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Funeral is the eleventh episode of Season 1 of Malcolm in the Middle and the eleventh episode overall of the show.


The family reluctantly prepares for Aunt Helen's funeral, but Lois finally gets fed-up by the collective attitude and announces she's going to take a bubble bath and everyone else can do their own things. Reese blames Malcolm for ruining his plans.

Francis is upset that Aunt Helen's death was not reported to him. This frees Malcolm to attend a concert with Julie, but she catches him in his underwear and runs away. Realizing how much he divided his family, Malcolm turns to Francis for help and whom suggest he uses a scapegoat. Once Hal and Lois gets wind of Reese ruining Dewey's upcoming birthday by destroying the expensive toy, they decide that the family will attend the funeral so he can apologize to Aunt Helen.


In the cold opening, Malcolm is in class reading a monologue from "Romeo and Juliet" and is applauded. Caroline commends him on being so passionate, Malcolm looks to Stevie and reminds him that just because they are best friends his wheelchair won't save him from an ass-kicking. Stevie responds with "Bring it on, Homeo."

On a Sunday morning, the family is getting ready for Lois' Aunt Helen's funeral. While coloring his dress shoes, Hal explains to Dewey what happens to people after they die. Telling him that after death people get bloated before shriveling up followed by having their flesh eaten by microbes and ones head slowly shrinking, before Lois tell him that he needs to get ready for the funeral.

Malcolm is less than thrilled in going to Aunt Helen's funeral because he is forced to cancel plans he had made to go to a concert with Julie Houlerman instead, with Julie informing him she may give the extra ticket to a football player named Jimmy Wescott. Malcolm tells his mother but Lois is adamant in going and gives Malcolm guilt for not feeling bad for his late great aunt. Lois enters the kitchen to find Dewey's silent friend named Egg who is eating cereal. Lois tells Dewey Egg needs to go home but Egg keeps coming back. Malcolm finds it unfair and knows whether it is a wedding, funeral or court date all of his family gatherings for him are the same, old women pinching his cheeks, claiming he can't wait until he gets acne so then he will be able to fight back. Before getting ready, Hal was looking forward to listening to his records and tells Lois he needs to get his speech ready. Lois informs him that he doesn't have to speak at every funeral they go to but Hal is convinced people look to him for the reason. Francis then phones Lois and learns of Aunt Helen's demise which he isn't happy about because no one told him about a family member dying and is even more upset when Lois tells him that Aunt Helen's husband Uncle Fred had died two months prior.

Lois wants to see the boys suits, but Malcolm and Dewey's are too small, so Reese and Malcolm hand theirs down, now seeing Reese is in his boxers she makes him wear a suit from her late Uncle Fred. Reese is excited about a dead suit. Once Lois leaves with Dewey to get rid of Egg once more, he reveals to Malcolm that he is actually looking forward to going to Aunt Helen's funeral and confesses he trashed an expensive Mighty Man toy. Reese wants to bury it with her so no one finds out, since it is an open-casket. He explains to Malcolm he has no idea why he does reckless and brutal deeds only claiming he doesn't want to get caught. Reese learned from a lawyer show Lois will think he did it but cannot prove it without evidence "No Evidence, No Conviction, E Pleribus Unum". Unconvinced and knowing her too well, Malcolm points out that Lois will find out sooner or later because the Mighty Man toy is meant to be a present for Dewey's birthday next week and even if Reese does conceal the evidence, she will eventually go looking for it.

Francis tries to get an answer from Dewey about how Aunt Helen died but he can't get a straight answer from him or Hal. Malcolm informs his mother how he hates wearing Reese's hand-me-down suit due to it having jelly in the pockets, a broken fly and reeking of wet dog, Lois claims he should be grateful Reese only wore it once. Later, Francis tells Lois he feels like he's not part of the family anymore. Francis continues to rant to Lois asking her if anyone else has died without him knowing, she tells about the family's daily activities and wonders if he wants her to send him a picture of her foot after she dropped a frying pan on it. When she sees Egg throwing utensils out of a drawer, she tells him to stop before Francis asks who Egg is, her only response is Egg was a new boy in the house, confusing him once again. Lois orders Dewey to get rid of Egg before he causes the family more grief. Later on as Hal is preparing his joke cards for the funeral, he reveals to Malcolm that Lois and everyone else hated Aunt Helen, informing him he used to forbid her from calling for always making Lois cry. Irate that Lois lied to him about being close to her, he calls Julie again and lies about Aunt Helen, claiming she was in a coma and woke up on the embalmers table at the last second, giving him a leeway to go to the concert, believing he thinks better when he is under pressure. After questioning himself he knows its too late and he'll find out sooner or later.

Malcolm first tries to injure his eye, but Reese wont help him because it will leave evidence. He then makes up a fake book report but is caught after Lois turns the tables on him causing him to mess up the details. Malcolm admits he wants to go to the concert with Julie and doesn't care how Lois feels about not going to the funeral of Aunt Helen because of it. Lois explains to Malcolm she doesn't care whether or not she liked Aunt Helen because it is their duty as her family to be there. Malcolm argues back that she can't just stick "family" in front of something and make everyone into slaves and how little sense it makes that since no one liked Aunt Helen why they should pretend to now. When Lois asks Hal for his backing up, he refuses to help her out after claiming he is giving up his entire day for the funeral. Hal mentions that even though he's not complaining about it, Malcolm has a point in not going to the funeral. When Lois callously mentions it's just a bunch of records on his record player that he can listen to another time after the funeral, he is further offended by her words and reveals they are important to him. Hal points out that no one wanted to go to a travesty of a funeral to a woman who everyone hated in life and in death. Lois is exasperated and offended by his words because it means no one cares about how she feels in the matter. Francis over the phone points out to her that it's not asking from their perspective, but rather ordering everyone around as if they owed her a favor, when in fact they really don't owe her at all. Lois hangs up the phone and slams it on the counter. She is now extremely angered by his and Malcolm's refusal to go to Aunt Helen's funeral. Lois reminds them that after all the chores she does for the family, she shouldn't even have to ask. Hal, Lois and Malcolm hear Reese honking the horn trying to get them in the car so they can go to the funeral. That is ignored as the trio's anger is with each other. Hal then admits that instead of cleaning the gutters he would much rather be surfing European beaches or cruising on his hog. Lois sarcastically yells out what hog, with Hal mentions exactly his point in where's his hog. Fed up with everything she had to endure, Lois declares that they won't go to Aunt Helen's funeral and that the family can do whatever they want from now on. She decides she will take a relaxing bubble bath. This frees Malcolm from going to the funeral and gets ready for the concert unaware of the discord he has created(which later comes back to haunt him).

Hiding in the bathroom to take a bubble bath, Lois tells Hal she's going to be in there all day. He tells her that's fine with him and don't expect him to hear any of her complaints over his music being too loud. When Reese appears asking Lois to attend the funeral of Aunt Helen, Lois immediately refuses. She points out that if he wants to go to the funeral that's fine with her. Lois isn't getting out of the tub anytime soon because she wants to take a relaxing bubble bath. Reese wonders if he is the only one who cared about her, Lois says yes and that he can be the good kid and enjoy his moment in the sun before telling him to leave her to her alone time.

In the kitchen, Reese blames Malcolm for it before kicking a trash can over. He is upset that his own brother couldn't respect that he had a good idea and has now created anarchy. Malcolm claims he'll think of something, Reese defends that Malcolm has good ideas all the time but for himself it was special, further offended by this because it meant Malcolm didn't care about Reese at all. He tells Reese to clean up the trash since Julie is coming. He refuses and reminds him that no one has to do anything anymore thanks to him. Malcolm has better things to do and has to get ready for his date with Julie, he asks Lois to wash a shirt for him but she simply dunks it in her bathwater. Hal listens to his records on his quadraphonic, specifically the song "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Steelers Wheel, while Dewey gets Egg some juice he accidentally spills and Lois calls him to clean it up. Dewey squirts an entire bottle of dish soap on the floor, and him and Egg making a mess of things by covering the entire kitchen floor in suds.

As Julie comes to pick up Malcolm, she is directed to his bedroom by Hal but catches sight of him in his underwear and is disgusted. She runs out of the room only to trip over the cord Hal used to plug in his quadraphonic, fall onto the soapy kitchen floor of Dewey and Egg and slides into the trash can that Reese kicked over. Malcolm runs out, and Julie explains she just wanted to be nice and people advised her to stay away from Malcolm's house. Malcolm apologizes and says he'll be ready to go soon. Julie rejects this, saying she no longer wants to go, and now she wants nothing to do with Malcolm anymore. She then leaves and never speaks to him again.

Malcolm turns off the record player in frustration. He asks Hal why he hasn't warned him about Julie's arrival so he could've gotten dressed earlier and allowing her to see her in his underwear. Malcolm asks for Lois in advice in how to keep the family together because they're needed to support one another. She refuses to help him out and reminding him that he earlier fought with her against going to Aunt Helen's funeral because his plans didn't allow it. Lois tells Malcolm off that he's going to have to figure things out on his own and sends him away. He goes to his room and feels guilty over dividing his family up and indirectly humiliating Julie.

The Wilkersons are now divided and are in the living room. Lois drinking tea, Hal eating cookies and playing with his Jello, Reese applying new tape to his hockey stick and Dewey plays with Egg.

In the boys' bedroom, a guilty and remorseful Malcolm calls Francis for his advice in what to do to fix this issue. He mentions that with Julie hating him and the family not speaking to each other, Malcolm feels lost in trying to solve the issue on his own. Francis is elated by this news and mentions he knew the family being divided was going to happen sooner or later. He wisely suggests to Malcolm that he uses a scapegoat to absolve his guilt and give the family someone that they can blame all their problems on. Francis continues to explain whenever he's at home and with Lois blaming him for their problems as the scapegoat, he was able to keep them together. Without him or anyone else to blame their problems on, the Wilkersons doesn't know what to do with themselves and are giving each other the silent treatment. Malcolm thanks Francis for his help and hangs up. He realizes Francis is right: the family needs a scapegoat to blame all of their problems on. Since he tore the family apart by being selfish, he should end the conflict and knows who will make the perfect scapegoat: Reese.

Hal and Lois both reach for the last cookie, before receding their arms. Coming into the living room, Malcolm addresses his family and apologizes for tearing them apart because of his own selfish needs. This gets Lois' attention knowing he's taking responsibility for his mistake. However, Malcolm tells them he's not done yet and reveals Reese's actions are much worse than him tearing the family apart. Despite his attempts to stop Malcolm, he grabs Reese's backpack and takes out the crushed Mighty Man toy from the backpack, exposing his plans to their parents. Lois furiously asks Malcolm if this was Dewey's birthday present. This catches Dewey's attention and confirming it was indeed his. Lois immediately confronts Reese for ruining Dewey's upcoming birthday with his selfishness in breaking the very expensive Mighty Man toy and wasting their money in doing so. Hal agrees and confronts him by taking his hockey stick and pointing out to Reese that it was a terrible thing to do to Dewey. A smug Malcolm reveals to his parents about Reese's true motivation in why he was so enthusiastic to attend Aunt Helen's funeral. Reese has plans to stash the remains inside the coffin so they couldn't blame him without evidence. Hal and Lois are appalled further by this confession and faces him. Hal voices his anger at Reese for his intentions to make Aunt Helen spend the rest of eternity holding a crushed Mighty Man toy for his own amusement and wasting both his and Lois' money in destroying the toy. Dewey is obviously very hurt that his birthday is ruined and will never get his present because of Reese. Hal and Lois both agree that it's a new low on his part. Reese stands up attempting to lie his way out of trouble by claiming it to be circumstantial and he had no idea how the toy got in his bag. However, Hal and Lois don't believe him at all and force him back onto the couch. Reese then reminds Lois that the family isn't going to Aunt Helen's funeral because she said so. She tells him off that he can guess again and decides that the entire family will attend the funeral immediately so he can apologize to Aunt Helen right away. Lois also announces that everyone in the family will do the same for her. Hal herds everyone (including Egg) in the family car wearing the clothes they currently have on and if they drive creatively, they can make the ending of the funeral.

At Aunt Helen's funeral, Hal gives out a heartfelt and amusing speech about her life. This impresses the family, Egg and the funeral attendees. Lois is talking to Francis on the lawyer's phone and admits she's impressed with Hal's speech. He asks for his phone back and she tells him to wait a minute longer because she's almost done. Lois apologizes to Francis for her earlier behavior and mentions how lovely Aunt Helen looks in the coffin. While continuing her conversation with him, Reese is seen facing the wall with his nose to the corner as his punishment for ruining Dewey's present and he tries to turn away. However, Lois immediately catches Reese in the act and loudly shouts at him to face the wall again and shocking everyone in the funeral. Fearing further punishment, Reese immediately faces the wall again. She calmly tells Francis about his actions in ruining Dewey's birthday for next week and breaking the Mighty Man toy.

Malcolm claims it has been a pretty productive day, now he has Julie Houlerman hating him and Reese waiting to kick his ass when they get home. But he decides to help his elderly Uncle Louie by giving him a water because he needs someone to put in a good word for him just in case Aunt Helen decides to bad mouth him to God.


  • 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[]



Malcolm: But, it’s not half as bad. It’s what Reese did!
[Lois had just gotten wind of Reese breaking Dewey's birthday present, thank to Malcolm taking the backpack and revealing the crushed Mighty Man toy as proof of his older brother's wrongdoing.]
Lois: Oh my God! Was this Dewey's present?
Dewey: Present?
Lois: Reese, how could you? Do you know how expensive this was? HAL!
Hal: I'm on it. [standing up and taking Reese's hockey stick] That was a terrible thing to do to your little brother.
Malcolm:[smug] There's more. He was going to bury it with Aunt Helen.
[Lois and Hal are further disgusted with Reese.]
Hal: You were going to make Aunt Helen spend eternity with a crushed Mighty Man.
Dewey: Mighty Man?!
Lois: I can't believe you.
Hal: This is a whole new low, Reese.
Reese:[Attempts to stand up, but Hal and Lois force him back on the couch] First of all, this is all circumstantial. I don't know how that thing got in my backpack. And as for this Aunt Helen business, no one knows what I would've done at that funeral because we're not going.
Lois:[convinced] Who says "we're" not going.
Reese: You did!
Lois: Well you can guess again. You're going to march right up to that coffin and apologize to that poor dead woman. (to Hal) We all are!
Hal: All right everyone in the car as is we’ll have to drive creatively but we might make the end let’s go chop chop here we go! (Everyone heads out the door to car) (Egg still sitting in living room Hal comes back in) Egg! psst come on! (Takes Egg outside)

Hal: [Standing at church altar podium giving speech] Aunt Helen used to say, [in a raspy voice] "Oh, you're going to miss me when I'm gone". And, uh, by the looks of today's turnout I could see it wasn't just an idle threat.
Lois: [On cell phone talking to Francis] Yeah Francis, your father's giving out a speech and it's actually kind of good.
Lawyer: Can I get my phone back?
Lois: I'm almost done, sweetie. [continues talking to Francis] Oh, Aunt Helen looks just lovely.
[Reese is seen with his back turned facing the corner and his nose to the wall as his punishment for breaking Dewey's birthday present as well as his intentions to stash the remains in Aunt Helen's coffin. He turns around thinking Lois hasn't seen him. Unfortunately, she busted him doing so and is angry at him.]
Lois: [yelling at Reese] YOU TURN RIGHT BACK AROUND, MISTER!!!
[Everyone else is shocked as Reese in fear turns around to face the wall.]
Lois: [to Francis] You'll never guess what Reese did.
Malcolm: Well, it's been a pretty productive day. I made Julie Houlerman hate me. Reese is gonna kill me the second we get home, and right now Aunt Helen is personally bad-mouthing me to God. (picks up glass of water) You want some more water, Uncle Louie?
Uncle Louie: Sure.
Malcolm: I need someone to put in the good word for me. (Looks and smiles at Louie)


  • Erik Per Sullivan and Alexander Gould later appeared in Finding Nemo.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Julie Houlerman.
  • The song that Hal plays on his stereo is "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheel.
  • A bug can be seen crawling down the wall, just over Reese's left shoulder as he is saying "It's anarchy, baby!"