Brief spoilers for the latest episode of "The Middleman" coming up just as soon as I match up all my pairs of Middle-socks...
Of the four episodes they've done so far, this was definitely the weakest. A Dr. Phil parody seems both too current (Wendy's world is supposed to be modern, but Middle-world so far has been quite retro) and too easy. (Plus, I made the mistake of watching the previews last week, which gave away that Dr. Gill was the bad guy, and that he'd wind up trying to psychoanalyze Wendy in the middle of a shoot-out. Add ABC Family to the list of channels where I will now refuse to watch any previews.)
Still, props for the steady stream of random "Back to the Future" trilogy references (the fake bomb was at the Twin Pines Mall, and cover identities included Doc Brown, Biff's old west ancestor, and Mary Steenburgen's character from BttF 3), plus the hilarious sequence where the Middleman tried to defend Dubby's fitness at the exact moment we could see her on the monitor beating holy hell out of the robot. It's an old joke, but a well-executed one. I also liked the makeup design for the aliens, which managed to straddle the line between something obviously not right and something that could have been actual plastic surgery gone awry. (If you've ever seen a picture of scary cat lady Jocelyn Wildenstein -- and I would strongly advise against clicking through to that link if you've recently eaten or are planning to eat -- you know any sick thing is possible.)
We've been talking for a few weeks now about whether the show can maintain the tone and the level of demented genius we've gotten through the first three episodes. I'd say there were enough funny and tonally-correct things in this one to consider it a slight misstep and not the first sign that the series isn't sustainable in the long term. But we'll see.
What did everybody else think?