Frances "Frankie" Heck (née Spence) (Born November 14, 1966) is the wife of Mike Heck and mother of Axl, Sue, and Brick Heck. She was formerly a car salesperson at Ehlert Motors, but now works as a dental hygienist. She serves as the central character of The Middle, providing voice-over narration for nearly every episode.
Throughout the series, Frankie is often seen as overly stressed, mainly as a result of her family combined with her less-than-desirable household conditions. Although her parenting style strongly juxtaposes that of Nancy Donahue's, Frankie is shown to be a caring and affectionate mother, despite her forgetfulness at times.
Frankie Heck portrays a neurotic housewife struggling in a suburban town in Indiana with a mortgage, bills, poverty, and an uncooperative family. As a mother, Frankie was seen as lazy and forgetful and juggling Axl's moodiness, Sue's awkwardness, and Brick's oddities left her exhausted on more than several occasions. Both Mike and Frankie were rarely involved in their children's lives due to their jobs and other modern worries prioritized before getting involved, and as such, TV practically raised the three of them, causing more dysfunctions into their teen years. Although Frankie is mostly content with the way her family behaves, she does wish her children were more like the Donahues but generally is too lazy and busy to put in the time, effort, or care to motivate them. She generally wishes her children to get far in life and mostly get out of her house but is not above helicopter parenting or making a bad situation worse when she accidentally comes off as a bad parent in the public view.
In spite of her laziness, Frankie has natural and always-right maternal instincts which she treats with her family and as displayed during her job at Ehlert Motors whilst selling a car, in her daily life. However, she got let go from that job in The Second Act, and now works as a dentist's assistant.
Mike and Frankie bicker over lots of things because Frankie is stressed and Mike doesn't really care. They consider themselves laid back parents and Frankie sometimes blurts out that they're lazy parents. Mike and Frankie bicker about a lot of things involving their children. According to Mike, Frankie isn't young and shiny looking anymore. Frankie tries to get Mike involved in some things like having a social gathering in the backyard for both Mike and Brick. Frankie invited the neighbor over to hang out with Mike and when Mike found out he got angry. He also didn't like the fact that she's telling new neighbor Don that he is shy. He then found out Frankie was telling him personal stories about his brother and dad. Mike considered Frankie chatty in his pro and con chart "Marry Frankie." When Frankie finds the chart she freaks out because the chart had more negatives than positives and one of the positives didn't say what she was great at, leaving that sentence unfinished. Frankie made a similar one for Mike having an incomplete one which led into an argument. Mike did surprise her with a special anniversary gift even when they agreed not to get each other anything.Years ago on their honeymoon, Mike took Frankie camping which was terrible according to Frankie. During Valentines Day, Mike would go get a crappy gift for her.
Her oldest son, Axl Heck is lazy and stupid which causes Frankie to stress about getting Axl into college and studying for his Pre-SAT's. Axl isn't open with Frankie and doesn't want to interact much with his parents which hurts Frankie. Axl is Frankie's oldest son and Frankie feels like she is flying blind here. Frankie likes it when Axl hugs her. Frankie was honored to walk down the row with Axl for the homecoming game however Sue's first cross country meet was on the same day and Sue wanted her to support her. Mike made a way for Frankie to be at both places which was great. Mike went to the homecoming game while Sue's meet took forever.
Everybody but Sue crossed the finish line, and Frankie drove up to drive her to the finish line because she admitted that she would rather be at Axl's game than Sue's meet. Frankie drove Sue to the finish line for her to get out and cross it and made it for Axl's game and ran down the field when he got knocked down. When Frankie was studying to go back to college, she realized how mean teachers can be, which Axl's always telling her.
Sue is Frankie's only daughter and therefore has an emotional bond with Sue. Frankie is concerned about Sue's emotions bubbling at the top because Mike is very blunt and straightforward. Frankie supports Sue in trying out for everything even though Mike and Frankie aren't interested in seeing her make it.
Sue is usually forgotten by Mike. When watching a drive-in movie, Axl claimed every parent has a favorite child. Their mother Frankie Heck denied it and Mike implied it was true. Mike claimed he and Axl have a lot in common, such as football and sports. Sue was upset. Sue took out a scrapbook and labeled it "The Summer of Sue and Dad," and alerted her father about the project. Mike then started giving Axl negative attention and Sue none at all. Going to a fair, Axl had his school paper in his truck when he wrecked it and got towed. Frankie got upset and no one would listen to poor Sue. At the fair, Sue went to the lost and found for children wanting her family to wish to find her. After a while, the family came there to ask if they'd found the paper and left without Sue. At night, watching the fireworks, Axl stated he liked Mike better then Frankie. Sue got all worked up about how Mom does everything for them. Sue is also a very stressful teenage girl and sometimes gets in an argument with Frankie.
Brick is the weird youngest child of Frankie and Mike. Brick whispers to himself after something he just said. Brick makes Frankie do his last-minute projects. Recently, Bricks whoops to himself, saying whoop (or "whooping"). Brick's strangeness results in his parents, Frankie and Mike Heck, attending the annual talk with Brick's teacher. Frankie and Mike also have to attend his social group classes. In these situations, Frankie and Mike try to explain that Brick is not special or weird, but in the end, Frankie usually admits that he is special. Frankie and Mike pay very little attention to Brick because they have more important things to do, which makes him feel "invisible" and is a great factor in his social ineptitude.
Frankie was a car saleswoman at Ehlert's Motors. She befriended an eccentric male worker named Bob who has a crush on her. She lost that job because she was the last hired and Mr. Ehlert needed to cut back. In the episode The Second Act, she vowed not to take any job that comes her way so she goes to tech school to get a real career as a dental hygenist but the instructor was mean to especially her. Frankie passed college and became a dental hygienist/assistant. Her boss is friendly Dr. Ted Goodwin who was feeling lonely for a while. He began to hang out with Frankie. Frankie accepted this because he signs her pay checks, and he's 5x nicer than her last boss Mr. Elhert but he could still fire her, and she's not that great at her job.
- She has sold a few cars before.
- She loves donut holes and chicken.
- She is an eternal optimist.
- In the episode Christmas, Frankie mention's she worked at a dental office before working at Elhert's Motors or working as a dental hygienist.
- She has gotten fired from 2 "crappy jobs"
- She once had 4 jobs.
- When the Heck family goes on an outing, she always forgets the blue snack bag when someone is hungry.
- She Likes The Oscars
- She hates Mother's Day.
- She likes it when Axl hugs her.
- She ends up doing all of Brick's work when he forgets.
- She likes her grilled cheese cut in triangles with potato chips in the middle.
- She likes using signals.
- She is short, 5'5".
- She fancies Colin Firth - In The Test she mentions occasionally dreaming about him, she named her dog Colin Firth, and her computer password is 'Mrs. Frankie Firth'.
- She can hold off creditors for months.
- She can pull anything out of her purse without looking.
- She can listen to four conversations at once.
- She can get dressed in under 20 seconds.