Q: Can you tell me where they film "The Middle"? The Hecks' house looks like it is on a real street.

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Series creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline would be gratified to hear you say that because they put a lot of work into making the show look authentic.

"It's really funny that now [Orson] feels like a real place, like it has traditions," Heisler told RTV6, ABC's Indianapolis, Indiana, affiliate. "It has schools and mascots, but we just made it up."

The show's fictional town of Orson, Indiana, is based on the real Indiana town of Jasper, which is just a few hours away from Heline's hometown of Muncie.

It's all a trick, though: "The Middle" is actually filmed on a studio lot in Los Angeles.

GeekDad.com blogger Matt Blum took a tour of the set and said: "It was really easy to believe that a family actually lived there."

On the tour, he was able to talk to set director Julie Fanton, who said that she does a lot of her shopping for the show at Target and Kohl's, stores that a lot of families are familiar with, in order to boost the authenticity.

It seems her work has paid off. AVClub.com reviewer Brandon Nowalk called the show "basically a traditional family sitcom, albeit the decade's standout," and credited that success to the show's production design. "Does any sitcom set on television feel as lived-in as the Heck house?"

Though they are now living in L.A. to make the show, the show's two creators are both from the Midwest and bring as much of that background as they can into the production.

"It's a love letter to the Midwest," said Heline.


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