Meet Market Monday: Sue Heck

Courtesy ABC

Why yes, that is another new column added to ThankYouLizLemon! On Mondays, we are going to be profiling a favorite character of ours we think you should meet! You’ll be friends, we swear.

Name: Sue Heck. (Actually, it’s Sue Sue Heck.)
Occupation: High school student
Show: The Middle (ABC)

With back to school just around the corner (or already in swing for some of you unlucky folks), I thought a great way to kick off this new feature is to introduce you to who should be your favorite high school senior. She runs cross country (because they have to let everyone on the team), she works part-time (to varying success), she has the same first and middle name (because her parents couldn’t bother to fix her birth certificate), she aspires to eat at the “B table” at school, but most of all, she’s a gosh-darned good person.

Meet Sue Heck!

Sue (Eden Sher) is the middle child of Frankie (Patricia Heaton) and Mike Heck (Neil Flynn). Unlike dim-jock older brother Axl (Charlie McDermott) or pint-sized genius younger brother Brick (Atticus Shaffer), Sue doesn’t have any claims to fame at her school. Except for maybe how clumsy she is.

Where other kids would lament over their awkwardness, Sue takes it all in stride. She is the definition of a sunny personality: there is no situation she can’t somehow spin to her own benefit. She sprains her ankle before cross country tryouts? She finishes the track on her crutches. She gets frozen out of a classmate’s sleepover? She takes advantage of spending some one-on-one time with her dad instead. Her crush doesn’t return her feelings? He’s just not ready for her. While some might pin it as delusion on her part, I choose to look at her as the epitome of positive thinking.

What I love about Sue is that for the most part, she isn’t written as a punchline. Occasionally her naivety does get her into trouble, but you know what? I love it even more. Sue knows she’s awkward, but she’s okay with it, because she knows who she is. Or, I guess, she knows she’s going to find who she is, and she’s fine with exploring that. She’s the pre-transformation nerd in every teenage romcom from the late 90s, but she has no need for a makeover. In a sea of perfectly groomed starlets playing sarcastic teenagers obsessed with boys and makeup, it’s so refreshing to see someone like Sue. Sher is undeniably pretty, but Sue Heck couldn’t really care less about her looks, most of the time. Sure, she obsesses over the perfect pair of jeans her cash-strapped family can’t afford, but she’s got more important things to worry about. (Like cross country.)

Courtesy ABC

Courtesy ABC

I love that Sue is so darn nice. She squabbles with her family, but she always sees the best in people first and foremost. It gets her into trouble, because people take advantage of her trust, but she dusts it off and never loses her sweetness. Whether it’s middling grades, poor performance at a track meet, her never-ending relationship with her braces or first crushes, she doesn’t take her setbacks out on other people. She’s a geek, and doesn’t apologize for it. If you don’t like it? Then it’s your loss.

I don’t actually watch The Middle regularly, so maybe this is cheating, but I caught it in syndication last year and I was hooked immediately by Sue’s endearing goofiness and charm. She feels so real that she actually reminds me of one of my best friends, and that’s a very good thing. When Sue finally made the cross country team, I squealed right along with her, because for once something finally went her way, and she got to belong to something, which she’d been trying for arguably her entire life. A win for Sue Heck is a win for us all.

We should all be so lucky to have a Sue Sue Heck in our lives, folks.

(Insert SUE SQUEAL here for good measure.)

The Middle starts its sixth season Sept. 24 at 8pm on ABC.


Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

One Response to Meet Market Monday: Sue Heck

  1. […] next suspect is named Alex Heck and I’m totally pretending that’s a shoutout to The Middle. (Sue Heck is one of my favourite characters of all […]

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