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Catching Up with 'The Middle's' Charlie McDermott and Eden Sher
Charlie McDermott, 21, and Eden Sher, 20, play siblings Axl and Sue Heck on ABC’s The Middle. Even though neither actor actually grew up in the Midwest, it turns out the trials and tribulations of surviving life as a teen in a semi-dysfunctional family translates to any part of the country.
The duo talked to Parade.com about what it’s like to play a Heck and what they were really like in high school.
On their quirky and lovable characters.
Eden Sher: “It’s hard to pinpoint what I love most about playing Sue. Obviously, I love the enthusiasm. I get paid to squeal, that’s the way I look at my life! I’m pretty fortunate. The only thing I would change about Sue would be those braces and having to put those things on every day.”
Charlie McDermott: “He’s going to be the same old Axl the rest of the season — very unaware and self-centered. That’s probably the thing I like most about him, actually. He’s selfish and loud and nothing is really off limits with him. It’s fun being able to play that type of person. I can go around insulting my fellow castmates all day!”
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On filming scenes in his underwear.
McDermott: “I’m pretty comfortable with it now. In season one, I would walk onto the set every day and the only piece of wardrobe I would have would be a pair of boxers.”
On what they were like in high school.
Sher: “I was a crazy person, but I wasn’t like Sue. I was never popular, but I had a lot of friends. I was in the theater crowd and we were super cliquey and super into ourselves and our theater.”
McDermott: “I didn’t like school. I was pretty much daydreaming all the time. I would be in the back of the class writing down random stories and stuff that would have nothing to do with school. I only lasted two years in high school before I moved out to L.A. I’m probably similar to Axl in the sense that I wasn’t really paying attention, but at least I would try to keep some sort of good grades so my parents would let me continue acting.”
On having Patricia Heaton as their onscreen mom.
McDermott: “It’s awesome! I watched Everybody Loves Raymond so much. Patty was one of the first funny female comedians that I became a fan of. I always loved her character and I remember thinking that I could be one of her sons on the show because she reminded me of my mom in a lot of ways. Six years later, I’m her son!
"I was so intimidated by Patty the first season. I would never talk to her. She thought I hated her, but I was just terrified by her.”
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Sher: “I agree with everything Charlie says except I never imagined being her daughter, but it’s exceeded my expectations. She’s just one of the coolest, nicest, most talented people.”
On their growing appreciation for Middle America.
McDermott: “I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, so it feels very similar to me. My cousins are from Indiana, so it felt very close to home. I really like doing a show that is based off of something familiar to me and all of my family and friends.”
Sher: “I would say I have a new appreciation for the Midwest. I’ve had this urge to take a road trip through the country now and stop in any place that’s not L.A. and New York.”