AFT #139: ‘The Middle’s DeAnn Heline Sits In, the ‘Louie’ Movie, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and More


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DeAnn Heline, co-creator and executive producer of ABC’s The Middle, was nice enough to sit in with Joel and Jason this week. We talked about her show, of course, but also a couple of other TV-related issues:

  • We talk about the season of The Middle that just ended, including the fact that anyone’s family story can wind up as a story on the show (ask our buddy Will Harris about this). We talk about working with all of the cast, how much Atticus Shaffer has grown up over the last five years, how positive Eden Sher is, and why this show was DeAnn and her writing partner Eileen Heisler’s “dream fulfillment” show, and not their previous show, Lipstick Jungle. She also tells a story about fighting some real-life Glossners using disco as their guide (00:00 – 31:58),
  • Then we talk about the various guest stars they’ve used, including Brooke Shields and Norm MacDonald, who DeAnn and Eileen worked with on Roseanne (31:58 – 33:25),
  • Then we discussed how they got to shoot the season finale at Walt Disney World, and if that mack daddy suite the family was in during the episode is for real (it is!) (33:25 – 39:45),
  • Since the show is going into season 6, we discuss whether they feel more stable than in years past, and if being in syndication has helped get the show more fans (39:45 – 46:00),
  • Then we talk about the Emmy nomination craziness this year. DeAnn, who is a member, says there should be a “dramedy” category, because shows like hers shouldn’t be competing with shows like Orange is the New Black, Shameless or even Louie, all of which have funny moments but more drama than anything (46:00 – 58:10),
  • DeAnn doesn’t watch a ton of TV, but she does watch the Jersey Housewives. So Joel and DeAnn caught up quickly on all the changes that are coming for the new season (58:10 – 1:00:45),
  • She also watches Louie, so we turned our attention to this week’s 90-minute movie episode where Louie reflects on his weed-addled 8th grade year. We also discussed the previous week’s episode and whether it was OK for Louie to make us all uncomfortable when his TV self forced himself on Pamela (1:00:45 – 1:16:50),
  • Then we go back to The Middle, and ask DeAnn about the episode where Frankie mistakenly goes to work at her old used car sales job, which led us to the inevitable talk about Chris Kattan (remember: he used to be in the cast) (1:16:50 – 1:19:43),
  • The Goldbergs is moving to the slot after The Middle, and we ask DeAnn if she thinks the show is a good fit. Then we say our goodbyes so she can go back to working with her staff to get the stories for season 6 in shape (1:19:43 – 1:25:31),
  • After DeAnn leaves, we talk about how much improvement Undateable is making since its pilot (1:25:31 – 1:28:01),
  • Then we talk about Murder In The First and how Steven Bochco seems to be persona non grata at the broadcast networks now (1:28:01 – 1:33:46),
  • Then we talk about the new and returning shows coming up, with more details on FX’s new slate: Tyrant, The Strain, Married and You’re The Worst (1:33:46 – 1:37:56),
  • More praise for John Oliver, as we discuss how Last Week Tonight seems to be zeroing in on doing deep-dive stories on international topics like FIFA’s corruption or otherwise boring topics like net neutrality (1:37:56 – 1:49:00),
  • Finally, we talk about the first two episodes of season 2 of Orange is the New Black. Spoilerfest coming in a few weeks (1:49:00 – 2:05:43).

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