The Best Episodes of Malcolm in the Middle

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2018

Created and executive-produced by Emmy Award-winning writer Linwood Boomer, this inventive half-hour series is seen through the eyes of Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), a regular high school kid trying to navigate his way through life despite the various obstacles thrown in his way a complete misunderstanding of girls, the constant burden of masterminding plans to get himself and his brothers into or out of trouble, and a miserable job at the Lucky Aide not to mention a severe case of teen angst. Although Malcolm has a genius IQ, he can't seem to make sense of the opposite sex, much less his embarrassing family. Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) is the outspoken, opinionated mom, who still manages to rule the roost even though her boys are growing wise to her crafty ways. Hal (Bryan Cranston), a dad who is just a bumbling, big kid at heart, often finds himself creating more chaos than his five boys combined. Reese (Justin Berfield) has mastered the art of a perfect blank stare, and makes up for his lack of intelligence with deviance. Francis (Christopher Masterson), Malcolm's oldest and favorite brother, is willing to move from Alabama to Alaska to New Mexico – as long as its keeps him from moving back home. Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan), no longer the youngest, has learned his tricks from the best and often pulls the wool right over his brothers' eyes. And then there's Jamie, the newest member … and family scapegoat.

Graduation

#1 - Graduation

Season 7 - Episode 22

Malcolm struggles with his speech when he's elected valedictorian of his graduating class at school. However, Lois refuses to listen to any of his complaints and reveals that she wants him to become President of the United States. Meanwhile, Reese does everything he can to get a permanent job as a high school janitor, which includes creating the most disgusting mess ever. In the meantime, Hal has problems with Malcolm's Harvard tuition, while Francis finally gets a real 9-5 job that he actually enjoys. Also returning for the family celebrations is Grandma Ida, as they all say goodbye to Malcolm when he leaves for college.

star 8.20
188 votes
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Bowling

#2 - Bowling

Season 2 - Episode 20

Malcolm and Reese (Frankie Muniz, Justin Berfield) go to a bowling party where they vie for the attention of a cute girl. With Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston and Erik Per Sullivan.

star 8.20
243 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Alex Reid
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Water Park

#3 - Water Park

Season 1 - Episode 16

When the family goes to a water park for a day, Dewey is left home with an elderly, stern babysitter. Francis plays pool with Spangler and loses.

star 8.18
282 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Maggie Bandur, Pang-Ni Landrum
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Rollerskates

#4 - Rollerskates

Season 1 - Episode 13

Malcolm is angry because during a game of street hockey, he sprints up and down the street in shoes, only to have it start back the other way. So he decides he is ready to take skating lessons from his dad. He asks Reese and Francis how it is, but they both refuse to tell him. When he starts, he is angered by all the silly twists and spins they are doing. Meanwhile, Reese rollerskates in the house with a bunch of gunk on his skates which causes Lois to throw out her back while yelling at him.

star 8.12
299 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Alan J. Higgins
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Family Reunion

#5 - Family Reunion

Season 4 - Episode 3

Christopher Lloyd adds to his gallery of eccentric characters, playing Hal's quirky, cranky and very wealthy father, Walter, in this rollicking episode. The occasion is a birthday celebration for the old man, but the snooty female in-laws seem more interested in offending Lois. Their shabby behavior initially goes unnoticed by Hal, who's desperately trying to bond with his self-centered dad; and by Dewey and Reese, who seek some of Grampa's dough by currying favor with him. But when Lois is reduced to tears after being excluded from a group photo, the family rallies to her side with an all-out counterattack that turns the party into pandemonium.

star 8.08
209 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Alex Reid
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Boys at Ranch

#6 - Boys at Ranch

Season 4 - Episode 8

Typically, the boys run amok at Francis's dude ranch; atypically, he disciplines them, setting the stage for their clever retaliation.

star 8.03
190 votes
Directors: David D'Ovidio
Writers: Neil Thompson, Gary Murphy
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Red Dress

#7 - Red Dress

Season 1 - Episode 2

A battle of wits and wills ensues between the boys and their angry mom, who wants to find out who ruined her expensive new red dress -- found partially burned and soaking in the toilet. It's Hal and Lois's wedding anniversary (hence the dress); and while the boys fend off their mother, with the long-distance assistance of Francis, a lonely and increasingly sozzled Hal bonds with the staff of the restaurant where he booked a table for the big night. Lois finally achieves an epiphany on the phone with Francis, who convinces her to for once "let something go." After she leaves for the restaurant, with the boys in tow, Hal arrives home to an empty house -- and we learn the truth about what happened to the red dress.

star 8.03
448 votes
Directors: Arlene Sanford
Writers: Alan J. Higgins
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If Boys Were Girls

#8 - If Boys Were Girls

Season 4 - Episode 10

After being rattled by a battle among the boys, a pregnant Lois ponders the consequences of raising another brawling kid. So she fantasizes that her unruly sons have morphed into well-behaved young daughters. Malcolm becomes Mallory, Reese is transformed into Renee and Dewey turns into Daisy.

star 8.03
192 votes
Writers: Nahnatchka Khan
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Smunday

#9 - Smunday

Season 1 - Episode 15

The boys stay home from school when their mother thinks it's Sunday instead of Monday. Malcolm thinks of a plan to get Francis out of trouble once again. Hal gets sucked in by a Porsche dealership.

star 8.00
279 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Michael Glouberman, Andrew Orenstein
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Pilot

#10 - Pilot

Season 1 - Episode 1

Perhaps the most original sitcom pilot in recent years, this first episode combines sharp writing with a hyperbolic camera style reminiscent of Parker Lewis Can't Lose. Malcolm introduces us to his world, dominated by omnipresent schoolyard bully Spath and made worse by his enforced friendship with Stevie, an asthmatic wheelchair genius. When a battery of tests reveals that Malcolm has an IQ of 165, he is moved into Stevie's special accelerated class, despite his protests that "around here being intelligent is exactly the same as being radioactive." On the bright side, Malcolm discovers a practical application for intelligence when he and Stevie spontaneously hit on a solution to Spath's persistent tyranny.

star 7.99
558 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Linwood Boomer
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Grandma Sues

#11 - Grandma Sues

Season 4 - Episode 9

Cloris Leachman returns in her Emmy-nominated role as the spiteful and irascible Grandma Ida. She's even nastier than usual (if that's possible) because of a tumble down the front steps that resulted in a broken collarbone, prompting her to sue her daughter and son-in-law for pain and suffering. And there's more momentous news on the home front: Lois is pregnant. So she pleads with Ida to reconsider her lawsuit: "We're already stretched to the limit financially as it is. Obviously, a new baby is going to make things even harder on us." "Yes, yes, of course," Ida concurs. "You should settle."

star 7.97
199 votes
Directors: Jimmy Simons
Writers: Andrew Orenstein, Michael Glouberman
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Bomb Shelter

#12 - Bomb Shelter

Season 7 - Episode 18

Malcolm joins a local dance class to impress a girl, but when she loses her footing, he realizes that to win the competition he'll need a partner who can step it up. Dick, a rival student in the class who takes dancing a bit too seriously, challenges Malcolm to a dance-off. Meanwhile, Hal discovers an underground bachelor pad in the backyard.

star 7.97
161 votes
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Krelboyne Picnic

#13 - Krelboyne Picnic

Season 1 - Episode 8

Disasters abound at a gifted kids' picnic, where stage acts bomb, families feud, and Malcolm's dad Hal serves meat to vegetarians. Despite Malcolm's best efforts -- feigning sickness, planning to go over the wall with Francis -- his family insist on accompanying him to a circus-themed picnic for the Krelboyne class, whom must each perform for the assembled students and families. Once there, Lois immediately feuds with Dorene, the loud-mouthed mother who dominates the other parents; Reese plans to "kick Krelboyne butt" and is hoist by his own petard (okay, underpants) by Eraserhead's much bigger brother; Francis goes through an entire romantic relationship in the course of the single afternoon; and Hal grosses out the entire class by sneaking real meat into their vegetarian barbecue. When a desperate Malcolm turns Stevie's demonstration of catalysts into a gigantic stink bomb, Caroline is convinced she will be fired -- so Malcolm must go on and quell the crowd by demonstrating his abili

star 7.97
307 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Michael Glouberman, Andrew Orenstein
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Billboard

#14 - Billboard

Season 6 - Episode 10

When Lois catches the boys vandalizing a trashy billboard for a strip club, Malcolm alters the vandalism into a women's rights protest, which sparks a colossal media circus. In no time, feminists, conservative religious groups and national new reporters descend on the scene. After Hal grants a TV interview, a woman from his past turns up at the faux protest; and Reese, inspired by the giant billboard stripper who comes to life in his dreams, gives an impassioned speech about the objectification of women.

star 7.96
179 votes
Directors: Bryan Cranston
Writers: Rob Ulin
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Poker

#15 - Poker

Season 3 - Episode 8

Poker showdowns with Abe give Hal a flush; dance lessons turn Lois awhirl; an Alaskan blizzard entraps and rattles Francis. (TV Guide)

star 7.96
206 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Michael Borkow
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The Bots and the Bees

#16 - The Bots and the Bees

Season 1 - Episode 14

Malcolm and his Krelboyne classmates enlist the help of Hal for a school project, which involves a robot, and an enormous swarm of bees. Lois visits Francis at his school after he becomes injured and soon clashes with Spangler.

star 7.95
278 votes
Directors: Chris Koch
Writers: Alan J. Higgins, David Richardson
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Traffic Jam

#17 - Traffic Jam

Season 2 - Episode 1

Hal, Lois, Malcolm and Reese are trapped in a horrendous traffic jam. Francis enters himself in a bet that recalls the egg-eating wager in "Cool Hand Luke." Malcolm becomes smitten over a girl he meets. Dewey has his own little adventure--all over the world--before his family returns home.

star 7.93
300 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Dan Kopelman
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Reese Drives

#18 - Reese Drives

Season 3 - Episode 13

Highway horror: Reese gets a learner's permit, which he promptly proceeds to abuse by commandeering a driving-school vehicle.

star 7.93
213 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Michael Glouberman, Andrew Orenstein
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Baby (Part 1)

#19 - Baby (Part 1)

Season 4 - Episode 20

Hal and the boys are at a bridal expo, leaving a very pregnant Lois at home with Francis. They get two surprises: an unexpected visit from Grandma Ida (guest star Cloris Leachman) and Lois' water breaking.

star 7.91
176 votes
Directors: Jimmy Simons
Writers: Rob Hanning
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Lois Strikes Back

#20 - Lois Strikes Back

Season 7 - Episode 16

When four popular high school girls play an evil prank on Reese by pretending he has a secret admirer and then dropping a pig off at his front door, Lois comes to his rescue. She plots her revenge on the four unsuspecting girls and wreaks havoc on their adolescent lives. Meanwhile, Hal realizes Lois is at a dangerous emotional place so he decides to get some distance and stumbles upon the idea for making his own pitching machine out of stuff in the garage.

star 7.90
168 votes
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Sleepover

#21 - Sleepover

Season 1 - Episode 6

Malcolm sleeps over at Stevie's house and, appalled at his over-protected lifestyle, persuades him to sneak out to a late-night games arcade - where Stevie's wheelchair is stolen. Meanwhile, Francis copes with a bullying group of cadets by telling them home tales about real intimidation -- by Lois.

star 7.89
328 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Dan Kopelman
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Reese Joins The Army (Part 1)

#22 - Reese Joins The Army (Part 1)

Season 5 - Episode 21

The house goes crazy as Hal is falsely charged in a crime involving his company which he has nothing to do with. He is put in an ankle collar and is immobile, forcing the rest of the family, including Piama and Francis, to pick up the slack. Everyone except Reese, who is missing after he discovers Malcolm with his girlfriend Beth. The family doesn't know, but Reese has joined the Army, where he doesn't exactly understand how the military works. Dewey also has his own problems with the family as no one listens or even knows about him leaving for a music competition.

star 7.88
174 votes
Directors: Steve Love
Writers: Andy Bobrow
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Cheerleader

#23 - Cheerleader

Season 1 - Episode 12

Reese becomes so head-over-heels for a girl on the cheerleading squad that he actually decides to join. Dewey tries to convince Lois and Hal to buy him a new toy. Francis suffers through a long lecture from Spangler.

star 7.88
288 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Dan Kopelman
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Traffic Ticket

#24 - Traffic Ticket

Season 2 - Episode 16

Lois gets a traffic ticket and immediately blames Francis and makes him get the money to her. To do this, Francis stages a stunt for the other cadets' amusement. Malcolm finds evidence that Lois was wrong about the traffic ticket.

star 7.88
238 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Larry Strawther
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Convention

#25 - Convention

Season 2 - Episode 6

While Hal and Lois wreak havoc out of town, the boys are almost angelic at home-- thanks to the care of a sexy babysitter.

star 7.87
272 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Bob Stevens
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