Malcolm in the Middle

Malcolm in the Middle Information

Malcolm in the Middle is an American television sitcom created by Linwood Boomer for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series was first broadcast on January 9, 2000; it ended its six year run on May 14, 2006 after seven seasons and 151 episodes. The series received critical acclaim and won a Peabody Award, seven Emmy Awards, one Grammy Award and was nominated for seven Golden Globes.

The series follows a family of six (later seven), and stars Frankie Muniz in the lead role of Malcolm, a more-or-less normal boy who tests at genius level. He enjoys being smart, but he despises having to take classes for gifted children, who are mocked by the other students who call them "Krelboynes", a reference to the nerdy Seymour Krelboyne from The Little Shop of Horrors. Jane Kaczmarek is Malcolm's overbearing, authoritarian mother, Lois, and Bryan Cranston plays his disengaged but loving father Hal. Christopher Masterson plays eldest brother Francis, a former rebel who, in earlier episodes, was in military school, but eventually marries and settles into a steady job. Justin Berfield is Malcolm's dimwitted older brother Reese, a schoolyard bully who tortures Malcolm at home even while he defends him at school. Younger brother Dewey, genius musician, is portrayed by Erik Per Sullivan. For the first several seasons, the show's focus was on Malcolm. As the series progressed, however, it began to explore all six members of the family rather equally. A fifth son"?Jamie"?was introduced as a baby towards the middle of the series.

"Malcolm in the Middle" was produced by Satin City and Regency Television in association with Fox Television Studios (syndicated by Fox corporate sibling 20th Television).

The show has proven popular worldwide and has been syndicated in 57 countries. In the United States, it had been syndicated during the day on FX and at night on Nickelodeon's sister channel TeenNick, as well as local stations. In the United Kingdom, it originally aired on BBC Two before moving to Sky1, its HD counterpart and Sky2, however after Sky stopped airing repeats of the show, the rights were bought by Channel 5 and are now shown on 5*. In Ireland it aired on TV3's sister channel 3e .It had also been syndicated on Network Ten in Australia (originally airing on the Nine Network) and on Comedy Central In India. In Canada, episodes were shown on the Global Television Network.

The show placed No. 88 on Entertainment Weekly "New TV Classics" list, and was named by Alan Sepinwall of as one of the 10 best shows in Fox network history.


Set in a suburban neighborhood in the fictional Tri-County Area, Malcolm in the Middle is about a boy named Malcolm and his dysfunctional family. The show stars Frankie Muniz as Malcolm, the third of four (later five) boys, his brothers and their parents, Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) and Hal (Bryan Cranston). The oldest, Francis (Christopher Masterson), was sent away to military school, leaving at home his three younger brothers, Reese (Justin Berfield), Malcolm and Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan), Malcolm being the middle child still at home. In season four, the character Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez) was added to the show as the fifth son. The show's early seasons centered on Malcolm dealing with the rigors of being an adolescent and enduring the eccentricities of his life. Later seasons gradually explored the other members of the family and their friends in more depth, including others such as Craig Feldspar, Stevie Kenarban, and Stevie's dad Abe.

The series was different from many others in that Malcolm broke the fourth wall by talking directly to the viewer, all scenes were shot using a single camera and the show employed neither a laugh track nor a live studio audience. The series was also filmed entirely on-location. Emulating the style of hour-long dramas, this half-hour show was shot on film instead of video. Another unique aspect of the show is that the cold open of every episode is unrelated to the main story. Exceptions were episodes which were the conclusions of "two-parters"; each part two episode opened with a recap of its part one episode.


See Characters of Malcolm in the Middle for more information

The family

  • Malcolm (Frankie Muniz): the title character of the series. Malcolm is a genius, and because of this, is placed in a class for gifted students (or Krelboynes as they are known at the school). His intelligence, as well as feelings of not fitting in, and his ego are the primary causes of most problems he faces throughout the series. As the title suggests, Malcolm is the middle child of the family, third-born of four at the start of the series, later of five after the birth of Jamie and apparently six after the last episode. His best friend is Stevie, a wheelchair-using fellow Krelboyne with a severe breathing problem.
  • Lois (Jane Kaczmarek): the hot-headed and stubborn mother of the family. She struggles throughout the series to keep her badly behaved boys in check while maintaining a job at a Lucky Aide drugstore. She is seen by her sons as a somewhat tyrannical figure and a crazed control freak.
  • Hal (Bryan Cranston): The somewhat childish but caring father of Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie and husband to Lois. He has a lighter touch with the boys than Lois, but can still hand out discipline when necessary. With a suppressed wild side that Lois seems to have tamed, Hal seems constantly on the edge of some kind of breakdown; when things get to be too much, he often goes into a howling, wailing state of panic and frustration.
  • Reese (Justin Berfield): the most impulsive member of the family and has little common sense. He is the older brother of Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie and younger brother to Francis. Throughout the series, he is shown to be a bully, getting much enjoyment from the misfortune of others and handing out beatings to students at school and to his younger brothers at home. Despite being unwilling to think, he enjoys cooking and baking"?which he is shown to be very talented at on many occasions"?and a natural born soldier.
  • Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan): the youngest brother of Malcolm, Reese, and Francis. His role is usually that of the victim to his brothers. Dewey is very intelligent, like Malcolm and he is even able to fool and manipulate Malcolm in later episodes. However, his real talent lies in music. Among other accomplishments, he has composed his own opera for his classmates to perform. Despite his intelligence, he is placed in a remedial class for slower students (or Buseys) due to a misunderstanding. This does little to affect his performance, though, and he actually makes the best of the situation by acting as their self-appointed teacher. By the seventh and final season of the show, it seemed to be implied that he was no longer in the Busey class. He was the youngest for several seasons, until Jamie was born.
  • Francis (Christopher Kennedy Masterson): the oldest brother. Due to his extremely bad behavior, he is sent to a military school in Alabama, run by the strict Commandant Spangler (Daniel von Bargen). He is there when the series begins, remaining there until the beginning of the third season, when he has himself legally emancipated and travels to Alaska. Once in Alaska he works at a logging camp where he meets and marries Piama (Emy Coligado), a woman of Inuit heritage. When the camp closes they move to a Wild West-themed hotel and ranch in the western U.S. called the Grotto, run by kindly but eccentric German Otto Mannkusser and his wife Gretchen. Francis and his mother are in a mutual love-hate relationship.
  • Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez): the youngest brother until the very last episode. Despite his infancy, he is already shown to have some of his brothers' habits such as stealing and rudeness to his mother; he is also the only brother who tried to kill her (by throwing down shelves to her, but she managed to roll out in the last second).

Recurring characters

  • Craig Lamar Traylor as Stevie Kenarban, Malcolm's best friend who's in the Krelboyne class and uses a wheelchair. He has lung problems, so he can only speak few words in one breath, which puts some funny pauses into the conversation.
  • David Anthony Higgins as Craig Feldspar, Lois' overweight coworker, who has a crush on Lois. He is very geeky and self-absorbed. In the rare event he is given actual power, he can also be as bossy as Lois.
  • Emy Coligado as Piama Tananahaakna, Francis' wife. She is an Inuit Native American and does not get along well with Lois likely because they are both rather controlling. She is a good wife to Francis and helps him resolve troublesome situations.
  • Eric Nenninger as Eric Hanson, Francis' somewhat naive friend from military school who precedes Francis to Alaska. It is his call which brings Francis to Alaska.
  • Catherine Lloyd Burns as Caroline Miller, Malcolm's "overly earnest" teacher. She ardently adores Malcolm due to his intelligence. Francis uses her adoration to pay a medical bill to stitch up Malcolm in one episode.
  • Kenneth Mars as Otto Mannkusser, Francis' boss who owns the ranch he works at after he leaves Alaska. He is of German descent, and he is kind-hearted person.
  • Evan Matthew Cohen, Kyle Sullivan, Kristin Quick, Will Jennings and Victor Z. Isaac all play Krelboynes from Malcolm's class.
  • Gary Anthony Williams as Abe Kenarban, Stevie's overprotective father and Hal's best friend.
  • Daniel von Bargen as Commandant Edwin Spangler, the head of Marlin Academy. He is missing his right eye, his left hand, and his ring finger on his right hand, and he actually never served war time. He despises Francis because he fought against him. In the end, he loses his other hand.
  • Cloris Leachman as Grandma Ida, Lois' mother and Malcolm's grandmother. She despises Francis and Lois. The whole family hates her. She lost her leg saving Dewey from being hit by a truck.
  • Meagen Fay as Gretchen Mannkusser, Otto's wife who helps out at the ranch.
  • Karim Prince as Cadet Stanley, Marlin Academy student and Francis' best friend and informal bodyguard during the show's first season.
  • Kasan Butcher, Drew Powell and Arjay Smith all play Francis' friends at Marlin Academy.
  • Sandy Ward, John Ennis, Richard Gross and Christopher Michael Moore all play Francis' friends at the Alaskan logging camp.
  • Dan Martin, Jonathan Craig Williams, Edward James Gage and Alex Morris all play Hal's poker friends.
  • Chris Eigeman as Lionel Herkabe, the second teacher of the Krelboyne class and a former Krelboyne himself. Despite sharing many of the same personality traits, he and Malcolm hate each other. He is also bossy, stubborn and sadistic.
  • Brenda Wehle as Lavernia, Francis' first boss, a malevolent woman.
  • Merrin Dungey played two different, unrelated characters. In the pilot episode Dungey plays Malcolm's teacher before he transfers to the Krelboyne class. Later in the first season, she appears as Kitty Kenarban, Stevie's mother who left him and Abe, but then returned.
  • Todd Giebenhain as Richie, Francis' friend.
  • Cameron Monaghan, Danny McCarthy and Amy Bruckner as Dewey's special-ed class friends.
  • Tania Raymonde as Cynthia, a Krelboyne girl who had a crush on Malcolm but left for Europe and later returned. Her dad is played by Fred Sanders.
  • Hayden Panettiere as Jessica, a girl hired to babysit Reese, Malcolm, and Dewey who later ends up living on their couch after her dad is arrested.
  • Landry Allbright as Julie Houlerman, a girl who Malcolm had a crush on.
  • Julie Hagerty as Polly, Jamie's babysitter.
  • Steve Vinovich as Mr. Hodges, the school principal (season 7).


Main article: List of Malcolm in the Middle episodes


Opening titles

The opening titles feature short clips from cult films or television shows, edited together with clips from the early seasons of the TV series. The original opening includes, in order of appearance:

  • Three men fighting a giant turtle: From One Million Years B.C. (1966)
  • Grinning animated man in rain: Shiogami from the anime Nazca
  • The monster rising out of the ocean is the Kraken: From Clash of the Titans (1981)
  • Woman being held above a nest of hungry pterodactyls: From One Million Years B.C. (1966)
  • Dimetrodon -like lizard crawling on rocks: From A Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Anime boy skateboarding: From the anime Nazca
  • Mud-monster grabbing a woman as she kisses a man: From Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961)
  • Man ski-jumping while ignited in flames: Thrill Seekers
  • Wrestling match: Bret Hart locking Chris Benoit in the Sharpshooter during the WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match at WCW Mayhem 1999 PPV in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Robot head being assembled: From the BBC series Out of the Unknown episode Liar! (1969)
  • Man attacking giant brain with an axe: From The Brain from Planet Arous (1957)
  • Boxer knocking out referee: Cuban Pedro Cardenas fighting Canadian Willie DeWitt but accidentally KOing referee Bert Lowes instead, during the 1982 North American Championships in Las Vegas.


Much of the filming for Malcolm in the Middle was done on location in various parts of the Thirty Mile Zone around Los Angeles. A privately owned home, located at 12334 Cantura Street in Studio City, was rented for upwards of $3,000 a day to film as Malcolm's house. School scenes were filmed at Walter Reed Middle School, also in Studio City, and the Lucky Aide was represented by a Drug Emporium at 6020 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. In "Stock Car Races," when Hal and the boys are entering a race track, the billboard behind the entrance displays the place as Irwindale Speedway, a real race track in Southern California. The last episode in the first season ("Waterpark") was filmed at a water park called Wild Rivers located in Irvine, California.

Studio filming for Malcolm in the Middle took place at 20th Century Fox Studios at 10201 Pico Boulevard in the Century City district of Los Angeles.


The show's theme song, "Boss of Me", was written and recorded by the alternative rock group They Might Be Giants. The song won the "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" award at the 2002 Grammy Awards. The band also performed nearly all of the incidental music for the show in its first two seasons.

Mood setting music is sprinkled throughout the series, in replacement of the laugh track, in a way that resembles feature film more than other TV sitcoms. Some examples of this highly varied music include ABBA, Basement Jaxx, Sum 41, Kenny Rogers, Lords Of Acid, The Getaway People, En Vogue, Electric Light Orchestra, Phil Collins, Quiet Riot, Queen, Titán and Citizen King whose song "Better Days" is played at the end of both the pilot episode and the series finale. The Southern California pop-punk band Lit have many of their songs featured in several episodes. Lit songs that were never released as singles were also used.

A soundtrack, Music from Malcolm in the Middle, was released on November 21, 2000.

Home media

Only the first season of Malcolm in the Middle has been released on DVD in the US. Season 2 was going to be released in autumn 2003, but was cancelled due to high costs of music clearances.

DVD nameUS Release dateUK Release dateEp ## of DiscsAdditional information
The Complete First Season163 Extended pilot episode, A Stroke of Genius featurette, commentary on select episodes, gag reel, deleted scenes, alternate show openings, bloopers, Dewey's Day Job featurette.
The Complete Second SeasonN/A254
The Complete Third SeasonN/A223
The Complete Fourth SeasonN/A223
In February 2012, it was announced that Fabulous Films would be releasing the first season of the show in the UK in April, as well as releasing each subsequent season the following month, ending with a complete series set near Christmas 2012. However, in late March, 2012, several retailers had removed the release date from their websites, this was later revealed to be because of "technical issues with the Masters" and that the release date had been pushed back to June. Other seasons will now follow on either a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

All the UK DVD releases are intact as originally aired with no cuts, and with the original music.



The show quickly gained a large viewer base, starting off with ratings of 23 million for the debut episode and 26 million for the second episode.

Fox shuffled the show's air time repeatedly to make room for other shows, eventually giving it a free pass in its seventh and last season. On January 13, 2006, Fox announced that the show would be moving to 7:00 pm on Sundays effective January 29, 2006. On January 17, 2006, Fox announced the cancellation of the series, with the 151st and final episode airing at 8:30 pm ET/PT (the show's original timeslot) on May 14, 2006. The finale was watched by 7.4 million.

Season Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st January 9, 2000 May 21, 2000 1999"2000 #18 15.2
2nd November 5, 2000 May 20, 2001 2000"2001 #22 14.5
3rd November 11, 2001 May 12, 2002 2001"2002 #25 13.0
4th November 3, 2002 May 18, 2003 2002"2003 #43 10.7
5th November 2, 2003 May 23, 2004 2003"2004 #71 8.4
6th November 7, 2004 May 15, 2005 2004"2005 #99 5.6
7th September 30, 2005 May 14, 2006 2005"2006 #127 3.8
In Australia, in 2001 Malcolm in the Middle premiered on Channel Nine, Monday nights at 8:00 pm It rated strongly, with the help from its lead in Friends, which at the time rated 2,279,000, 2,031,000 and 2,410,000 as the night's most watched show, and year's 2nd most watched TV program. Malcolm in the Middle's ratings included 1,952,000, 1,925,000, 1,712,000, 1,644,000, and sometimes rating over the 2 million mark: 2,002,000, 2,008,000.

In France, the show first aired daily at 8 pm in December 2001, on M6, but did not find its public and was quickly off schedule. Then, when the show made its comeback in the summer of 2003 at noon, it had a big success. The last seasons had over 1.5 million viewers and a share sometimes over 30%. Due to the show's popularity, the network is currently still broadcasting reruns.

In the UK, in April 2001, 6 months after it was shown on Sky1 it premiered on terrestrial television on BBC2 at 6:45 pm on Fridays, where the first episode gained 3.3 million. With the success of the first season, season 2 was moved to prime-time the following year at 8:30 pm. It is now shown weekdays on 5* which began January 3, 2011.

In Mexico, the national channel Canal 5 still plays reruns of the series daily from 7:00 pm to 9:20 pm, five episodes in a row. The show first aired back on 2001 at 3:00 pm and have had many changes since then, crossing over the channel 4 of the same network, and gained high ratings ever since and still.

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Malcolm in the Middle
Jane Kaczmarek and Cloris Leachman gained the highest honors in the cast for being nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award every year they appeared on Malcolm in the Middle. Cloris Leachman succeeded in winning 2002 and 2005. The show won a total of 7 Emmys during its six year run.


The show entered barter-syndication one month before the sixth season premiered on Fox and was later aired on FX in the fall of 2007 until the fall of 2010. When the show entered syndication all of the TV-14 episodes had to be changed to TV-PG since they did not meet the syndication standards for a TV-14 rating. However Netflix categorizes the show under TV-14 (despite the only episode to use that rating is "Poker #2"). The show was launched on Nick at Nite on July 5, 2009 at 8:00 pm with an all night marathon. However, Nick at Nite used the changed ratings to keep the show family friendly and remove adult content from the episodes. When Nick at Nite pulled Malcolm it began airing on TeenNick from November 26, 2010 and continued until December 2010. On July 18, 2011, the show returned to TeenNick's line-up. On September 26, 2011, Malcolm in the Middle began airing on IFC. As of March 2013, the show has returned to TeenNick airing weeknights at 10:00 pm (EST) and again at 10:30 pm (EST).

In the UK, the show was originally aired on Sky1 from September 3, 2000 until December 2010, and was also shown on BBC2 from April 6, 2001 until around 2009. As of January 4, 2010, it is currently being shown on Fiver (now 5*) (at 6:00 pm and again at about 7:30 pm).

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Malcolm_in_the_Middle" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



Page generated in 0.28671288490295 seconds