Mother's Day is the twenty-second episode of season one.
Frankie tries to enjoy Mother's Day, despite her bitterness that Mike gets treated far better on Father's Day. She decides to go visit her mother for a few hours in order to escape, but discovers that she makes her mother wait on her hand-and-foot. Meanwhile, Sue steals a motivational magnet from a store because the message on the magnet enticed her to.
It’s Mother’s Day! You probably figured that out by the episode title. Frankie’s opening voiceover should clue you in as to how her big day played out. She says, “Some days from start to finish just blow.” What has this mom in The Middle so down in the dumps? Let’s find out.
Knock, knock. The kids come into the bedroom to serve Frankie breakfast in bed. It’s a tray filled with runny eggs, burnt waffles and a slice of old, fried bologna. Brick made Frankie a macaroni-based picture frame. Sue and Axl give her a card—hers is handmade, his is verbal. Mike plans to let his loving wife spend time with her kids while he watches SportsCenter. After all, it’s her day!
Frankie wants to grab a shower before opening the rest of her presents. CUE THE PANICKED DAD! Mike says, “Grab the coupon drawer. We got 20 minutes to hit the drugstore and get your mom something she’ll treasure forever.” All non-mom Hecks spread out to find the perfect gift. Sue suggests a motivational refrigerator magnet she loves. Mike puts the kibosh on the magnet and buys something Frankie will really enjoy: an inflatable foot bath, complete with sloughing bumps to remove dead skin.
Frankie loves her gift. And by “love,” we mean she hates it. She can’t help but compare this Mother’s Day gift to Mike’s last Father’s Day present. Frankie drove for hours in a blizzard to get him a board from the floor of the old Indiana Hoosiers’ basketball court. She also helped Brick build a remote control caddy and let Mike watch sports all day, kind of like he’s doing now.
Frankie’s mom was supposed to come down for a meal at Neptune’s Grill. Their peach pie is Frankie’s favorite. But mom calls to say her sciatica is acting up. Frankie doesn’t want her mom to be alone on Mother’s Day, so she and Sue decide to visit her. During the drive, Sue confesses that she stole the motivational refrigerator magnet. You can’t really blame her. It did say, “Think of the thing you cannot do and then do it.” Sue was just motivated!
Frankie deals with her guilt-ridden daughter for the rest of the trip until they finally arrive to find her mom, Pat (guest star Marsha Mason), dancing to Barry Manilow tunes in the living room. Apparently, her sciatica comes and goes. Frankie gives Pat her Mother’s Day present, a brand new food dehydrator. It’s almost as nice as the inflatable foot massager.
While Pat and Sue spend some time together, Frankie takes a nap on the couch. She awakens to ask her mom to make one of her famous grilled cheese sandwiches with potato chips in the middle, sliced in triangles, of course. Frankie wonders how long it would take her mom to make some pudding.
That does it! Pat says the reason she bailed on lunch is because she wanted to be alone on Mother’s Day. With her dad out of the house dealing with a possum situation, it’s the one day she didn’t have to wait on someone hand and foot. Frankie can’t believe her mom didn’t want to be with her daughter on Mother’s Day. She admits that she’d love to have the day to herself, too. Now Sue can’t believe her mom doesn’t want to be with her!
Pat says it’s hard to tell your family you don’t want to be with them on Mother’s Day. It’s even harder to tell them you don’t want to dry your own fruit. Three generations of women engage in a little crying and a lot of candy binging, but eventually talk things out.
At the end of the day, there’s no way Frankie and Sue are going to make it home for dinner at Neptune’s Grill. So, she tells Mike to just bring her home a piece of pie. Of course, he forgets. The house is a mess and Frankie collapses on the bed after an awful Mother’s Day. Then her kids come in to collapse alongside her. Suddenly, Mother’s Day night suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.
The next day, Frankie heads over to Neptune’s Grill. She sits at a table enjoying a slice of peach pie…alone. This could be the start of a new tradition. Frankie says, “Mother’s Day is for them. The day after Mother’s Day is for me. It’s kinda like Father’s Day for mothers.” Happy Day-After Mother’s Day, Frankie!