Block Party is the eighth episode in season five of Malcolm in the Middle.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Returning home from vacation a few days early, the family are surprised to find that their street has been barricaded to accommodate a festival. Moreover, signs indicate that it's the "Fifth Annual Block Party." A dismayed Malcolm realizes the implication: whenever the family goes on vacation the rest of the neighborhood celebrates their family's absence. Hal and Lois shrug off the besmirchment and decide to enjoy themselves in the merriment, while Malcolm sulks, and Reese devises a fiendish moneymaking scheme with Dewey in tandem.

At the Grotto, Francis finds that Otto has purchased a frame designed to imitate a cow's hindquarters. Otto is keen to start breeding his new prize bull Bruno but doesn't want him mating with any of his cows, so therefore intends to use the frame to extract the seed. Francis is dismayed to realise that Otto is expecting him to carry out the messy operation.

Neighbors are vexed at the family's return but can only endure their presence. Semi-recurring character Ed (Paul Wilson) seems to be emceeing the affair, inserting some biting commentary over the microphone. On a whim, Hal and Lois decide to enter a kielbasa eating contest, another staple of the festivities. One by one the competing eaters drop out as a record number of sausages are consumed. A particularly amusing quirk is Lois daintily using a knife and fork while others shovel the kielbasas down manually, yet she manages to keep up with everyone else. Finally, with only her and Hal left--plus only one kielbasa remaining--it becomes a duel with forks to scarf up this final sausage.

As Francis prepares to try and collect Bruno's seed, Otto visits and asks how Francis intends to entice Bruno. Francis now understands that he not only has to collect Bruno's specimen but also has to excite him to the point that he produces it. When Otto comments that he isn't 100% certain the cow frame will be able to take the weight of a sexually-excited two-ton bull, Francis demands a raise, which Otto accepts.

With all of the neighborhood kids out and about, Reese proposes a sweet deal. In retribution for the years of torment he has inflicted upon them, each youth may pummel a blindfolded Reese for a nominal fee of $20. A complicit Dewey collects several hundred dollars while Reese grabs an innocent bystander who must stand in for Reese and take the beatings in his stead. As fate would have it, though, the plan goes awry and the real Reese ends up suspended from a garage door mechanism, where the neighborhood kids pound him like a piñata.

In an effort to befriend some of the cold-shouldering neighbors, Malcolm helps a man load boxes from a house into his car, not realizing that he's actually assisting a burglar. The home's real owners happen onto the scene just as the man speeds away, and Malcolm is reduced to tears because of his error. However, when a policeman arrives to file a report, the owners downplay the extent of the theft and opt not to itemize the missing belongings. Malcolm's photographic memory can recall the wares, and as he impulsively rattles off a list which includes printers and embossing machines, he simultaneously realizes that these are all counterfeiting and forgery tools, and the criminal couple are busted on the spot for currency forgery.

Francis spends two hours in the fake cow frame waiting for Bruno to make his move. Despite doing his best to entice the bull over, Bruno shows no interest whatsoever. Francis has him sent outside to graze, and tries to find out what he's doing wrong. He finds out that he was meant to smear the frame with cow pheromones which would have sent Bruno crazy with lust, however Francis finds that the bottle containing the pheromones is missing. Outside, a speedo-wearing Otto has just finished smearing the pheromones over himself having mistaken it for suntan lotion. It doesn't take long for Bruno to catch the scent, and Otto soon sees Bruno running towards him at full speed...

So who won the kielbasa eating contest? Never underestimate the power of true love, especially if it's that of Hal and Lois. To put it succinctly, they split the last sausage, making the contest a tie. So why is this funny? Because the climactic chow down involves the madly-in-love couple eating from either end of the kielbasa towards the middle--until they are both kissing. The crowd loves it, and the family's days as pariahs appear to be over. But perhaps in karma in kind, the contentious neighbors, no longer hating Hal and Lois, turn on each other for various trivial indiscretions. As the episode caps, the neighborhood's own odiousness causes their own isolation in spite towards each other, and the family enjoys the many and numerous spoils of the now abandoned block party carnival.

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