Philosophy shows through in one’s everyday life without even knowing it, like a piece to the puzzle of life in which is always missing. No one will ever find the true answers to the philosophical questions one comes across daily and the meanings of life, but they will always remain. These questions in relation to philosophy show up regularly throughout The Middle. The show — a comedy about a family from Indiana — is a relatable, crazy family with one too many problems up their sleeve. The show follows each member of the Heck family as they go through things that seem insane and unrealistic, but still tends to come across as a very relatable show. Even in such a TV show that appears to contain no clear message in it, philosophy can be found when one looks close enough. The episodes of “Get Your Business Done,” “The 100″,” and “A Christmas Gift” show the Kierkegaard, Kant, and Sophists’ philosophies through the Heck Family: Mike, Frankie, Axl, Sue, and Brick.
The Heck family displays Kierkegaard’s idea of truth with a “T” in “Get your Business Done”. After getting tired of their usual church the Heck family visits a friend’s church that tells them they need to get their “business” done and struggle to find out what this means for them; this is very similar to the Kierkegaard belief that the only truths that matter are the ones that are true to us. Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher that had a rather unique view on truth, believing in two different types: Objective and Subjective. Objective truths, or truths with a t, are the absolute, reasoned truths (Gaarder 376). These are not nearly as important as the subjective truths (truths with a 7), which are things that are true to each particular person. “If you fall into the water, you have no theoretical interest in whether or not you will drown… It is a question of life or death” (Gaarder 376).
This can also be applied to faith: the beliefs of one are just as true as someone with a totally different religion. The Heck family searches to find the truths of a message they receive at a new church they are trying out, to get their “business” done before death, but have difficulty discovering how this applies to each of their lives. Mike, Axl, Sue, and Brick find this task rather easy compared to Frankie, who continues to search for her “calling” of what she needs to get done. Frankie spends weeks using the process of trial and error to search for the type of “business” she needs to get done, but can never seem to find the right fit for her. Similar to Kierkegaard, the Heck family believes the message received from church was given to reach every person in a different way in order for each one to find out what it meant to him or her. Just like their similarity to Kierkegaard, the Heck family also shares some relation to Kant.
In “The 100″,” Mike and Frankie practice Kant’s idea of Moral Duty. Mike and Frankie volunteer by accident and are assigned to drive a float at a parade for their city that they don’t want any part of, but despite the consequences and their desire to watch form the sidelines they decide to help out; similar of Kant’s strong belief that one should do things because it is morally right, no matter what the consequences. Kant was a Deontologist who believed one must follow moral duties no matter what could happen in the end. He believed that these moral duties were categorical imperatives: “The moral law is ‘Categorical,’ or that it applies to all situations. It is, moreover, ‘imperative,’ which means it is commanding and therefore absolutely authoritative” (Guarder 329). In other words, no matter what circumstance one must never lie, steal, kill, etc. Kant had also applied this law to his idea of free will, stating: “Only when we know we are acting out of free will are we acting freely” (Gaarder 332).