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.


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 no day care. 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.


The family are rudely awakened by a wailing Jamie, whom somehow gotten out of the diapers that they now have to change. Hal and Lois orders Reese and Malcolm to go to Lucky Aide to get some diapers, while forcing Dewey to give up his night shirt. The next morning, Hal and Lois soon realize the baby is taking a financial toll on the family. 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. 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 tommorrow. 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. Pastor Roy is happy to accept them, but they have to take part of the church's activities in exchange.

The boys have to take Bible class, but Malcolm and Dewey both opposes it. They complain to Lois that they don't want to take the class, but she forces them anyway. She reminds Malcolm and Dewey as long as Hal and her are making money, they will attend. Reese has changed and treats his brothers better. Pastor Roy is short handed and recruits Hal to help teach Bible class in exchange for them helping him out with the renovation part of the expansion plan. Then there's an especially awkward scene in which Hal cannot bring himself to paint over a graphic depiction of Christ's crucifixion over Jamie's crib, put there by well-meaning church members after helping him with the renovations. Fed up, Dewey gives his bible teacher a cynical, theological way of looking at life (something that Malcolm should've done so in the beginning).

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.

Back at the church run day care, Lois is horrified to discover that they run a sharing program and she will have to return the favor by babysitting Seth, a fellow churchgoer's six-year-old child. She's against it and tries to remind Donna(Pastor Roy's wife who runs the day care) she is working on Saturday. Lois also mentions that she just likes dropping her child off there and that they has to find someone else to watch Seth. Donna refuses to accept any of it and makes it clear to her about the rules that she must follow and the schedule that's in place. She also gives Lois an ultimatum: either she takes Seth with her to watch him for a few hours or else she will tell Pastor Roy the truth about her exploiting their free day care services for her own convenience. In turn, they will kick the family out and stop giving out free day care services to Jamie. Soon, Lois realizes the truth in Malcolm's warning against joining the church's congregation just to get free day care for Jamie and that proved it was a terrible idea. Her misadventures with Seth at Lucky Aide gets her in serious trouble not only with her manager and co-workers, but also his parents who happen to be customers. They are furious when they see him all messed up in makeup and showing them condoms. Lois comes home shaken by her misadventures with the troublesome child and for the first time, she has an epiphany in being a terrible mother to her own sons. She confides in Hal that she doesn't feel the same maternal connection to Jamie as she had toward all her previous newborns. Hal lovingly reminds her that she's never liked any of their children until they were at least a month or two old, 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 their going to keep the painting of Christ's crucifixion, but he tells her that he'll find an atheist painter to get rid of it.

Dewey is awakened by Reese as he attempts floating into the heavens on a homemade blimp, 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. They 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, ready for forgive them, but Reese comes crashing in from his homemade blimp, proving his parents right.


  • 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 starsEdit


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


  • Nancy Lenehan as Helen
  • Jim Jansen as Pastor Roy
  • Jackie Harris as Donna
  • 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 Skelton as FBI Agent


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.]


  • 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 panting's eyes.
  • Although not outright stated, its implied by how serious the government agents responded to Francis's hoax that aliens are real.
  • 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 cut way 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.
  • Malcom had a minor role in this episode, only appearing in a few scenes. The cold opening, a brief cutaway to him babysitting Jamie, and a scene where he was arguing with his mom over going to bible class.
  • 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 misbehaviors 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.