I knew immediately from the first episode Malcolm in the Middle would be a show I could relate to. The house was dirty, the family got along but always insulted each other, and it was about being an outsider. I hate being compared to Frankie Muniz in any way possible because he’s not even 30 and is already having strokes, but in a lot of ways I could understand where Malcolm was coming from.
(Reese, Stevie, Francis, Breaking Bad guy, Lois, Malcolm, Dewey)
Malcolm in the Middle is about the Wilkerson Family although they only ever briefly mention the last name in one or two episodes. People always think they’re so smart when they know this. They act like they’re the only ones with Internet access. I hate people so much. See, I’m Malcolming already.
The star of the show is Frankie Muniz who plays Malcolm. Malcolm is a smart know-it-all middle child who has been put in the genius class at school which furthers his nerdness. This really wasn’t that big of a plot point later on other than the fact that he’s naturally brilliant despite growing up in such chaos. Malcolm was easily the worst character on the show. He looked like a monkey and got way too many girlfriends. How does someone who is a loser get girlfriends? What does that say about real people who can’t get any?
(This face is too incredibly strange to ever get a girl. He’s 12 and has a receding hairline)
Malcolm also had three brothers, four if you want to count the stupid baby in the later season. The oldest brother is Francis. Francis is a troublemaker and during the series spends it away from the family in a B or C storyline. He starts off in military school, moves to Alaska which he ends up hating, works at a dude ranch, and then he lives in a city. Francis is a great character and although he had little to do with the family he really balanced the show out.
Reese is the second oldest brother in the family. He takes after Francis in the troublemaking department but he’s not nearly as smart. In fact, Reese might be retarded. He’s a bit of a bully and is completely antisocial. In one episode Malcolm uses the insult that Reese has no friends. Reese begins to cry and says “Mom said you weren’t supposed to say that.” I always like idiot characters which is why Reese was a favorite of mine.
Dewey is the youngest kid, again if you don’t count the baby. He’s basically a younger Malcolm and suffers from “youngest child syndrome” on TV shows where he goes forgotten a lot of the time. Dewey does have a few good storylines though and is much better than stupid Mark from Home Improvement.
The parents on the show were incredibly memorable as well. Lois played by Jane Kaczkmarek (would you believe I spelled that right on the first try?) is a disciplinarian who will yell, punish, and do anything else whacky to get her point across. Deep down inside she does it because she knows her family needs the tough love. Hal played by Bryan Cranston is the complete opposite. He’s incredibly goofy and passive. Hal might be one of the most consistently funny characters, dead or otherwise, I have ever seen on television. Plus, if you’re a Breaking Bad fan it can be fun to go back and watch how Cranston spent the majority of his television career before becoming Walter White.
There were many other great characters on this show as well. There’s Stevie, a wheelchair bound friend of Malcolm’s who has some strange wheezing problem. There’s also–okay he’s the only other good character. That’s not say other cast members aren’t “characters” in that they’re silly but they’re nothing special. Overall though, this is a fantastic show and you’re a coward for never giving it a try. It’s basically Pete & Pete with more angst.
He had a lot of girlfriends? Hunh.
Bryan Cranston! So that’s where he was!
“He’s incredibly goofy and passive. Hal might be one of the most consistently funny characters, dead or otherwise, I have ever seen on television.”
I’ll try to find this someplace to watch. Thank you!
The only thing I knew about the show (until your wonderful post, here) is that the Mom was played by the lady who, in real life, was but is no longer married to Bradley Whitford — who played “Josh” in “The West Wing.” I love knowing pointless stuff like that.
That is really useful information and exactly why I appreciate you knowing it. Have you seen Modern Family at all? Hal’s basically a funnier version of Phil, smarter too. Sometimes it got lost in the Fox shuffle because of The Simpsons and Family Guy but it’s classic. Almost a more edgy Wonder Years especially early on.
“Modern Family?” No, I haven’t seen it. I know I should; I’d probably love it But it also seems like the kind of show that you need to see from early on to really “get.” Maybe it’s On Demand. I’ll look for it.
I pretty much stopped watching comedy on the 3 major networks when “Frasier” went away. Big exception was “Arrested Development.” I loved “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” have gotten used to “Veep,” and love a couple of others that aren’t billed as comedies but crack me up anyway. “Shameless” is one of those.
“The Office” was pretty good at first, when it was more like the British version that Gervais originally did. It slid downhill the past couple of years, though, I think. “Louie” was OK.
I’m a tough audience and I’m depending on you to point me in the right direction…LOL
I haven’t had cable for almost 4 years so I’m not sure how good I am. Modern Family Season One was good. Community is near and dear to my heart but it’s also about principal. I’m not sure if you’d like it but you would appreciate some of the jokes because it’s basically a conversation with me. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is good and you should at least watch it a little to recognize some sights. I hear Archer is good too, never seen it though. Girls who like me always like Archer. You like me don’t you? Hmm I still don’t think you’d like it though because I don’t think I’d like it much based on how I’ve never bothered to try to see it.
Perfect evaluation of the characters there, you were even polite enough to include the “stupid baby”!!
Thank you! Jamie brought the whole show to a halt. If Lois learned how to keep her legs closed in real life it would have been better. I like the show finale though how they check a pregnancy test and she’s knocked up again and all they can do is scream.
Whoops. 4 major networks. Not 3.
Hal was by far the funniest, most likable character. He was comparable to Stan’s dad on South Park. I think my favorite Hal moment was when he started carrying a purse.
I don’t remember the purse episode. Whenever he had his own storyline it was great. One of the last episodes they had was something about a bee stalking him and it ends with him violently crashing his car into a wall to kill the bee. Goofy dads are always the best.
Haa!! Found this quote about “Archer” —
“James Bond meets Arrested Development”  (Adam Reed, creator — quoted in a Wiki article on “Archer”) cited to ^ Levin, Gary (July 16, 2009). “FX’s ‘Archer’: Bond meets ‘Arrested Development'”. USA Today. Retrieved Sep. 15, 2010.
I like the info on “Archer” in the article and will watch what I can find on TV. I like you enough to report back about how worthy it is to be watched. Considering how much I hate homework assignments that’s saying a lot.
Also…I’ll give “Community” another try. Can’t remember why I didn’t keep watching it. Maybe there was a scheduling conflict. Same thing with “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” — I tried it and wandered away. I’ll wander back.
Different strokes for different folks.
A character (Archer?) says he owns an El Camino and tries to describe it to another character. A third one says it’s a “vehicular hermaphrodite.”
::runs like the wind::
I see the Arrested Development in this show now.
Hey great blog! I love Bryan Cranston and I love him in Breaking Bad, I wrote a beginners guide to it for newbies http://thedavidryan.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/beginners-guide-to-breaking-bad/ see what you think!
Why do your posts get fifteen comments and mine get 2 (counting my own comment!). You’re more likeable. And I do girly posts.
I’m sad to say that I only caught a few Malcolm in the Middle eps and not much more than that. I thought it was a good show but it always made me feel uneasy because the mom was mean and like you said, their house was dirty. Also Reese gave me anxiety because I never knew what he was going to do..I do like the example you gave of him crying though hahah I love when tough guys get sad.
Because I create fake WordPress accounts and then having conversations with myself. Didn’t only like 2 or 3 other people comment on this then we had a short conversation about the show? That’s not too impressive. I think people just feel bad for me.
I love the crying tough guy. Binky from Arthur was always a favorite of mine because he was a big softy on the inside.