14 May 2006
| 8/10 |
9 January 2000
Boss of Me
| Linwood Boomer
Erik Per Sullivan
Catherine Lloyd Burns
James and Lukas Rodriguez
"Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants
"Boss of Me" (instrumental)
Frankie Muniz, Bryan Cranston, Erik Per Sullivan, Jane Kaczmarek, Justin Berfield
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, and 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 seven Golden Globe nominations.
The series follows a family of six, and later seven, and stars Frankie Muniz in the lead role of Malcolm, a somewhat normal boy who tests at genius level. While he enjoys his intelligence, he despises having to take classes for gifted children, who are mocked by the other students who call them "Krelboynes". Jane Kaczmarek is Malcolm's overbearing, authoritarian mother, Lois, and Bryan Cranston plays his immature 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 cruel bully who tortures Malcolm at home, even while he defends him at school. Younger brother Dewey, bitter about his ruined childhood, smart, and musically talented, is portrayed by Erik Per Sullivan. At first, the show's focus was on Malcolm, but as the series progressed, it began to explore all six members of the family. A fifth son, Jamie, was introduced as a baby at the end of Season 4.
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. It's also currently being syndicated by IFC every Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings at 8:00am EST. In the United Kingdom, it originally aired on Sky 1 then eventually began on BBC Two on 6 April 2001, its HD counterpart and Sky 2, however after Sky stopped airing repeats of the show, the rights were bought by Channel 5 and the show was shown on 5Star. Since 2016, the show airs on Comedy Central. In Ireland it aired on TV3's sister channel 3e. It was also syndicated on Network Ten from 2009 to 2010 and on Eleven from February 2011 in Australia (originally airing on the Nine Network, 2001–2009) and on Comedy Central in India. In Canada, episodes were shown on the Global Television Network.
The show received universal acclaim from critics and proved an extremely popular draw for the network. It was placed No. 88 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list, and was named by Alan Sepinwall of HitFix as one of the 10 best shows in Fox network history.
Malcolm in the Middle Wikipedia
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 first, Francis (Christopher Masterson), was sent away to military school, leaving at home his three 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 centered on Malcolm dealing with the rigors of being a child and enduring the eccentricities of his life early on. Later seasons gradually explored the other members of the family and their friends in more depth, including others such as Craig Feldspar, Lois's coworker, Malcolm's friend 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 setup, and the show employed neither a laugh track nor a live studio audience. Emulating the style of hour-long dramas, this half-hour show was shot on film instead of video. Another distinctive 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.Malcolm (Frankie Muniz): the title character of the series. Malcolm is a genius with an IQ of 165 and a photographic memory. He 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 a large ego fueled by a cruel streak of snarkiness cause numerous problems for him over the course of the series. As the title suggests, Malcolm is initially the middle child of the three living at home; chronologically, he is Hal and Lois's third son. His best friend is Stevie Kenarban. In the series finale, he graduates from high school and starts attending a prestigious college by both scholarship and working various jobs, specifically as a janitor at Harvard University.
Lois (Jane Kaczmarek): The family's hot-headed and stubborn mother. An intelligent and decisive woman, most of her bullishness comes from her constant battles throughout the series to keep her badly behaved, highly destructive boys in check, while maintaining a menial job at a Lucky Aide drugstore. Despite her constant aggressiveness, she is motherly and will defend her family fiercely, especially towards neighbors and others who view them as poor trash. Lois is disliked by both Hal's wealthy family and her own parents. She has a younger sister named Susan, who blames Lois for stealing Hal from her. Neighbors despise Lois and her boys and celebrate the weekends when they're gone. In the series finale, she discovered that she and Hal are expecting a 6th child.
Hal (Bryan Cranston): Hal is Lois's husband and father to Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie. Hal is a well-meaning, loving, but inept and somewhat immature father, and is completely dependent on Lois, whom he loves absolutely. He comes from a wealthy family that does not accept Lois as his wife and wishes that he married Susan instead. Because his family is disrespectful towards Lois, he rarely mentions them and avoids his family. Hal loves his boys and will sometimes sneak them out for fun father-son activities behind Lois's back. Hal is an indecisive character who frequently picks up new hobbies for short periods of time, such as speed walking, or painting, and is irresponsible with the money he earns from his low-paying desk job. His indecisiveness was explored in "Living Will" from a childhood which he had a hard time making decisions for himself and because of this, he always deferred to Lois to make them for him. In the series finale, he discovered that he and Lois are expecting a 6th child. Hal is also a sex addict, this was revealed in the episode "Forbidden Girlfriend" when Lois is taking medication and is unable to have sex for an entire week, it is mentioned again in the episode "Poker 2" when Hal tells his friends he has sex 14 times per week. Hals best friend is Abe Kenarban.
Francis (Christopher Masterson): Hal and Lois's first son. At the beginning of the series, he is attending military school in Alabama, run by the strict Commandant Spangler (Daniel von Bargen). It is shown that his parents enjoyed a promising middle-class, comfortable lifestyle before he was born and that he was such a difficult, destructive child that that dream soon ended. He has himself legally emancipated at the start of Season 3, leaves the school, and travels to Alaska. He finds work at a logging camp and later meets and marries Piama (Emy Coligado), a girl of Inuit heritage. When the camp closes, they move to the western United States and take jobs at a Wild West-themed hotel/ranch, run by kindly but eccentric German, Otto Mannkusser (Kenneth Mars), and his wife, Gretchen (Meagen Fay). Francis and his mother have a mutual love-hate war of wills and his main motivation in life is to thwart or irk her (though, ironically, he marries a woman with the same personality as Lois.) Although a juvenile delinquent, he is street-smart. Francis becomes a less frequently seen character after season 5, becoming an occasional recurring character and making only a small handful of appearances in Season 6 and the final Season 7. Whereas he was featured regularly in previous seasons as a side-story to the main family, Francis's steady job disappeared in season 6 due to legal issues, and he returned to being a delinquent, leading a questionable and poor lifestyle with his wife, Piama, until it is revealed in the final episode of season 7, "Graduation", that Francis has a steady desk job sorting out computers. He admits he likes his job to Hal, but also enjoys frustrating Lois by telling her that he's unemployed. Francis and Piama are expecting their first child.
Reese (Justin Berfield): Hal and Lois's second son. He is the older brother of Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie, and younger brother of Francis. Reese is the most impulsive and physical of the boys. He lacks common sense, is frequently outwitted by other family members, and is gleefully violent. Despite being unwilling to think, Reese is as much a genius as his brothers, though in less traditional or obvious ways. Reese is better than Malcolm at devising plans, and is masterful at the rare things which can pin his drifting focus, such as driving, or when he's revealed to be a Culinary prodigy, excelling at cooking and baking. In the series finale, he finally graduates from high school after intentionally failing before, obtained full employment as a high school custodian, and shares an apartment with Craig.
Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan): Hal and Lois's fourth son. He is the youngest child until the birth of Jamie, and often falls victim to his brothers' pranks. Dewey is very intelligent and musically gifted. He plays the piano. He has a very high tolerance for pain due to years of physical and mental abuse from his brothers. Despite his intelligence, he is placed in a remedial class for slower students (or "Buseys") due to a misunderstanding. Dewey remains in the class and serves as their self-appointed teacher. By the seventh and final season of the show, the Busey class is no longer mentioned. He is the only sibling that eventually breaks the cycle of abusing the younger sibling, which ends up with him acting like a normal, lovable brother towards Jamie.
Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez): Hal and Lois's fifth son, born at the end of Season 4. Despite his infancy, he is shown to already have some of his brothers' habits, such as stealing and disrespecting Lois. He is shown to being the only child who is capable of defeating Lois. Like Malcolm and Dewey, Jamie is revealed to be very intelligent and takes advantage of his less intelligent older brother, Reese.
Craig Lamar Traylor as Stevie Kenarban, Malcolm's best friend who's in the Krelboyne class and uses a wheelchair. Stevie has difficulty breathing and is revealed in season 5 to have only one lung. He is socially awkward and has trouble making friends.
David Anthony Higgins as Craig Feldspar, Lois's 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, but much less competent. Craig has a non-existent relationship with his father, who is obsessed with running his gym.
Emy Coligado as Piama Tananahaakna, Francis's wife. She is an Inupiat Alaska Native. She is a good wife to Francis and helps him resolve troublesome situations. Piama has the same type of fiery, unyielding personality as Francis's mother, Lois, who initially dislikes Piama until a disastrous family reunion made her realize how unfair she was to Piama.
Eric Nenninger as Eric Hanson, Francis's somewhat naïve friend from military school who precedes Francis to Alaska. It is his call which brings Francis to Alaska. However, Eric is left to hitchhike back home possibly as revenge for suggesting that he and Francis find work in 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. She is the teacher of the Krelboynes in Season 1 and season 2, at which time she is seen heavily pregnant. After she gives birth, Caroline leaves teaching. She was also the only non-family member to be credited as part of the main cast in the intro.
Kenneth Mars as Otto Mannkusser, Francis's boss who owns the ranch he works at after he leaves Alaska. He is of German descent and he is a naïve and kind-hearted person. Francis tries to protect Otto from being scammed by con-artists and helped him reconcile with his estranged son, Rutger. He is married to Gretchen.
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 and later is fired from Marlin Academy. After arriving in Alaska, Francis gets Spangler a job at a retirement home, which gives him free reign to bully the elderly.
Cloris Leachman as Grandma Ida, Lois's mother and Malcolm's grandmother. She despises Francis and Lois, except on one occasion when she was kind to Lois. Ida has one common interest with Francis: they both despise Lois for being a control freak. She is generally disliked by the family, bar Reese whom she clearly favors. She lost her leg saving Dewey from being hit by a truck, one of her few recorded good deeds. She once tried to sue Lois, her own daughter, for slipping on a leaf in the walkway of Lois's house and becoming temporarily injured. She was foiled by Francis and the boys who gave their support their parents and the lawyer willingly abandons her. Ida favors Susan over Lois as she is more graceful and talented.
Meagen Fay as Gretchen Mannkusser, Otto's wife who helps out at the ranch.
Karim Prince as Cadet Stanley, Marlin Academy student, Francis's best friend and informal bodyguard during the show's first season.
Kasan Butcher, Drew Powell, and Arjay Smith all play Francis's friends at Marlin Academy.
Sandy Ward, John Ennis, Richard Gross, and Christopher Michael Moore all play Francis's 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, but on one occasion Herkabe was nice to Malcolm. He is also bossy, stubborn and sadistic. Herkabe loses his GPA award in light of his actions for flunking Gym.
Brenda Wehle as Lavernia, Francis's 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. It is shown that Kitty is very overprotective of Stevie.
Todd Giebenhain as Richie, Francis's 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 temporarily after her dad is arrested. Jessica is shown to be a very manipulative girl, once showing Malcolm how to emotionally manipulate Lois. She had been known to play tricks on Reese and Malcolm. Despite this, Jessica has a crush on Malcolm and has shown that she can be a loyal friend.
Landry Allbright as Julie Houlerman, a girl who Malcolm had a crush on.
Julie Hagerty as Polly, Jamie's babysitter, who is extravagantly open about her personal problems and medical conditions. In one episode its revealed she has a sadistic and, somewhat threatening, ex-boyfriend named Danny, who only appears once in the show. They end up reconciling and getting back together.
Steve Vinovich as Mr. Hodges, the school principal (season 7).
The opening titles feature short clips from cult films or television shows, edited together with clips from the early seasons of the show, set to the song "Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants. The original opening includes, in order of appearance:Three men fighting a giant Archelon: 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)
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 de Wit 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 Toluca Lake, California, was rented for upwards of $3,000 a day to film as Malcolm's house. Rebuilt in 2011, the property is no longer recognisable due to its modern two-floor design. However, the house directly to the left of it is nearly identical to what it looked like during filming, still making it a frequent stop for fans of the show. School scenes were filmed at Walter Reed Middle School, also in Toluca Lake, 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. It is never revealed which state the show is set in (except for Francis's whereabouts in early seasons, such as his military school in Alabama and his job in Alaska).
Studio filming for Malcolm in the Middle took place on Stage 21 at CBS Studio Center in Studio City.
Chris Masterson would take a diminished role starting with Season 6 of the show in favor of getting behind the camera, directing and writing some episodes in Seasons 6 and 7.
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 lieu of audience laughter, 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, Lemon Jelly, Lords of Acid, The Getaway People, En Vogue, Electric Light Orchestra, Fatboy Slim, Phil Collins, Tears for Fears, Quiet Riot, Queen, 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.
Only the first season of Malcolm in the Middle has been released on DVD in the U.S. Season 2 was set to be released in the fall of 2003, but was cancelled due to high costs of music clearances.
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, with the original music, with the exception of one Season 3 episode "Company Picnic" which was originally aired as a one-hour special, before being re-edited and split into two parts for syndication. The DVD presents the syndicated version.
All seven seasons as well as the complete series set were released in Australia in September 2013. The complete series set altered the separate seven season sets to fit into four volumes. A collector's edition boxset which has the seasons split up instead of volumes was released subsequently in 2014. It features everything from the four-volume set and includes a bonus T-shirt. This set is exclusive to Australia.
Season one holds a Metacritic score of 88 out of 100, based on 25 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
The show started 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. On January 13, 2006, Fox announced that the show would be moving to 7:00 pm on Sundays effective January 29, 2006. The 151st and final episode aired at 8:30 pm ET/PT (the show's original timeslot) on May 14, 2006. The finale was watched by 7.4 million.
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, six months after it premiered on Sky 1, the show 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 8:35 pm. It was later shown weekdays on 5*, beginning on January 3, 2011. In November 2015, Comedy Central UK picked up the series.
In Mexico, the national channel Canal 5 began airing the show in 2001. It screens five-episode blocks of the series on weekdays from 7:00 pm to 9:20 pm. It is considered one of the favorite shows until today, still airing non-stop for 16 years.
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. Leachman succeeded in winning 2002 and 2006. The show won a total of 7 Emmys during its six-year run and a Peabody Award.
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 aired the show with a PG rating and the episodes were either banned or heavily edited due to content that was too strong for the PG rating. When Nick at Nite pulled Malcolm it began airing on TeenNick from November 26, 2010 and continued until December 2010. The show returned to TeenNick's line-up on July 18, 2011.
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). Later during 2013 the show aired from 3:00 am (EST) till 5:00 am (EST), but has since switched to just a one-hour block from 4:00 am (EST) to 5:00 am (EST) after the 90's Are All That block was pushed back an hour. The series has not been shown on TeenNick since May 2014.
In the UK, the show was originally aired on Sky1 from September 3, 2000, later also airing on Sky2 and Sky3 before finally leaving all Sky channels in December 2010. It was also shown on BBC2 from April 6, 2001 until March 7, 2009. From January 3, 2011, it was shown on Fiver (now 5*) at 6:00 pm and again at about 7:30 pm. By 2014 it was only being shown weekly on Saturday at 3:15 pm in the order originally broadcast, the last repeat of the show in the UK (also the last ever episode produced) was shown for last time on 5* at 3:15 pm on Saturday January 18, 2014.
In November 2015, the show started airing from its first episode sequentially on Comedy Central at 11am in the UK.
On November 2, 2015 Family Channel in Canada started airing Malcolm in the Middle.
In March, 2016 Fox Comedy in Portugal started airing Malcolm in the Middle.
Russian channel STS made a shot-for-shot adaptation called Супер Макс (English: Super Max) that comprises 1 season so far.