The Best Episodes of Malcolm in the Middle

Last Updated: Jun 19, 2019

A gifted and smart young man tries to navigate life, puberty, and love while trying to survive his often dimwitted, dysfunctional family.

Bowling

#1 - 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 8.22
264 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Alex Reid
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Water Park

#2 - 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 8.17
304 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Maggie Bandur, Pang-Ni Landrum
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Graduation

#3 - 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 8.15
203 votes
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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
322 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 8.07
224 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Alex Reid
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Red Dress

#6 - 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 8.05
484 votes
Directors: Arlene Sanford
Writers: Alan J. Higgins
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If Boys Were Girls

#7 - 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 8.01
204 votes
Writers: Nahnatchka Khan
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Boys at Ranch

#8 - 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 8.01
205 votes
Directors: David D'Ovidio
Writers: Neil Thompson, Gary Murphy
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Pilot

#9 - 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
596 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Linwood Boomer
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Smunday

#10 - 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 7.98
297 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Michael Glouberman, Andrew Orenstein
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Poker

#11 - 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 7.98
219 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Michael Borkow
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Grandma Sues

#12 - 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 7.96
214 votes
Directors: Jimmy Simons
Writers: Andrew Orenstein, Michael Glouberman
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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 7.96
329 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 7.94
192 votes
Directors: Bryan Cranston
Writers: Rob Ulin
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Traffic Jam

#15 - 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
322 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Dan Kopelman
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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 7.93
295 votes
Directors: Chris Koch
Writers: Alan J. Higgins, David Richardson
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Reese Drives

#17 - 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
226 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Michael Glouberman, Andrew Orenstein
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Bomb Shelter

#18 - 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 7.90
177 votes
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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 7.89
189 votes
Directors: Jimmy Simons
Writers: Rob Hanning
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Traffic Ticket

#20 - 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 7.89
254 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Larry Strawther
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Cheerleader

#21 - 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 7.89
311 votes
Directors: Todd Holland
Writers: Dan Kopelman
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Sleepover

#22 - 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 7.88
349 votes
Directors: Ken Kwapis
Writers: Dan Kopelman
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Malcolm Babysits

#23 - Malcolm Babysits

Season 1 - Episode 5

Malcolm's cushy babysitting job provides relief from the trailer the family's using while their house is being fumigated, until Malcolm learns that the trust placed in him in his new position is strictly limited. Meanwhile, the military school's master key leads Francis to a corpse, for which he provides a proper send-off.

star 7.88
376 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Maggie Bandur, Pang-Ni Landrum
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Baby (Part 2)

#24 - Baby (Part 2)

Season 4 - Episode 21

While Lois is in labor, the house is hectic, and Hal, desperate to get home, has crashed the car on the way out of the expo.

star 7.88
180 votes
Directors: Jamie Babbit
Writers: Michael Borkow
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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
294 votes
Directors: Jeff Melman
Writers: Bob Stevens
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