Movie Reviews

15 Best Episodes Of Malcolm In The Middle (According To IMDb)

Much loved sitcom Malcolm in the Middle might have had one of the most dysfunctional families to ever appear on television. Told from Malcolm’s point of view for most of its 150 episodes, the series followed four (and later five) brothers as they fought for dominance in their suburban household. In reality, their mother was in control of everything.

For seven seasons, Lois Wilkerson did her best to plan every aspect of her children’s lives, but she couldn’t plan out every best episode. According to IMDb, these episodes rank as the best of the series. Ranging from 8.2 to 9.2 out of 10 stars, all of them beat out the eight-star average for the series as a whole.

The pilot episode of the series introduces the whole Wilkerson family and focuses on Malcolm, the middle son, as he narrates the entire episode – just like he will for the rest of the series.

RELATED: The Worst Things The Boys Did To Lois On Malcolm In The Middle

It’s revealed in the first episode that Malcolm has a genius-level IQ, so he’s moved into a special class, the Krelboyne class, that is full of other genius kids like himself. Malcolm has a difficult time adjusting during the pilot. Malcolm’s difficulty fitting in, and his difficulty fitting into new situations, provide the blueprint for his family’s misadventures throughout the entire series.

This is one of the rare Malcolm in the MIddle episodes that doesn’t entirely feature the family in different directions. Instead, the entire family is united in their efforts to attend Burning Man, a festival in Nevada. It all starts when Reese and Malcolm attempt to sneak out to attend on their own, but their surprisingly touching speech about creativity and art gets the rest of the family interested too when they’re caught.

While each member of their family has their own adventure, or in Dewey’s case, their own work to do, at the festival, their stories ultimately intersect in that they all find something unexpected at the festival. Most of the comedy might come from Dewey’s experiences doing chores, but the episode is still a fun one for fans.

This episode sees Lois’s disastrous birthday as she gives each of the kids $10 to give her a present, and instead they all pool it together to buy something else for themselves.

Her husband, Hal, also forgets her birthday, which of course makes things even worse. Lois Wilkerson might be one of the strongest moms on TV, but this episode reminds the audience that she needs time to herself as well. She escapes the family to let off some steam at the batting cages, but the family tries their best to make it up to her while Francis brings home a new girlfriend.

Hal attempts to take the family’s old couch to the dump, but accidentally loses it on the trip and causes a train accident that affects the entire town. Hal tries to make it up to everyone to no avail at first while his kids get into trouble.

Dewey tries to make everyone believe that he’s an orphan while Reese starts a black market system and Malcolm is grounded. There’s also a storyline where Francis goes on a unique double date. There are a lot of separate storylines going on in this episode, but ultimately, the whole family ends up together, keeping the audience entertained.

Malcolm has to attend a picnic for his new class of geniuses, and he doesn’t want to embarrass himself when he has to put on an act with the other kids. Eldest brother Francis is home for the weekend and agrees to help Malcolm get out of it, that is until he meets a girl at the picnic and forgets the plan. Lois tries to fit in with the other genius kid’s parents and has a difficult time while Hal breaks the no-meat rule by serving some barbeque.

Some of the funniest Malcolm in the Middle episodes involve his family life crossing paths with his school life, and this one is no exception. Malcolm’s worlds clash pretty violently, and he has to find a way to get through it.

Only the second episode, “Red Dress” happened to be the most-watched episode of the first season when it aired. It’s not a perfect episode, but it’s a great snapshot of what the show had in store. Lois and Hal Wilkerson are supposed to celebrate their anniversary. While Hal waits at the restaurant, Lois finds her perfect red dress burned in the bathroom.

So sure that one of the boys did it, she spends the entire night punishing them instead of going to dinner. For their part, Malcolm and Reese call their older brother Francis for help dealing with her. Of course, it was Hal who accidentally ruined the dress, though no one finds that out. The war between Lois and her sons, while Hal is oblivious, and Francis is off on his own adventure is a template for the entire run of the show.

Reese Wilkerson is one of the show’s biggest troublemakers and shows this during this two-part episode where he runs away to join the army after his girlfriend cheats on him with his younger brother Malcolm. Chaos ensues as Reese gets himself and his team captured during their training exercises and the secondary plot continues.

The first part saw Hal arrested for possible criminal activity at his job and the evidence keeps piling up against him as this episode shows Hal on trial. Malcolm in the Middle didn’t have a lot of multi-part episodes. Instead, the series managed to tie up a lot of its more ridiculous storylines in just around 20 minutes, so fans were always curious to see how the longer storylines would play out.

It wouldn’t be a sitcom without a wish-fulfillment episode, would it? Here, it’s Lois who imagines a new world that the fans get to watch play out. After a stressful trip to the mall with her sons, Lois wonders what it would have been like to have daughters instead.

RELATED: 10 Best Characters On Malcolm In The Middle, Ranked

What she imagines reveals that her daughters might not have been physically destructive, but they’d become even more emotionally manipulative than the boys she’s raising. It’s an interesting window into Lois’ imagination, especially considering she still hopes she’s going to have a daughter at the end of the episode.

While on the way home from a water park, the family ends up stuck in a massive traffic jam. Hal lets a car pass them, and that car ends up in an accident that brings all traffic to a standstill. As a result of the accident, Lois spends her time yelling at officials trying to do their jobs, Hal freaks out that it could have been their car, Malcolm develops a crush on a girl stuck in traffic as well, and Reese goes to war with an ice cream vendor.

If all that wasn’t enough to entertain the audience, Dewey’s on his own adventure home. There is so much to keep the audience laughing that it isn’t surprising it ranks as one of the best episodes of Malcolm in the Middle.

This season one episode reversed a bit of the usual dynamic. While Hal was often unaware of what activities the boys got up to, this time he was responsible for punishing Malcolm. Tired of running during hockey games, Malcolm decides to ask his father to teach him to skate. His temper gets the better of him during lessons, leading him to yell at Hal and use a curse word.

Lois has no time to deal with it, despite Hal asking for help, because she injured her back and Reese has been slipping medicine into her drinks to keep her calm. Hal eventually comes up with a creative way to get Malcolm to understand his actions – making him recite insults and curse words directly to his father. The episode is a nice change from the norm and demonstrates that Hal isn’t so hapless, while Malcolm gets to best Reese at a sport.

Season one ended with a family trip. Lois, Hal, Reese, and Malcolm went to a water park for a day of fun in the sun. Of course, because it’s Malcolm in the Middle, the day doesn’t go as planned. Hal and Lois just want to be young and carefree again, so they sneak some adult beverages into the park, intending to spend some time away from the kids.

RELATED: 10 Episodes Of Malcolm In The Middle That Didn’t Age Well

Malcolm and Reese, however, ruin that by attempting to pull pranks on one another. The bright spot in the episode might be Bea Arthur’s guest-starring appearance. She plays the woman babysitting Dewey while he’s home with an ear infection. Golden Girls fans loved seeing her back on TV.

Though Lois usually spends her time trying to discipline her sons, in season seven, a surprising turn of events had her on the side of at least one of them.

In “Lois Strikes Back,” Reese is the target of a prank by several girls at school. When Reese becomes depressed, Lois decides to get revenge for him. Only Malcolm figures out she’s the one making the girls’ lives miserable, and he attempts to stop her. It’s unsettling to see a mother of five picking on teenage girls, but perhaps fans like it so much because it’s one of Emma Stone’s earlier roles. Emma Stone is still one guest star fans would like to see in a Malcolm in the Middle revival series.

As miserable as Lois typically makes her boys, they’re still family. In “Family Reunion”, the audience gets to see what happens when the boys decide to be on the same side as Lois.

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