A Love Letter to Sue Heck of The Middle

Dear Sue Heck, how can I start with you? I’ve been watching you and your family’s misadventures for some time now. I like you guys a lot, but you Sue just seem so refreshing to me. See I’m a 21-year old that still feels nostalgic for “As Told by Ginger”, “Braceface”, “The Proud Family”, “Hey Arnold!”, “Napoleon Dynamite”, and “Lizzie McGuire.” I’ve found it hard until you and many shows that aren’t listed came along. I’ve been watching reruns of  “My So-Called Life” and am this close to screaming at the tv, should tell me something when it turned out it’s a spiritual successor to “Thirtysomething” which was a total whinefest. My teen self would have just only hung out with Rickie and Delia or even Danielle, characters that I can really relate to. Characters just like the kids I’ve attended RSP with, and you are one of those kids Sue.

See, in most family sitcoms, the teenage daughter is a bratty, hormonal, whiny scrappy that screams about how no one understands her and provides fanservice fodder with her trendy tight or skin flaunting clothing and tossing her pretty hair about every so often. Boys often get to be enterprising and with totally actual personalities. See, your show is one of them. Your older brother Axl can fill out that part of teenage fanservice-y stuff and all that crap. You are different. You look like any other kid in the awkward middle school years, with the outdated clothes (*sigh* the 90s) and the braces. You’re cool with that. You may not be the smartest kid, the prettiest kid, the coolest kid, or the most athletic.. But you are determined with such a go-to attitude, a more realistic Urkel to me. You try to catch that star, to paraphrase him, you can’t reach it but you just gotta try.

That’s what you do every episode: try. You’re on the track team and aren’t such a great runner, but you work hard. You’re brave enough to wear that pink Crayola costume to a school dance with hundreds of un-empathetic or closeted empathetic 8th graders to try to get this guy to recognize you from Halloween Night. You aren’t afraid to be who you are: whether it’s collecting goofy knick-knacks, bonding with your brilliant yet weird little bro Brick, writing a poem to your crush, watching a movie with your Dad.

Your Mom isn’t a slouch either and try to take a leaf out of her book: she works hard (unsuccessfully) at a car dealership under a boss who thinks women are there to serve him coffee and that if he wanted to cheat on his wife “he’d go to a big city and get an ethnic gal”, balancing her work and family and me-time, and getting your Dad to get down on Halloween. But I’m impressed that at your age you’ve accepted that you aren’t “hot” in terms of appearance, clothes, life, and popularity. And you are just fine with that, looks like capitalist ad promotions aren’t hitting you at all. You don’t want your peak to be at the age of 14: you’re betting that you’ll be the most successful and best-looking 30something year old with a cool life and job.  You are so self-aware and confident for a teen.

You also aren’t afraid to be dorky even if it means you might be the butt of jokes. Makes a somewhat-hip twentysomething feel better because I can just be my best self and live on my own terms. Here’s to an incredible adulthood for you and keep that resilience of yours, you’ll need it for high school.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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