Malcolm in the Middle is a situation comedy on the Fox Network. It first aired in 2000.
It stars Frankie Muniz as Malcolm, the third oldest of five boys in the family (hence the name, "Malcolm in the Middle"). The show centers around Malcolm and his dysfunctional family's life.
The series is different from many others, in that Malcolm breaks the fourth wall, and talks directly to the viewer. It is also one of the few sitcoms that does not have a live studio audience or any other sort of laugh track.
The show's theme song, "Boss of Me," was recorded by They Might Be Giants, who also perform the musical scoring for the show.
It airs in Canada on the Global Television Network. It is also shown in Britain on Sky One and then BBC2 a few months later, and in Australia, it is aired by Nine network. In Mexico it is aired in Spanish on Channel Five (XHGC) of Televisa. In Israel it is aired on Bip Channel, The comedy Channel. In Germany it is aired on Pro 7, in Austria on ORF 1. The series is also aired on one of Malaysia's free TV stations, NTV7. In the Middle East, the series is aired on MBC 2 and Showtime Arabia's Paramount Comedy Channel. In Spain it is aired on Antena 3.
Their Last Name
The last name of the family has never been revealed on the show, but several sources have reported that it is Wilkerson. This is the result of a joke that appeared in the original pilot script. In that script, Malcolm was walking to school when a neighborhood kid came running up shouting, "Malcolm, Malcolm, Malcolm. I was talking to my parents last night - I was listening to them talk, and what's your last name?" "Wilkerson, why?" Malcolm replied. "Oh. Who are the Pariahs?" said the other kid. The joke was eventually cut, and the show's writers subsequently decided never to reveal the family's last name so as not to designate the family as being of a specific ethnicity.
Originally there were only four children (although Malcolm's eldest brother attended a military school away from home, so he was still the middle child left at home). The fifth child, a new baby, was introduced in the show's fourth season, although it was not made clear what sex the child was until the beginning of the fifth season (a boy). The boys are, from eldest to youngest: Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie.
At the beginning of the series, Malcolm's principal recognizes him as a gifted student, and places him in an accelerated learning class. Much to his dismay, the move brands him as a "Krelboyne," a member of the gifted class. The name "Krelboyne" comes from the surname of one of the characters in the movie Little Shop of Horrors. Many episodes revolve around Malcolm's attempts to reconcile his genius-level IQ with his desire to lead a "normal" social life.
Reese, the second oldest, is also the dumbest. This is because at an early age he learned how to get rid of his troubles, by turning his brain off, or singing the "Minty Mint Song" in his head. He is overall the most destructive of the brothers, and arguably the biggest trouble maker (the full extent of Francis' deeds have yet to be revealed, but occasional glimpses of the past have shown presumably why Francis was exiled from the house). He has a reputation as a bully, but over the shows development has begun to follow Francis and become more responsible. He is an excellent chef and loves to cook, and it has become Hal and Lois' only true leverage to punish him.
In the fourth season, Malcolm's younger brother Dewey begins to exhibit a high degree of intelligence, seen mainly in his talent playing the paino. Dewey was about to follow his brother into the gifted class, only to have Malcolm help him stay in normal classes by using Reese to complete Dewey's tests, which accidentally gets Dewey thrown into the "Special" class, full of kids considered lost causes. He has since organised the class to want to be all they can be, and is teaching them standard lessons as their teacher/leader. He has been trying to shown that they are just as capable as others, and has organised them to do things like perform an Opera he wrote based on his family.
The eldest brother, Francis, is a regular character on the show, though he has not lived at home with his brothers since Hal and Lois sent him to military school (part of the backstory to season 1). After the second season, at only age 16, he legally emancipated himself with the help of an unscrupulous Alabama lawyer. He left the academy and headed up to Alaska to find work as a logger. By season 4 he found himself working as a farmhand at a Texas ranch/hotel. Now married to Piama (an Alaskan Native), Francis has become a responsible adult. He applies discipline to his young siblings, who up to that point had regarded him as a role model.
Lois works as a clerk at Lucky Aide, a local supermarket. She has unconventional ways of disciplining her children. Her mother is still alive, much to the family's despair. Lois also has a sister, with whom she is on uneven ground. Her boss, the domineering but socially inept Craig Feldspar, has romantic feelings for her, which he makes known in several episodes.
Hal is a bit squimish and more relaxed in his parenting than Lois, mainly because he is afraid to make the wrong choice. His indecisiveness supposedly stems from a childhood incident in which he caused a clown to get attacked by a snake (both of which he is now afraid of). He's smart enough to know not to cross Lois. He is arguably the biggest dreamer of the family, usually daydreaming about enjoyable situations. He comes from a large rich family, with all of the family members having some (repressed) problem or another. They rarely visit because of the friction between Hal's relatives and Lois.