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.