Meet Sue Heck.
There’s something very special about this character from the utterly underrated show The Middle. To the world that doesn’t observe, she’s more invisible than Drax was in Infinity War. Sue is the slice of lettuce in the sandwich of this family. She’s rather plain and not everybody acknowledges her presence, but she brings in the extra crunch that makes the show a lot lovelier than it would’ve been without her.
One brother’s athletic and the other’s exceptionally smart … and then we have Sue. Her super power is in being ordinary – in all ways superficial, because when you look deeper, you’ll be in awe of what you find. She’s a missing gem hidden in plain sight. Ever wish you didn’t let the kid inside you fade and die? You’ll see that she hasn’t. She thrives on that curiosity and energy.
She’s clumsy and awkward in a very authentic sense – I truly relate to her here. ‘Sue-pid’, as her brother Axl calls her, is optimistic beyond reason – nothing can stop her from trying. This almost always results in a series of painfully awkward and hilarious situations, none of which breaks her spirit but all of which bring in a lot of comedy content for the show.
She’s friendly, enthusiastic, kind, caring and responsible. Her exceptionally bad luck keeps coming in the way of everything she tries to do, but it doesn’t stop her from doing it anyway. She is empathetic and caring, but doesn’t really pick up social cues all that well.
In S4E14, she’s required to make a hypothesis and prove it. Her hypothesis is that smiling is contagious, and it seems fairly easy to prove something like that, doesn’t it? But it isn’t for her. She’s mocked by her professor and if her peers saw her as a weirdo before, this experiment certainly doesn’t help her case.
She is accustomed to failure, and not in the sense that would make her resign to her fate – she only fights harder. She can’t get even one person to smile back at her but hands in her paper with a heart-warming monologue, which says she will continue her research “one smile at a time”. Rejecting every chance to just give up and accept being average, she soldiers on, with a spring in her step.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.