That Year’s Girl: The Middleman

by Sara Ghaleb

We don’t all have time to re-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the good seasons of Fringe and Veronica Mars (although the new movie‘s a hell of a reason to make some), so if you’re looking for a single-season show with a kick-ass female lead, Sara‘s got you covered with another installment of “That Year’s Girl.” Consider it your weekend assignment.

THE MIDDLEMAN (12 episodes, on DVD)

Our hero: Wendy Watson (played by Natalie Morales), an artist working as a temp and recruited by a secret organization to fight comicbook evil under the tutelage of the mysterious but friendly Middleman, who she’ll one day replace. (Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.)

Is a guy I have a crush on in this? Probably not, but you’ll leave with one on Matt Keeslar.

Is a gal I have a crush on in this? You may have noticed Natalie Morales as an especially bright spot on Trophy Wife and Parks and Recreation. Plus Brit Morgan has a much more crush-worthy character here than with True Blood‘s Debbie Pelt.

Your surprise fave: Mark Shepard shows up as a tycoon named Manservant Neville and it’s great.

The OTP: Wendy/Tyler starts late in the game, so tide yourself over with Middleman and Lacey’s will-they, won’t-they flirtation.

Best female friendship: Wendy and Lacey are an all-too-rare TV female friendship: they unconditionally support one another and actually talk through their issues.

Heads up:  It’s incredibly stylized and it might take you a while to get into the swing of it, but once you do, it’s a ton of fun. Also, it aired on ABC Family, so please forgive the special-effects budget.

Why should I watch? It’s funny, it’s weird, it’s full of pop culture references, and it knows that you want to see TV do something new with the typical zombie outbreak. More specifically, though, I think every creative type in their 20s needs Wendy Watson as a role model: she has an amazing crime-fighting, world-saving job, but she makes sure it gives her time to work on her paintings, too; she talks through issues with her roommate/best friend caused by her double life instead of letting resentment build; she finds a boyfriend who’s proud she has a job she loves, rather than annoyed she’s always running off. The skill that makes her a perfect superhero isn’t some secret power, magic destiny, or genius-level IQ — it’s that she reacts fast and rationally in a crisis. So ask yourself: WWWWD (What Would Wendy Watson Do)?

(Answer: watch The Middleman, obvs.)

Sara has a degree in television and a fear of squirrels (unrelated). Follow her thrilling saga on Twitter @binaryfission.

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