Bully is the tenth episode of Season 2 of Malcolm in the Middle and the twenty-sixth episode overall of the show.

Plot[edit | edit source]

After being beaten by a girl in a wrestling match, Reese relinquishes his role as the school bully, which allows people to start picking on Malcolm, but returns when people enter the off-limit zone (picking on Stevie).

Francis tries to come home from military school for his birthday to avoid a brutal birthday hazing ritual of having his whole body shaved.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Reese is suddenly the school hero when he joins the wrestling team, but after he gets thrashed by a girl wrestler, he misses that feeling of pride. He decides to give up being the school bully and instead tries to do many misguided good deeds.

Meanwhile, Francis calls from Marlin Academy who is scared of the cadet birthday tradition: being stripped naked, getting every hair shaved off from your body and then getting thrown in the academy's reflecting pond. He begs Lois to fly him home, but Lois does not believe his stories are true (last time Lois thought it was a story was when Francis wanted to come home to go to a house party, his cover up was that Marlin Academy was being terrorized by a pack of feral dogs) She reiterates that they can't afford to fly him back.

The next day, Malcolm sits at lunch with Dabney, Lloyd and Stevie. At first, Malcolm is happy and relishes his newfound freedom. Dabney is pessimistic and warns everyone that Reese's defeat could bring serious consequences to the whole school, like a new bully worse than him. Malcolm isn't too concerned because he knows his brother too well and will be back to his usual self soon. When a kid spills Reese's lunch on his clothes, instead of beating him up, he gets up on a table and deliberately pours chocolate milk on himself in front of the whole lunch period. Later at home, Malcolm asks Reese why he did that, Reese explains he is sick of his bullying personality, and that he was destroying his old self and starting over. Reese further explains that wrestling made him feel proud of himself, inspiring and helping the school, and since his defeat by his female opponent he has had nothing. He sets out to try finding a new way to help people with good deeds. Despite Dabney's warning resonating in his head about a potential and foreboding consequences for the school with the mini bullies running around, Malcolm is not concerned at all.

Lois is sitting at the kitchen table when Hal comes home from work. She tells him that he feels bad for Francis with his phone calls about his so-called stories, but she finds them touching in a way. With the fact that it is his first birthday away from home. Hal suggests going out, he pulls out two tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert that he got from a co-worker because he did not want them. The phone rings and Francis once again calls from Marlin Academy telling Lois about a way he can get home for his birthday without spending a cent: one of the cadets he knows has a father who is a trucker, he can hitch a ride in the refrigerator compartment of his truck's trailer until he arrives at the 609 Interchange, from there a friend of the trucker who flies a crop duster, if the pilot is sober enough -- can drop him off in a soybean field near a train station to catch a train back home. Lois tells him not to worry, that there will be other birthdays for him to enjoy, Hal interrupts the phone call asking about the Jimmy Buffett concert, Francis overhearing Hal, asks if the concert is taking place on Wednesday which is his birthday. Lois say yes and that is isn't relevant to Francis' situation. Francis scolds her about how she has the money to afford tickets to a concert, but cannot afford to bring Francis home. Lois tries to explain that they got them for free. Francis does not buy it and tells them to get their stories straight before they try to ditch him on his birthday. He angrily hangs up.

At school, Malcolm sees that all the rest of the students are enjoying their freedom from the reign of Reese. When a kid announces he has been taking ballet classes, Reese congratulates him rather than making fun of him for it. Just when Malcolm believes all things are perfect, one of the mini bullies whom was a former friend of his tells him that since Reese as the bully is gone, he does not have to deal with him when he teaches Malcolm a lesson about him making fun of getting his face painted. Malcolm tries to explain that they were just jokes, the kid pushes him and he falls on the ground. In that moment, he comes to regret his newfound freedom and learn just how much everyone hates his sarcasm. The mini bullies target Malcolm not only because he hurt their feelings, but also they had a personal hatred for his older brother, Reese. They felt like that Malcolm had been taking advantage of their fears because he had the latter protecting him due to them being brothers. After being beaten up, his pants is hoisted to the stair pole of the class. Dabney tells Malcolm that he gave everyone in their class fair warning of what could happen if he didn't try to convince Reese to keep his position as head bully. The result ended with the mini bullies creating more anarchy and chaos then before. Dabney later becomes a target to the mini bullies, which ends with him shirtless and the words loser on it. Sure enough the Krelboyne class are not spared mainly due to their friendship with him. Malcolm quickly regrets relishing in his newfound freedom and realizes that things were better off with Reese as the main bully.

Meanwhile, Reese is trying to be a good person: he helps another kid named Jeffrey cross the street safely, then his mother comes screaming his name, telling Jeffrey he is in big trouble for walking on the street. Next, he visits a patient at the hospital, wanting to read to him. The patient is so glad to see him, until Reese mentions "terminal patients" and realizes he is in the wrong room and hospital.

Back at Marlin Academy, Francis is trying to sleep, but overhears a cadet named Murphy getting the same traditional birthday treatment. When Francis closes the window to his dorm, the glass breaks and cuts his hand. Finally, he thinks he has an out when he injures his hand. In the infirmary, the nurse takes pity on Francis' situation and invites him over to her apartment for a nice dinner and a German chocolate cake.

Lois and Hal, feeling guilty for not being able to fly Francis home, decide to do something extra nice to him. Malcolm comes home with bruises, and tells Lois everything that has happened since Reese's loss to the female wrestler, and there is no one to protect him from the people who take offense at his sarcastic, unfunny behavior, Hal does admit that his sarcasm is true, Malcolm sarcastically tells him that he feels better from that statement. Hal finds Malcolm in the bathroom, he talks with him. Hal says to him that when people are mad at him, a simple apology can solve the problem, he gives a hypothetical example about his work space. He explains to Malcolm that it is not relevant to his situation, and that he should think about it.

After Francis gets off the phone with the nurse who treated his injury, his friend Eric stops him in the hallway asking about his date, Francis kindly explains that it is with a nurse with her own place. Eric complements him for it. Eric then takes him into the recreational room where a birthday gift basket of cookies lays on the billiards table out in the open, which reveals to all of Francis's fellow cadets what he's been trying to hide: it's his birthday. Francis knows the inevitability of getting his whole body hair shaved off and decides to get through with it.

At school, all of the students have defaced parts of the school with graffiti and toilet paper rolls. Malcolm tries to apologize to a former friend about his sarcastic, hurtful comments towards him, but only receives a punch to the face. Afterwards, he says to Malcolm that he was glad that he had their conversation. At that time Just Reese believes that he has found the answer to what he wants to do with his life. He mentions that a missionary named Brother Billy told him that one of his good deeds is selling his material possessions. Reese tells Malcolm about how Brother Billy and his feel-good followers have secure compound up in Oregon where they live off-grid separated from society. Malcolm asks Reese if Hal and Lois have any knowledge about it. Reese says that they cannot know because they have negative energy and bad karma. Malcolm immediately realizes that he is joining a cult. Reese tells Malcolm off and says that unlike him, Brother Billy makes him feel good about himself, Malcolm tries to tell him he is being brainwashed, to no avail. Just then, Dabney and Lloyd beg him to regain his crown as school bully because lots of little bullies are causing anarchy. Reese at first refuses, claiming it's in the past. That is until he notices one of the bullies start picking on Stevie who is wheelchair bound. This proves to be a violation to his bullying manual and of which stipulates that he is off limits due to him being in a wheelchair. When Dabney and Lloyd point out that since Reese gave up the position as head bully, Stevie's been fair game. Enraged, he reverts back to his old self and beats up the mini bullies in retaliation. With him reclaiming his position as head bully, order has been restored. The vice principal notices this and sends Reese to his office right away. The resentful mini bullies started hating Malcolm and the Krelboyne class a whole lot more because they brought him back to be the head bully in their school. However, they can't do much of anything about it as long as Reese remains in charge of the bully system.

Later that day, Lois and Hal are preparing to leave the house wearing Hawaiian shirts to the Jimmy Buffett concert. Lois asked about the cookie basket for Francis, Hal assumes that he was thrilled when he got it. Lois assumed his friends gave him a party, not knowing about the extreme barbaric behavior Francis has described to her. Back at Marlin Academy, Francis is looking a himself in the mirror, completely hairless. A cadet asks about his date, Francis tells him it starts in 20 minutes. The episode ends with Francis using a large Sharpie to conceal his bald head and missing eyebrows.

Cast[edit | edit source]

  • Jane Kaczmerek as Lois
  • Bryan Cranston as Hal
  • Christopher Kennedy Masterson as Francis
  • Justin Berfield as Reese
  • Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey
  • Frankie Muniz as Malcolm

Guest Stars[edit | edit source]

Recurring[edit | edit source]

  • Craig Lamar Taylor as Stevie
  • Eric Nenninger as Eric Hanson
  • Kasan Butcher as Cadet Joe
  • Evan Matthew Cohen as Lloyd
  • Kyle Sullivan as Dabney

Cameos[edit | edit source]

  • Mike White as coach
  • John Lacy as spectator
  • Eric Fleeks as ref
  • Laura Henry as Jeffrey's mother
  • Ellis E. Williams as patient
  • Susan Yeagley as nurse
  • Eric Marquette as Braveheart
  • Tyler Roche as Jeffrey
  • Jerry Messing as big kid #2
  • Jacob Franchek as big kid #3
  • Nick Fuoco as big kid #4
  • Kenneth Schmidt as little kid #1
  • Dion Clinton Overstreet, Jr. as little kid #2

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • When Reese visits to read to the patient and mentions "terminal patients" he accidentally told him that he was placed under terminal care. This term indicates that the patient is critically ill, that his curative treatment has been discontinued, and was supposed to cope with his condition and subsequent death. The man did not know about this and that is why he was in a panic calling a nurse.
  • The first song that plays throughout the school's bully rampage is "Spy break" by Propeller heads which was also heard in The Matrix (1999). When Reese reverts himself back to the school bully, "Hulkster's In The House" by The Wrestling Boot Band plays. The song that plays during the last scene is "Hey Now Baby" by Professor Longhair.
  • This episode takes place on Francis' birthday. In the episode Flashback, it was shown that Lois got married to Hal while in labor with Francis, and didn't give birth to him until they were officially married, in order to keep him from being born out of wedlock. That means that this episode was also Hal and Lois' wedding anniversary.
  • This is the last episode to air during the year 2000.
  • The reason that Reese is socially obligated not to beat up Stevie is because of his bullying manual which prohibits anyone including himself from doing the deed since he's in a wheelchair. This is the 2nd time, this had been violated by the mini bullies. The first time was in Pilot when Dave Spath accidentally hit Stevie and causing him to fall down. This not only got him reprimanded by everyone and expelled, it was also implied that Reese beat him up for the violation itself.
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