The fifth-season finale of “The Middle” will feature a first for the show: an episode shot outside the show’s home base at Warner Bros. Studios. The Heck family heads to Disney World after Sue’s (Eden Sher) triumph in a “hands on a hard body” contest.
First, though, there’s a detour. Brick (Atticus Shaffer) asks if they can stop in North Carolina so he can meet up with his online girlfriend. The news comes as a rather large surprise to his family, just as it did to Shaffer when he read the script for the finale.
“[I] read that — ‘Brick gets a girlfriend.’ I’m like, what? Really?” the 15-year-old Shaffer tells Zap2it with a laugh. “Oh, great, fantastic — thanks for the heads up.”
Although he wasn’t expecting that little twist, Shaffer says he’s all for anything that deepens his character. “That’s what I liked to see with this last season, and hopefully it will get expanded on even more next season, is that Brick is growing up,” he says. “He’s growing up emotionally, and it’s how he’s dealing with those emotions, and realizing of course that his family are not the best people to go to for that.”
Also? He kind of saw the girlfriend thing coming.
“It’s so hilarious — I actually thought, and I predicted when I started the season, I said, why do I get the feeling Brick is gonna have to get a girlfriend this season?” he says. “I thought, OK, the Halloween episode, that’s it, that’s the one. Then the Piper thing came up [in episode 20, ‘The Optimist’] … ‘Oh, that’s the one, that’s the one they’re gonna do.’ Then it went to this one, and it’s like, this is really ridiculous now. What’s going on?”
The second half of Wednesday’s (May 21) hour-long finale gets the Hecks to Disney World. (Go here to see a behind-the-scenes featurette about filming in the Magic Kingdom.) Shaffer says working at Disney was “an absolute pleasure.”
To be able to expand from [filming on a soundstage] and get away from that and go somewhere else and show the characters interacting in a different place was really, really cool,” he says. “… The other part was when we shot in Disney World, they did not shut down the park or sections of the park where we shot. So we had our little roped-off area, and we were able to talk to the fans.
“… They would stand there and just watch us for five, six, seven, eight hours at a time and just watch us work. That was so much fun to be able to, in between takes, to go into the crowd and be like, hey guys, how are you? Do you have any questions you want answered, do you want a picture — I’m totally game for that. They were, they were so happy to meet us or have us wave to them. So I thought that was awesome.”
The Season 5 finale of “The Middle” airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT Wednesday on ABC.