The Middle Wiki

The Neighbor is the twelfth episode of season one.


Frankie feels that a fight with her trashy neighbor Rita is imminent when Sue has a confrontation with her sons. Meanwhile, Axl is asked to teach Brick how to kick a ball for gym class, and bribes him in order to do so. But later, Brick turns the tables on him and bribes him for a favor of his own.


Ever have a neighbor with whom you did not want to tangle? Frankie Heck does. The Glossner family lives down the street in Orson, Indiana’s most dilapidated house. Everyone in the neighborhood is terrified of Rita Glossner (guest star Brooke Shields) and her four out-of-control sons. It’s best to take whatever hell the Glossner boys impose upon you because retaliating would only make things worse.

In other news, Brick is upset because he has to learn how to kick a ball for school. Frankie’s attempt to teach her boy to bend it like Beckham ends abruptly when she accidentally kicks the ball into the Glossner’s yard. There’s no way she’s going anywhere near that house, so she buys a new ball. She wants Axl to take over the kickball lessons. Surprisingly, he agrees, but only if Brick writes a 20-page book report for him. Sounds like a plan!

Brick writes Axl’s book report but has such a good time playing with his big brother that he decides to change the terms of their agreement. He only gives Axl the first page of the report. Every time Axl plays with him, he’ll get another page. After a few days of playing nice, Axl gets the full report but is upset when he only gets a C. Brick says, “What did you expect? I’m in second grade.” Well played, little man. Well played.

The Glossner’s dog is terrorizing the neighborhood. With her parents unwilling to do anything about it, Sue takes matters into her own hands. She and her friend, Carly, confront a couple of the Glossner boys and tell them to chain up their Cujo-ish mutt. The Glossners then challenge Sue to a fight after school at her house. Sue says she’ll be there, largely because she lives there. The fight is on!

Sue doesn’t have a lot of experience when it comes to rumbles. When the Glossner boys show up to throw down, Sue hits the play button on the family boom box. She and Carly then proceed to do a series of well-choreographed martial arts moves to the pulsating sounds of Carl Douglas’ chopsocky chart-topper from the winter of 1974, “Kung Fu Fighting!” But before the girls have a chance to launch into synchronized cartwheels, the Glossners push them down and swipe the boom box.

Mike doesn’t want his daughter to be fighting the family’s battles, especially not to novelty tunes from one-hit wonders. He heads over to the Glossner house to chat with the mom, Rita, who answers the door in her bra. When Mike points his finger at the boy who stole the boom box, his cuff button gets caught on Rita’s bra strap, causing it to rip. Let’s just say that this leaves Mrs. Glossner “hanging out” in the doorway.

Mike returns home, dazed and confused. He tells Frankie what happened. Now she’s afraid to leave the house unattended. But when the Frugal Hoosier has a sale on boxes of Iowa White Chablis, Frankie has no choice but to hit the market. While there, she sees Rita Glossner trying to control her boys at the checkout line. She also notices that Rita doesn’t have enough money to pay for her groceries. Frankie begins to think that maybe Rita isn’t such a bad person. Maybe she’s just had a rough life.

Frankie shows up at Rita’s front door with a bagful of groceries. Rita is less-than appreciative. In fact, she’s downright nasty. She refuses to admit that her boys are bullies who steal from everyone in the neighborhood. So Frankie decides to prove it. She starts picking up items from the front yard with the intention of returning everything to its rightful owner.

A crowd begins to assemble as Frankie reclaims many stolen items from the Glossner garage. And by doing so, she also reclaims control of the neighborhood. Rita Glossner shrugs it off, saying, “I might be pregnant with a pro basketball player’s kid. I’m gonna be out of this town soon anyway.”

Frankie has won the war. Finally, an entire community is at peace. At least until Rita can gather enough cherry bombs and dog dirt to give her boys the ammunition they need to retaliate. There goes the neighborhood!