WARNING: The Middle spoilers
The eighth season of ABCâ€™s The Middle comes to an end tomorrow night.
In â€œFight or Flight,â€ Axlâ€™s graduated from college and making plans for the future and Sueâ€™s scraped a parked SUV. To find out what Brickâ€™s up to, we sent some questions via email to Atticus Shaffer, who was kind enough to answer them.
Shaffer previewedÂ what to expect in the finale for his character, why heâ€™s enjoyed playing Brick this season and he filled us in on what it was like for his costar Charlie McDermott to direct him. Plus, he gives us a heads up on his summer hiatus. Spoiler alert: heâ€™s going to be super busy.
TV Goodness: The finale for season eight is coming up and Brick is experiencing some backaches. What can you tease about the story for your character?
Atticus Shaffer: As a little tease, I can say that we are actually bringing back an old friend of Brick’s to resolve the problem…his lawn-chair. It was nice to be able to have that faithful friend return to the set. We picked up right where we left off.
TV Goodness: What are you excited for people to see about the finale? Why is this episode a good way to end this season?
Shaffer: This whole season has really focused on the kids growing up and what they are doing as they enter young adulthood. Axl is graduating college, Sue is choosing what path she wants as a career, and Brick is growing both emotionally and in trying new things, yet still being true to himself. He’s still following the beat to his own drummer. This season finale is a nice way to tie in all of those elements, especially because it is revealed what Axl is doing now that he has graduated from college, but it sets up a multitude of storylines for the writers to choose from for next season.
TV Goodness: What are a couple of your favorite Brick moments and highlights from season eight? And why did you enjoy playing those moments?
Shaffer: As I stated previously, Brick has been able to grow not only emotionally, but has been given a chance to try many new things this season. I thought it was brilliant how he was able to form Font Club at school and have a few really good storylines centered on something he loves so much. I also really enjoyed when Brick got a job at Spudsy Malone’s with Sue and they got into their epic food fight, and then had their talk in the break-room. I like when Brick is able to express himself to his family, and be given opportunities to show not only his intellect, but also his genuine care for his loved ones.
Following along those same lines, I enjoyed the few storylines that Brick and Axl shared together, in which Brick was able to give Axl some wisdom and brotherly companionship. Of course…the Scottish Rap was a blast! I spent a lot of time listening to some Christian rappers I enjoy trying to listen to the rhythm and beats, so I could figure out the beat for the Scottish raps. Also, any day I get to wear a kilt at work is a great day.
TV Goodness: What’s it like working with this cast for eight seasons? How different of an experience is it from the first season? Do you guys have short cuts with each other now?
Shaffer: I’m very thankful, because everyone who works on our set, both cast and crew, have grown into a family over the years. We have seen engagements, marriages, births, deaths, and everything in between and have shared those moments with each other. We have all definitely bonded a great deal over the years and I’m proud and honored to work with everyone on set. Yes, we have developed a shorthand, especially between us as actors, and the directors we have. We all understand the “magic words” that bring out the best performances and/ or reactions for our work.
TV Goodness: Next season you will be celebrating 200 episodes on air. How does that make you feel?
Shaffer: Incredibly excited. We have been very blessed and honored to have been given as many episodes/seasons as we have and I remember how over the moon we were when we made it to a hundred episodes. It was such a milestone for us and we never even dreamed of making it to two hundred. We realize how rare of a privilege that is for a show and we are forever grateful and appreciative of this honor.
TV Goodness: Your castmate, Charlie McDermott, directed an episode recently that was a pretty big Brick episode. What was that experience like? What kind of director is he?
Shaffer: To be honest, it definitely threw me for a loop when I was told Charlie was going to be directing. He was very humble about the whole thing and I was excited not only for him, but that I would be working with him as much as I did. He was focused, wanting to do the best job he could, and we as the cast commented on how mature he was throughout the whole process.
I especially enjoyed how I was able to collaborate with him and he allowed me to try some different things throughout the storyline for Brick. On the last day specifically, just before our last set up, I remember how we were talking about the whole week and how sad he was that it was almost over because he was having so much fun. The joy he brought into work translated to all of us and spread like wildfire. Hands down, it was one of the best weeks I have ever had on set, and the finished product was wonderful. I’m incredibly proud of Charlie.
TV Goodness: What are you hoping happens storyline-wise for Brick next season?
Shaffer: I have no clue what the writers could be planning, but I’m hoping to see Brick continue to grow in who he is as a unique person, and perhaps do something exciting like invent a new font or develop some new friendships that can carry throughout the season. No matter what, I trust the writers will give him some fun and quirky things to do.
TV Goodness: Have producers told you anything about next season yet? Is there anything you can tease?
Shaffer: Yes, they are saying that Brick will realize the entire show was a dream and he’s actually living in the world of The Walking Dead…kidding….unfortunately, I have not heard anything yet…I think my idea is cool though.
TV Goodness: Congrats on Disney Junior’s The Lion Guard being renewed for a third season. What do you enjoy most about being part of The Lion Guard?
Shaffer: Being a part of The Lion Guard has been such an incredible experience in my career. The Lion King was an amazing part of the Disney legacy and to have there be a sequel series of this magnitude and to be a part of that series is so thrilling for me as an artist. The creator of the show, Ford Riley, is a brilliant storyteller and writer and the way he and his team have arced the story has been so genius. Being able to play a unique, smart, witty character such as Ono, and getting to be a hero in the world of the Pridelands has been a joy beyond words. Also, it is the coolest thing ever when you get to see the plush doll of your character in a Disney store.
TV Goodness: What do you plan to do over hiatus? Any other projects or are you going to take it easy?
Shaffer: I have been blessed with being enrolled in the Warner Bros. Director’s Workshop over the summer. It has always been my goal to move behind the camera more and become a director/writer/producer, and Warner Bros. has accepted me into the program this summer. I’m incredibly excited to be participating! That is my main activity, and besides that, I am continuing work on The Lion Guard, DreamWork’s HOME: Adventures with Tip and Oh, and my other voiceover projects that are still in development.
The season finale of The Middle premieres tomorrow night at 8/7c on ABC.
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