, head to and don’t miss tonight’s all new Christmas episode at 8/7c!