9 Classic TV Characters That Prove The Middle Child Really Is The Best
It’s sometimes said that middle children get lost in the shuffle of a big family. Well, in the words of legendary Full House mid kid Stephanie Tanner—how rude.
The middle child might not be as wise as the oldest or adorable as the baby of the gang, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the superior sibling. The good news? Today is the day that all mid kids finally get their due. In honor of National Middle Child Day, we’re turning our full attention to nine classic TV characters who totally deserve their moment in the spotlight. Keep scrolling to see our picks.
Lady Edith Crawley
In six seasons of Downton Abbey, mid sib Edith (Laura Carmichael) surprised everyone by becoming the most modern and progressive member of the Crawley bunch (sorry, Mary). With daughter Marigold by her side, she took over The Sketch magazine in London, as she was still coping with Michael Gregson’s death. #Girlboss
Will Smith might have been the breakout star of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) was the heart of the show. Preppy and practical, Carlton was often a voice of reason in the family, balancing out ditzy older sister Hilary and somewhat naive younger sister Ashley (younger brother Nicky was born later in the series). And do Hilary or Ashley have a dance named after them? We think not.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. On The Brady Bunch, it seemed like Jan (Eve Plumb) would never get out of her big sister’s shadow. But after a few rough years of teen angst—glasses, braces, and a fake boyfriend named George Glass—Jan finds her happy place. She even eventually followed in her stepdad’s footsteps and became an architect.
DJ might have been smarter and Michelle cuter, but Stephanie Judith Tanner (Jodie Sweetin) was the fun, perky Full House sibling that you’d actually be friends with. Unlike her sisters, she could sing, dance (remember her “Motownphilly” routine?), and pull off scrunchies with ease. And as we saw in Netflix’s Fuller House, she goes on to be a pretty rad adult too, moving to London and becoming a DJ (going by the name of DJ Tanner, natch) before returning home to her family in San Fran.
The Middle’s middle child, played by Eden Sher, is by far the most loveable of the series. Ever the optimist, Sue’s energetic personality far outweighs her brothers. And even though her dad, Mike, tends to forget about her, she is always quick to forgive. Plus, her facial expressions are everything.
Pretty much every millennial had a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas at one point or another during the Home Improvement era. And his character Randy was the reason why. While older sib Brad was the macho one and little brother Mark was more sensitive, Randy was the cool troublemaker who was always quick to tell a joke. And as he got older, JTT’s baby blues become the reason we tuned in week after week.
It’s not easy to make 80s fashion look fab, but on Family Ties Mallory Keaton (Justine Bateman) was always dressed to impress. Highwaist jeans, cable knit sweaters, and oversize vests rounded out her classic style. Older brother Alex P. Keaton’s suit and tie and younger sister Jennifer’s tomboy threads didn’t have the same flair.
Malcolm in the Middle’s Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) was always compared to big bros Francis and Reese and little bros Dewey and baby Jamie. And while he struggled with being a bit of an outcast both inside and outside his family, we can’t forget he was actually a genius, with an insane IQ of 165. Beat that bullies.
We’re not surprised that Family Matters’ resident nerd Steve Urkel had a thing for Laura (Kellie Shanygne Williams) since kindergarten. She was a cheerleader and straight-A student who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, even if that meant turning down his offer for a date again and again. His persistence did pay off in the end though—the two eventually marry.