The Best Episodes of Malcolm in the Middle
Last Updated: Apr 8, 2019
A gifted and smart young man tries to navigate life, puberty, and love while trying to survive his often dimwitted, dysfunctional family.
#2 - 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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#12 - 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
#13 - 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."
#14 - 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.
#15 - 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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#20 - 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.
#21 - 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.
#22 - 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.
#23 - 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.
#25 - 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.