The ABC sitcom will air its final episode on Tuesday after nine seasons, but the cast isn't crying just yet. ET's Keltie Knight was with Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher and Atticus Shaffer on set as they finished up filming on their series finale -- and revealed why now is the perfect time for the Heck family's story to come to a close.
"There is only so much time you can go. You don't want to follow people for the entire lifetime of their characters, and the kids grew up, and the story has been told, I think," Flynn explained. "It's time to step out before it's too late."
"I think that we were at the top of our game and I think that's how you want to leave," Heaton added. "You don't want people pushing you out."
The cast and crew were given a season's notice that the show would be coming to an end this year, enough time to give the series a "fitting ending," according to Sher.
"I think it's satisfying... in a very like, 'Yes, that is the way it should end,'" she revealed.
"This was a nice way of wrapping it all up and trying to give closure to [the fans] as much as to us, and I think that this episode achieves that," Shaffer chimed in.
Nineteen-year-old Shaffer was really just a kid when the show premiered in 2009 -- something that's not lost on his TV parents, or himself.
"I know we spent a good chunk of our lives here, but for these kids, it's half of their life. It's crazy," Flynn expressed.
"This is has been more than half my life," Shaffer said. "I've grown up, I've spent all my teenage years, most of my childhood, here on the lot, and I've told people very honestly, 'It is terrifying 'cause this is the only thing that I've known... There's still going to be the emotional factor of, 'Oh wow, I'm not going to come back to my lot that I love, that's been my home away from home in a couple months.' So there is going to be a weight to that."
Lucky for the cast, they'll have a few props from set to remember The Middle by.
"There are a handful of posters in Sue's room that are going up in my art room, up in my office," Sher confessed, as McDermott said he had his eye on a kitchen stool.
"I have a ton of scenes on it. It's really comfortable," he reasoned.
Heaton, meanwhile, took one last opportunity to poke a little fun at the Heck family's humble household.
"If you see our set, there is nothing that you will really want," Heaton cracked. "Plus, they tag every piece of crap on the set that has a tag on it. They know what it is."
"I'm taking my director's crack pipe," she joked.
The series finale of The Middle airs Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.