PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — If the creators of ABC's "The Middle" have their way, poor Sue Heck's teeth will never be fixed.
Actress Eden Sher wore a set of removable braces to her audition to play the daughter on the ABC comedy, helping her win the job. She hasn't taken them off since, at least on camera. They're the signature of the geeky, lovable loser that is high school soph Sue Heck.
It makes for a strange situation for Sher when she goes out in public.
"I don't ever get recognized by anyone," said the 21-year-old Sher, who in real life has straight teeth, clear skin and a youthful touch of Hollywood glamour. "I don't get offended by it. I take it as a compliment."
Getting ready for filming is particularly easy. Sher doesn't wash her hair on filming day so it can be flat and oily on the air. She barely wears any makeup. And she's not allowed to wax her eyebrows.
Sher has had the removable braces since a short stint on "Weeds." She had braces in real life but had them taken off in the midst of a season's filming. Wanting continuity, the show had her orthodontist prepare a set of braces that can be taken on and off.
It's a signature look she wouldn't mind losing at some point.
"I would love to see Sue get her braces off at some point," she said recently. "The writers have stopped taking my calls on this."
The Heck family hasn't been "paying their bills on time so it will be a little while before she gets her braces off," said Eileen Heisler, executive producer, with a laugh.
It may turn out to be the longest teeth-straightening on record. "The Middle" is now in its fourth season on ABC's Wednesday-night schedule. Next fall the show begins airing in syndication on ABC Family and many broadcast stations, a visibility boost that often significantly helps ratings for original episodes of a program.