The Middle Wiki

The Scratch is the seventh episode of season one.


Frankie accidentally hits Brick's arm with a beer bottle when trying to get the trash out before the garbage truck leaves. But when Brick innocently tells his school that the scratch was caused by his mother throwing a beer bottle at him, a social worker comes to evaluate the Heck family. Meanwhile, Bob helps Mr. Ehlert shoot a commercial for the car lot.


Due to cutbacks, trash pickup in Orson, Indiana, only takes place every two weeks. So when Frankie hears the BEEP, BEEP, BEEP of an early morning trash truck rumbling down the street, the race is on to get all garbage to the curb. As Frankie hurls rubbish remnants across the room into a trash bag, an empty beer bottle accidentally hits Brick in the arm. Don’t worry; the little guy is fine. But, alas, the sanitation truck has passed on by.

Frankie learns that her boss wants to air a commercial he made in the ‘70’s. It shows a leisure suit-friendly Mr. Ehlert literally shooting down high prices. We say “literally” because he fires a gun at a black man wearing a sign that says “high prices.” Frankie and Bob worry that the image of gunning down an African-American gentleman in broad daylight may be a teensy bit racist. So Mr. Ehlert orders them to write a new commercial.

Bob has to take the lead on this one because Frankie has been called to the school. He has trouble getting his boss to deliver some of the big words in the script. Mr. E. has a point. After all, words like “vehicle” don’t just roll off the tongue. Mr. Ehlert finally has a good take but is bummed about how old and bald he looks in the video playback. Bob’s solution is to use the footage from that `70’s spot while editing in a modern-day white guy to take a few bullets from his boss. Say, isn’t that Bob being blown away in a hail of gunfire?

Brick spills the news about how his mom hit him with a beer bottle to a school hall monitor. Not good. After a mild recommendation from the principal, the police agree to release Brick back to Frankie and Mike. But they should expect a visit from a social worker who will have to make an official evaluation.

Sue is worried the family is going to be split up. Axl dreams of going to a foster home with hot teenage girls, as they technically won’t be his sisters. Mike assures everyone that the social worker’s visit is just a formality. They just need to answer the questions honestly to prove they are a normal family. Brick asks if he can have dinner in his room. We should explain that the room he speaks of is a makeshift sleeping area he set up for himself under the dining room table. Yep, they’re just your basic “normal” family.

Frankie realizes that the future of their family rests in Brick’s hands. So she decides to coach Brick for his interview with his social worker. They also try to make the house look as wholesome as possible. Frankie searches for a Bible to put on the coffee table while ordering that all the televisions be set to PBS. Now, if they can only find a way to clean up the mess a raccoon made after ripping through all that garbage that never got picked up.

The social worker’s interviews go about as well as can be expected. Bear in mind, no one was expecting much. When the social worker asks Brick to show her to his room, he makes a beeline for the dining room table. A quick “ahem” from Frankie clues Brick into the fact that he needs to go to his actual bedroom. Guess all that coaching paid off. But things take a bad turn when the social worker reveals that she once went on a few dates with Mike. She really liked him, but he never called her back. Uh oh.

Now we all know that Frankie Heck won’t let the fate of her family rest in the hands of a scorned woman. She tails the social worker into the bathroom and pleads her case through a closed stall door. The social worker says she got over Mike a long time ago and has nothing to worry about regarding the Brick situation. Frankie is relieved but still hovers over the social worker as she types up her report. She even keeps a copy for herself. Frankie now has written proof from the state of Indiana that she’s a good parent. Hey, we knew that all along.