So, did you give ABC’s two new sitcoms a try?

Hank, starring Kelsey Grammer, was a bummer as far as I was concerned. I like Grammer a lot — who doesn’t? — but could you believe the stiff, contrived show that’s been constructed around him like a house made of flimsy balsa wood? I didn’t buy the premise (rich guy lowers himself into the middle class with a mixture of optimism and despair) and I didn’t buy that he’d be the father of those young kids with their vaguely delineated personalities.

Did you?

The Middle, starring Patricia Heaton, was much better. It had a funny, goofy family — not just Heaton as an over-stressed mom and working woman, but Scrubs‘ Neil Flynn as the dad, and of the three kids, the stand-out is Atticus Shaffer as little Brick. I know, the show, even in its title, may remind you of Malcolm In The Middle, but I liked watching this family bounce off each other, and especially enjoyed what Brick’s teacher called his “quirks”: his habit of repeating himself in a ghostly voice, and his quiet persistence in living in his own world. I admit it: I thought once Everybody Loves Raymond ended its run, I figured I could live without seeing Patricia Heaton again for a looong time, but now that I’ve seen The Middle, I’m appreciating her anew.

What did you think?

Oh, and please feel free to weigh in on the second episode of Modern Family, too, if you stayed with ABC through that. (My quick reaction: not as funny as last week’s premiere, but pretty darn funny.)