Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2005)

This is another one of those shows that gets funnier with time. I first came across the series when I was single, but I must say that I was able to better appreciate the subtleties after having kids. Every character in the show is cast so well that you would have no doubt that they are a real family. I found myself googling if the kids were Lois’ kids because the chemistry they have on screen is amazing. 😀

The plot revolves around Malcolm, a child genius (with an IQ of 180) who faces very unusual challenges while trying to blend into a public school environment. He is growing up on a poor household with dumb siblings and burned out parents who can’t keep their hands off each other. The interesting twist is that despite his intelligence, he find himself involved in the dumbest of situations. It is precisely the clever build up to the dumb outcomes that makes this show amazingly funny, not to mention the dysfunctional dynamics that exist between all the characters. All of them are hilarious, so it is very hard for me to pick favorites.

If you have never seen this show, I definitely recommend it! I have laughed until I cried.

Here are my favorite episodes. Enjoy!

S1. EP13- Rollerskates

Malcolm feels isolated by his intelligence and decides that he wants to play street hockey with the neighborhood kids. There is only one problem, he can’t skate… So, he asks Reese (his older brother) to teach him how to skate, after all dad taught him. Reese is so traumatized that he refuses to talk about it. So, Malcolm gathers the courage to ask his dad. This episode does a great job adding depth to Hal’s character (the dad) who up to that point plays the role of the helpless shy man of the house. It turns out that dad (Bryan Craston also starring Breaking Bad- believe it or not) has some hidden real life talents. There is one problem with his technique, it only works with certain triggers. Interesting fact is that Bryan Craston was in fact a figure skater at one point in his life and the writers of the show found a way of incorporating it into the story to showcase it. Now, that is what I call good writing!

S2. EP18- Reese Cooks

Just when you thought things could not get any weirder, we discover that another one of the boys has a special talent. Have you ever heard of a monk-fish turkey dinner? By this time we begin to see that everyone in the family is quite unique in their own way. The sad part is that despite all their gifts they never seem to be able to reap any benefits. Just when it seemed that they caught a break… watch the actual episode until the end, the one below is only a clip.

S4. EP10- If boys were girls

These parents are so strange, somehow they manage to treat each other like two love birds despite all the craziness that goes on in the house. That is why it is not surprising when Mr. Stork decides to pay them a visit… Again. Lois is feeling overwhelmed by the pregnancy while raising four crazy boys. She is contemplating taking them to the mall to do some school shopping for a few hours. When Hal asks her if she would prefer the baby to be a specific gender, she allows herself to daydream about what it would be like if she had girls instead of boys. This is another amazingly written episode, it turns out that gender may not be what is causing the boys to act up. Perhaps Lois should take a hard look in the mirror?

S4. EP19-Future Malcolm

Lois can’t figure out why she is gaining so much weight, could Hal’s infatuation with her new curves have something to do with it? Jane Kaczmarek (Lois) was pregnant at the time in real life and the writing team again found a way of playing with this in the story. In the mean time, Malcolm is struggling with finding his calling, he is smart but not motivated. He suddenly finds the answer through meeting someone just as smart as him who never graduated from being an A-hole :D. Dewey starts hearing voices and Francis poses nude at first for some extra money, but quickly becomes demanding on his benefactors. Another great episode that showcases the madness and uniqueness of each character.

S6. EP13- Tiki Lounge

Tired of constantly dealing with the kids and never making ends meet, Lois and Hal decide that they need a sanctuary of their own. The enlist the help of the boys to make this dream come true and work really hard to create a space primed for intimacy and connection, only to make some startling discoveries. For instance, that they have never had a conversation that was longer than 5 minutes during their whole marriage. I was not able to find a clip for this one so will have to do with the whole episode 😀 You will have to watch til the end to discover what they learn about each other.

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