Breakout star Brock Ciarlelli has taken ABC’s The Middle by storm. He plays Sue Heck’s (Eden Sher) best friend Brad Botting. Brock talks with me about the upcoming season of The Middle and what he’s been doing in his down time. Check out the interview below.
What does it feel like being on the hit TV show The Middle?
“I feel great working there, especially for TV and for it being my first real acting job. You don’t necessarily know if a show is going to be a hit. You shoot the pilot, and the first season and hope it takes off and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a surreal experience.”
Most of your scenes are with Eden Sher. What’s it like to work with her?
“She’s hysterical. I honestly cannot sing enough praises for her. She doesn’t get the recognition she deserves. Her comedic timing is impeccably unique, and you know it’s her. I’ve learned so much in this industry from her. I think that’s a testament to how talented she is.”
And the other cast members?
“They’re great. It’s such a family atmosphere and I think that’s awesome. The show is a family show and it happens both on and off set. I think it’s awesome, for example, Patti Heaton and Neil Flynn came to my 21st birthday last summer. Patti’s son is going to the same school I graduated from and I was telling them things that I liked and what I would recommend. It’s just a cool atmosphere and environment to be around. I think that extends beyond our day-to-day work lives.”
Was there ever a time on the show when you felt overwhelmed?
“Fortunately no. It’s not just been the workload for The Middle, but when you add-on four years of college and getting the college experience, as well as being on the show, that’s when it started getting a little overwhelming. But I wasn’t going nuts or anything. I like that controlled madness. I think that’s where I do my best work.”
What college did you graduate from?
“Chapman University. I just graduated in May actually.”
Congratulations! Have you had any memorable fan experiences?
“Yeah. I would say so. I think what’s so cool about The Middle is the fans that we have are fans through and through. They are dedicated! They know the show backwards and forwards. It’s just great. My favorite times are when people come up to me, parents especially, and they say, it’s one of the only shows out there where I can watch it with my kids and not have to screen it first. We can sit down and laugh like a family. I think we are one of the only shows out there where you can really, truly do that. And me being such a family person, I think that’s really cool.”
Do you like a lot of family shows?
“I’m so big on the 90s TV shows. I own every episode of Full House! When the news broke that Fuller House was happening on Netflix, I lost my shit. (laughs). I have such a strong connection to it. I also own every episode of Boy Meets World as well.”
I hear you also love reality TV.
“Oh, I’m religious about it.”
What are you watching?
“This summer, I’ve been super into Big Brother. It’s honestly like a full-time job with the amount of reality shows I watch. I love So You Think You Can Dance, Amazing Race, and Survivor. I love the shows where you get to be sneaky and conniving. (laughs).”
Would you ever consider being on reality TV?
“No. I don’t think I’m made for it. I have my own ideas of what I’d do, like my own strategy. But, I honestly don’t think I could. I would consider going on the Amazing Race, just because I think it would be cool to see the world in that way.”
You tap dance, so maybe you could go for Dancing With The Stars?
“Maybe one day. I love to tap dance! I’ve done it for like eighteen years or something, but only as a hobby.”
Have you ever wanted to be a professional tap dancer?
“No. I don’t train enough to pursue it as a professional career. I like to stay on top of it, because it’s a great release. It’s different from the day-to-day. I like going to different classes or just going in alone and dancing it out for a couple of hours. It’s a lot of fun and a good stress reliever, but I don’t think going professional is going to be an option.”
Season 7 of The Middle premieres this fall. What can you tell us about your character and the show?
“Brad and Sue just graduated high school together. He got accepted to college, but he’s taking a gap year. Essentially, he’s joining AmeriCorps. It’s a really cool thing that the show is introducing. Chelsea Clinton went to all the show runners about a year ago, and was talking about this campaign called ‘Serve A Year.’ What they wanted to do was introduce it and show what the program is about and what these people can do.
The show runners for The Middle said that would be a great option for Brad. He’s going to do his year of service in Indiana. As to what that is, I’m not sure. I’ll probably find out next week. I think it’s definitely a different side to Brad, and his friendship with Sue is going to be stronger and funnier. And what AmeriCorps is really trying to show is that it is okay if don’t have your future set. You can take a year and give this service back to your country. And in turn, it can help with college opportunities and scholarships, so you can be ready to hit the ground running with the real world.”
The Middle premieres Wednesday, September 23rd at 8/7c on ABC!