Day Care, is the 22 episode of season 4 and the 85th episode overall on Malcolm in the Middle. It was directed by Steve Love and written both by Gary Murphy and Neil Thompson. The episode aired on May 18, 2003.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A local day care center operated by a church agrees to a wailing Jamie, but there's a catch. Reese, Malcolm and Dewey must not only attend bible school, but also Hal and Lois are expected to take part of some extracurricular activities or there will be no daycare. While Reese and Hal discovers the joy of being Christians, Malcolm and Dewey are not impressed and wants out. Lois must deal with a trouble-making six-year-old named Seth while watching him at Lucky Aide. Meanwhile, after hearing sightings from aliens from a rival ranch, Francis attempts to organize one for Otto's ranch, which ends up getting him arrested by the government.

Plot[edit | edit source]

In the cold opening, the family are rudely awakened by a wailing Jamie, who had somehow gotten out of the diapers that they now have to change. Lois questions this, but Hal is at a loss as well after securing it with duct tape. Hal runs into the boys room, informing the boys it's a "Level 3". Hal orders Reese to clean up the excrement on a wall and Malcolm to find and bury the old diaper. Hal finds they have run out of diapers and questions how they went through a bonus pack in only one day, Lois forces Dewey to give up his last clean night shirt.

The next morning, Hal and Lois soon realize the baby is taking a financial toll on the family. They have been calling every day care center close to their homes hoping someone would take Jamie. Their problems are worsened when Lois gets a call from one of the other day cares in their neighborhood, refusing their services to take in another one of her kids. She tries to convince the owners to give them another chance, but they refuse and hang up. It's revealed that the Wilkerson family has been effectively blacklisted from every one of the previous day cares they've been in their town due to the boys' previous misbehaviors. Lois admits that she has no idea which day care they're going to take Jamie. She is desperate because her maternity leave is over, and she has to return to work at Lucky Aide tomorrow. Even Hal admits that he is desperate after realizing that they are out of juice and are watering down water. Upon learning about the free day care at the church, Hal and Lois cotton onto the idea of enrolling Jamie. The catch is that the family must join the church.

Hence, Hal and Lois concoct a muddling scheme to insinuate themselves and their children into the fold. Reese and Dewey also join and oppose the idea, with Malcolm stuck babysitting the hostile Jamie at home. Pastor Roy is happy to accept them, but they have to take part of the church's activities in exchange including taking Bible classes, much to their dismay.

At Otto's ranch in New Mexico, Francis overhears the rival ranches claiming sightings of aliens and he attempts to cash in for the Grotto Ranch. Disguising himself as a glow-in-the-dark alien, he attempts to draw the customers' attention from the rival ranches to Otto's. However, his plans run afoul when a member from a rival ranch shows up with the same idea and it leads to them not only fighting with one another, but also being found out by the lurking government agents there.

At the church run day care the next morning, Lois enters with a wailing Jamie, telling Donna (Pastor Roy's wife who runs the daycare), it is out of the ordinary and at home they forget they even have a baby. She gives her some breast milk before handing off Jamie to Donna and running off while she is distracted. At the Lucky Aide, despite Craig calling out price checks, an old couple arguing and a woman knocking over a sunglasses display with her cart, she finds it peaceful and quiet, since she is finally away from Jamie.

The boys have to take Bible class, where Dewey asks his father what the "t" stands for (referring to a cross on the wall), before Pastor Roy asks Hal to continue the lesson, while he attends a meeting with a parishioner, telling him he only needs to read the story "Daniel and the Lions", believing Hal knows it in his sleep. Hal starts slowly, but accidentally loses the page when Dewey asks when the lions show up. He then improvises and must make up a new ending after a girl questions that God saved Daniel from the lions’ den. Hal comes up with a ridiculous ending with a talking lamb, a boa constrictor, the missing ranger and a CB radio. In Reese's bible class, they are singing an overly jubilant religious song with Reese asking if he can sign a loyalty oath to get out of there. Mrs. Helen Munson, the teacher, tells Reese no one is making him stay, but the little voice in his head tells him why he isn't as happy as everyone else. Mrs. Munson then shows the class paintings from the church secretary, and after seeing Elijah's fiery chariot, Reese has a spiritual awakening inside himself.

Back at the house, Malcolm complains to Lois that he doesn't want to take the class, but falls upon deaf ears as she reminds Malcolm as long as Hal and her are making money, they will attend, before telling Hal they have to burn the car seat after Jamie has three serious diapers on the way home before taking him into the bedroom. Malcolm tells his father, but Hal tells him to give the church a chance as he opened up to the experience and feels a real spiritual connection, as the church members are finishing off the nursery extension for them and tells him that everyone finds their own path, their own way. Malcolm is sure that Lois and Hal are exploiting the church just to exploit a free day care, and believes karma will come back to haunt them.

Back at the church run day care, Donna is at a loss with Jamie as she is wearing a trash bag as the infant has ruined all her blouses with excrement and begs the baby to stop crying as the other children are all covering their ears. Lois comes to pick Jamie up and apologizes for the constant mess caused. Donna then asks her when she wants Seth's parents to drop their six-year-old son off or when she's going to pick him up to babysit him. Lois is confused over what she said. Donna then tells her that it's been on the schedule for two weeks, and this Saturday, she has to babysit Seth. Lois is horrified by this and begins to regrets not heeding Malcolm's warning earlier. Donna explains their day care operate on a sharing-cooperation program, and Lois will have to return the favor by babysitting Seth for a few hours. She's against it and tries to remind Donna that she has to work on Saturday at Lucky Aide, and she can't afford to take time off to babysit after her maternity leave ended. Donna makes it clear to Lois about the rules that she must follow the schedule that's in place. She tries to protest that she has to work again, and she believed that they were one of the day cares that she thought she could leave Jamie there to have someone watch him without her being asked to return the favor. Donna tells her that she was wrong to assume that to begin with. She makes the rules clear and threatens to tell her husband, Pastor Roy, about her scheme. The family will be kicked out of the church's congregation and lose the free day care services to Jamie. Fearing the loss of the day care program, Lois is forced to agree to babysit. Her misadventures with Seth at Lucky Aide gets her in serious trouble not only with her manager and co-workers, but also the angry customers. This begins with him making a fort out of shopping carts and refusing to get out of there even when Lois yells at him. Seth continues to cause her problems throughout the day.

Pastor Roy and the churchgoers finish the nursery and Hal finds that, although the nursery is perfect in every other way, a graphic depiction of the crucifixion of Christ has been painted on the wall. Hal tries to paint over it, but just sees Jesus looking at him every time he lifts the brush and can't do it for fear of his soul and damnation it may cause.

At Lucky Aide, Lois' day gets even worse, especially when she is trying to help ring a customer's items. The lady mentions that Lois as just scanned her own soda in her items. She then apologizes for the inconvenience that was caused earlier. After the customer pays for her things and leave, Craig appears before Lois with Seth who is now dirty. He complained that he caught the kid sharing candy with a squirrel under his car. Seth tries to act innocent about it, but neither adult are paying attention. Craig tells her that he can't be watching that kid for her all the time. He's trying to help an elderly customer planning to buy a less supportive garment and has to model them to make sure the customer will be satisfied with that purchase. Lois apologizes to Craig for the inconvenience, pointing out that church run day care is having her all stressed out because of their lack of sympathy over that she has to work and making her babysit Seth. The final straw came when she catches him wasting $50 worth of makeup and putting it on himself. When Seth asks Lois if he's pretty, she gives him a resounding NO! Walking back to the cash register, she proceeds to reprimand him for the trouble he's caused her all day and announces that they're going back to the day care during her lunch break. Once there, Lois plans to explain to Donna why the sharing program doesn't work for her schedule at Lucky Aide. She would never get her chance and encounters Seth's parents, who happen to be customers. They are furious when they see him all messed up in makeup, and showing them condoms. Without giving Lois a chance to explain, Seth's parents grab him and take him away from her, announcing they're going to report her to Pastor Roy at once for being a terrible influence on him. After they leave, she sees a coloring page he did and has another epiphany.

Reese has changed and treats Dewey better. Fed up with Reese's uncharacteristic kindness, Dewey gives Mrs. Munson a cynical, theological way of looking at life (something that Malcolm should've done so in the beginning) that humans are like ants to God and no matter how much the ants could've prayed to him, he still wouldn't have been able to hear them. Dewey resolves to live his life with kindness and decency and not dwell on God standing over him ready to smite him at any second with a giant shovel. He then leaves as Mrs. Munson gazes up at God, shaken by Dewey's speech.

Lois comes home, shaken by her misadventures with the troublesome child, and for the 2nd time, she has an epiphany in being a terrible mother to her own sons. Hal apologizes for not being able to help as he was at a hay ride committee meeting for the church. She confides in Hal that she doesn't feel any maternal connection to Jamie. Inspired by a coloring page of baby Moses Seth did, she wants to do the same with Jamie by putting him up for adoption and letting a better mother raise him. Hal stops Lois from this reminding her that she's never felt any instant connection with any of the kids, and mentions the one time Lois tried to leave Francis at the county fair when he was an infant to be raised by cows. He lovingly reminds her that she never liked their children until they were at least a month or two, but she always grew to love the tykes, no matter how badly behaved they were. This brings Lois a peace of sorts, especially as they gaze lovingly upon a quietly sleeping Jamie. She asks Hal if they’re going to keep the painting of Christ's crucifixion, but he tells her that he'll find an atheist handyman to get rid of it.

Dewey is awakened by Reese as he attempts floating into the heavens on a homemade blimp. Dewey is shocked and is convinced Reese will get caught on a high voltage wire, but Reese isn't afraid and is confident that "his faith will carry him" before taking off. Dewey claims he'll miss him at first, before brainstorming how to react when telling his parents. Reese flies above the clouds, all the while mangling the lyrics to "Amazing Grace."

Back in New Mexico, Francis and a rival ranch member are arrested by the government for raising the populace's belief and interest in aliens. One agent reminds the two that their activities is costing the government money from the raised false alarms. Francis claims that there's no harm done in pretending to be from another planet. He and the other rancher are soon threaten with cavity probes by the agents if they don't quit their activities.

Back at the church, Hal and Lois explains their behavior to Pastor Roy by claiming they don't deserve to be a part of their church, because of their scam. He tries to talk them out of it as they had only joined two weeks ago, ready for forgive them, but Reese comes crashing in from his homemade blimp, proving his parents right. Hal explains this is exactly what they're talking about to Roy.

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]

  • Kenneth Mars as Otto Mankusser
  • David Anthony Higgins as Craig

Cameos[edit | edit source]

  • Nancy Lenehan as Helen Munsen
  • Jim Jansen as Pastor Roy
  • Jackie Harris as Donna Roy
  • Dylan Capinnelli as Seth (credited as Dylan Campinnelli)
  • Howard Mann as Elderly male customer
  • Jennie Ventriss as Elderly female customer
  • William Christian as Don
  • Sally Ann Brooks as Seth's mother
  • Jim Hanna as Seth's father
  • Jeff Bowser as Alien guy
  • Stewart Skeleton as FBI Agent

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Dewey: Like Pastor Roy said, how God is so much bigger and wiser than us, and trying to see what He's thinking would be like an ant trying to see what I'm thinking.
Teacher: Yes, exactly. But we can trust in His wisdom, and have faith that He is watching over us.
Dewey: Like me with the anthill in my backyard. I spent days watching the ants, trying to figure out which ones were good, and which ones were bad, but they all just looked like ants, so I started smiting all of them.
Teacher: Well that's not...
Dewey: I was smiting them with the garden hose, and with lighter fluid, and with the lawnmower, and to be perfectly honest, I think I went a little crazy with the shovel. Those ants could have been praying to me all day, I wouldn't have heard them. There was nothing they could do about it.
Teacher: But, I don't think...
Dewey: Really, it's the same with us. There's nothing we can do about anything either, so why worry about it? Hey, this is making me feel better.
Teacher: Well, that's...good, but...
Dewey: I guess all we can do is live our lives with as much kindness and decency as possible, and try not to dwell on God standing over us with a giant shovel. Bye!
[Leaves Teacher wondering, and looking up worrying about God's "giant shovel"]

Reese: [singing to the tune of "Amazing Grace"]
Amazing race, how sweet the taste
That saved a wrench for me.
I once was in the lost and found,
Was blind, but found my keys.

[Francis and a rival member from another ranch are arrested by the government.]
Agent: The United States Government is not happy with the level of interest you created in this sector.
Francis: But what's the harm in pretending I'm from another planet? I mean all that stuff of UFOs about abductions and cavity probes, that's all made up, right.
Agent:[looks at his partner for a second] Yes, there are no aliens, but there are cavity probes.

[At night near the sign of the Grotto Dude Ranch and a Rival dude ranch, Francis is wearing a glow in the dark costume which he's using a flashlight to make it glow. Once ready, comes out to pretend to be an alien until a ranch member from a rival dude ranch shows up with the same idea.]
Francis: What the hell are you doing?
Man: What does it look like i'm doing?
Francis: What kind of alien are you? You don't even glow in the dark. Get out of here!
Man:[Fights with Francis] You get out of here.
[Their fight continues until a unknown car pulls up with heavy lights to bust Francis and the rival rancher from another ranch.]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The broken down wall in the bedroom was finally fixed in this episode.
    • Although it briefly had an unwanted painting of Jesus on it. Hal attempted to paint it over but was scared off by the painting's eyes.
  • Although not outright stated, its implied by how serious the government agents responded to Francis' hoax that aliens are real, implying that unknown to Francis and the rival rancher they arrested Francis and the rival rancher for creating a false alarm for an actual possible federal emergency.
  • For the majority of this episode, Jamie was not played by an actual actor. The only time he was played by a human being was in the cold opening and a cutaway to Malcolm babysitting him, where he was played by either Kara or Jessica Sanford. In other scenes, he was portrayed by a blanket wrapped around a pillow with a little baby beanie on it, aimed away from the camera.
  • Malcolm had a minor role in this episode, only appearing in 3 scenes. The cold opening, a brief cutaway to him babysitting Jamie, and a scene where he and Dewey were both arguing with Lois over going to bible class. This was mainly due to Frankie Muniz filming for Agent Cody Banks.
    • Originally he had a bigger role on the episode. This involves warning Lois and Hal against their plans in joining the church's congregation just to get free day care for Jamie. He points out it's a bad idea and their plans will come back to haunt them later on. They ignored Malcolm, only to discover how much of a bad idea it was too late.
    • He was supposed to tell Helen Munson off in how he felt about his lack of belief in God due to the miserable life that Hal and Lois caused their family over the years. Hearing this, Helen takes him and his brothers to a support group that she runs in the church. While there, Malcolm discovers that there are kids there in a similar situation like his own. From there, he begins to see how his behavior affects everyone good and bad. From there, Malcolm is able to talk through his issues without being egotistical and self-absorbed. Munson tells him if he has more issues, don't be afraid to come back and talk to her about it. Malcolm agrees to do so and for the first time, he is relatively at peace with himself. He gains a lot of maturity from his experiences and he is supposed to maintain this during the final three seasons. This is all but abandoned and given to Dewey instead.
    • After being shaken up from the horrible experience with Seth, Lois has a heart-to-heart talk with Malcolm over how terrible she's been with her own children. How she had wished Hal had gotten a vasectomy like she asked him to do after all of the horrible things she went through. Malcolm asks Lois why she and Hal treated him and his brothers horribly all their lives. Lois finally admitted she hated all of her children while they were growing up, especially Francis and Reese. She explains that the two older boys have been her biggest problem and she was already drained from dealing with them. Lois wished she and Hal had waited a few years before having children. If they had, they would've been better prepared in handing their children's bad behavior. She also wished that she had Malcolm, Dewey and Jamie instead. If she had the three first instead of Francis and Reese, Lois' views on children would've been more positive. In talking through his issues with her, Malcolm and Lois have a better understanding of each other. This was given to Hal instead
  • This has been the 4th time Francis has been in trouble with the law and arrested. The first time was in Pilot, the 2nd time was in Water Park and the 3rd time was Malcolm vs. Reese (although both Malcolm and Reese set him up after he betrayed them).
  • This episode reveals the Wilkerson family are effectively blacklisted from other day cares close to their home due to the misbehavior of their sons over the years.
  • This episode marks the 2nd time a member of the Wilkerson family has been arrested by the government. The first time was back in Garage Sale.
  • This episode is the 2nd time Lois had an epiphany over being a terrible parent to her sons The first time was in Clip Show 2, the third time is in Lois Battles Jamie and the last time is in Ida Loses a Leg.
  • This episode marked the first time Lois had been broken by a troublesome child outside her family. In this case, Seth knew how controlling she was and took advantage of her by getting her into trouble with her co-workers and his own parents.
  • This episode marks the 3rd time a cold opener deviated from the normal cold openers in which one plays a significant role in the main story. The first time was in Emancipation. The 2nd time was in Humilithon. The fourth time was in Reese Joins the Army: Part 2 and the last time was in Reese Comes Home
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