Hal's Birthday is the fifteenth episode of the third season of Malcolm in the Middle, which was broadcast on March 3, 2002.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Lois arranges for Francis to come home on Hal's birthday as a surprise. Francis arrives with Piama (Emy Coligado), revealing to the family that she is his new wife.

Malcolm, Dewey, and Reese are immediately sent to bed while arguments rage on between Lois and Francis, ruining Hal's birthday. Meanwhile, the boys, upset that their parents don't care about their opinions, sneak off to a hotel with Hal's credit card to start a new life.

Summary[edit | edit source]

The boys are grounded for another unspecified prank they pulled in destroying the family's fireplace with another 3 weeks worth of household chores. Lois walks in and reminds them that their punishment isn't over until that fireplace is so spotless, they can eat off it and which they're going to be doing for the next two weeks. Reese argues with her that it's not fair that she has punish them again for her own mistake in not replacing the aging fireplace when she should have. Lois announces that he just bought himself another week of grounding for calling her out. Malcolm asks her when she will lift their punishment. Lois tells him that she will lift it when the boys learn not to play around with the fireplace again. She reminds them that today is Hal's birthday and they need to behave themselves. After Lois leaves, the boys stop cleaning the bricks of the fireplace and head into the kitchen. Malcolm finds a piece of paper in the trash and discovers that Lois has arranged for Francis to come home and visit as a birthday surprise for Hal. Excited to have him come home, the boys don’t say anything to Hal and return to cleaning the fireplace.

Later on at night, the Wilkersons are waiting for Francis to arrive with the cake ready to be cut. He arrives later on to the family's joy along with an unfamiliar woman. When asked who she is, the surprise is on everyone when Francis introduces Piama as his wife, having gotten married after their one-month engagement. Naturally Lois is furious and demanded to know why he's doing this to her again. She immediately sends Malcolm, Reese and Dewey to bed, but they all refuse to leave. They point out that even they agree with Lois that Francis pulled a boneheaded move in not telling the family. She screams at the boys to go to their rooms before she extends their grounding, making it clear she has no interest in their opinions. The boys leave for their room, while the arguments rage on with Lois and Francis, ruining Hal's birthday. Hal tries to calm everyone down, but Lois tells him that she is beyond calm. Piama calls her out for being mean to him, resulting in a fight between the two women. Lois is angered that out of her family, her new daughter-in-law is the only one who didn't back away when she got at her.

In the boys room, Malcolm, Reese and Dewey are all sick of how Lois doesn't care about what they think and discuss their plan of action. Since Lois won't listen to them, they'll sneak away to a hotel room and begin a new life away from the family using Hal's credit card. The boys pack what they need to bring and leave the room. As an argument continues to rage on, Malcolm announces that they've had it with and thus they're leaving to emancipate themselves from this family. He helps Reese and Dewey out the door and then closes it. However, no one pays them any attention due to Lois' preoccupation in being angry at Francis. Hal is depressed when he notices her ripping out his birthday cake with her bare hands and blaming their eldest son.

Eventually Hal and Lois realize the boys are missing and Hal heads out with Francis to look for them. Hal reprimands Francis in the car for making such a bad decision. He tried to defend himself in not waiting to marry Piama. Hal points out how disappointed he is in Francis because he didn't tell anyone but instead chose to land his new wife on the family expecting them to just accept it. He mentions that he had to wait a few years to marry Lois because he was dating Susan at the time. Hal reveals that if Francis had told him about the wedding, he would've been there. Francis feels guilty and apologizes to Hal, mentioning that even if he asked his father to come, Francis doesn't want to see Lois at his wedding. He knows she would try to ruin things for him by causing a scene. As they drive on, Bernard, the hamster in the orange ball is seen rolling his way to freedom.

At the hotel, Dewey convinces the rude concierge to let the boys stay in the hotel and use Hal credit card by pretending to throw up on the desk. He gives them key to the suite to keep them quiet. There, the boys have the time of their lives ordering $15 burgers and enjoying the Jacuzzi. They then decide to spend the money on the credit card.

At the Wilkerson Kitchen, Lois and Piama are trying to have a conversation. However, an argument breaks out between them. Piama tells Lois that she should drop the high-road act and admit how much she doesn't approve of her marriage to Francis. She mentions that she's 19, had lived in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and an absentee mother, been divorced two years prior and has no intentions in being a mother. Lois admits she doesn't like Piama at all because she is too much like Lois herself. Before another fight breaks out, Francis and Hal diffuses the situation by mentioning they know where the boys are.

Hal, Lois, Francis and Piama arrive to the hotel room where the boys are staying and confront them. They reassure the boys that they're not in trouble and just want to talk. They see past it and demand to leave. Lois asks the boys to come home and let the family explain their behavior. Reese and Dewey refuse once more, blaming her for not listening to them when they earlier voiced their disapproval over Francis' earlier decision. Malcolm wisely asks Lois to take a hard look at herself because the boys are in their rights to be mad at her for her behavior. He mentions that as a family, they need to listen to each other and talk in a mature manner, not behave like control freaks. Lois reassures Malcolm that she will hold back on being a control freak and apologizes for her earlier behavior. She mentions that she's just angry right now over Francis' behavior in marrying someone he barely knew. Piama tosses water on Lois, pointing out that she's acting like a control freak again. Before she could confront Piama, Hal diffuses the situation by tossing a bucket of water on her. Lois orders Francis to leave at once and take his wife with him.

The next day Malcolm recaps on what happened as Hal and Lois bid Francis and Piama farewell. After they leave, Lois catches Reese misbehaving by chasing Dewey around. She punishes him by writing a bill for $5 he needs to pay. Malcolm announces he hates the current system Lois has on them and wishes that she gone back to the grounding and chores punishment.

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]

Cameos[edit | edit source]

  • Wayne Wilderson as Hotel Concierge
  • Jim Meskimen as Waiter

Taped[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Hal and Francis drive past Bernard, the hamster in the orange ball that Dewey had set free in the episode Health Scare. This is the fourth time Bernard is seen rolling through the background. ("Health Scare", "Poker", "Reese Drives")
  • Lois told Francis he has been nothing but a problem since the day he was born just like the way she did in "Emancipation". She used it in the same tone of voice word for word.
  • When Francis and Hal talk in the car, they drive down Ventura Blvd, crossing Sunnyslope Ave here.[1]
  • First Appearance of Piama.
  • Piama said in one of her scenes with Lois that she was 19 years old, even though the actress who portrayed her (Emy Coligado) was about 30 years of age at the time of shooting.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

[The Wilkersons are all sitting at the table, there are burnt out candles on the cake and Hal is waiting to eat it.]

(Hal) We've been waiting for twenty minutes, Lois. When can we eat?

(Lois) [Slightly nervous] Hal, we have to wait for the ice cream to loosen up. You know you like it soft.

(Hal) No, I don't.

(Dewey) Yes you do!

(Malcolm) In fact, so do we! We ALL do!

(Lois) Since when?

(Reese) Since yesterday [winks]

(Hal) What happened yesterday?

(Reese) Dad, just be patient. This isn't a witch hunt! Just calm down, and whatever happens, is going to happen!

(Hal) [Slightly panicked] What are you talking about?

[Reese exchanges a nervous glance at the rest of the Wilkersons.]

(Reese) What I'm trying to say, is we're going to get through this together, as a family... [long pause] ...and as individuals! [longer pause] [Malcolm is looking at Reese with a worried expression on his face.]

(Reese) in this great country, where we live.

[The house is silent for about two seconds as everyone looks at Reese with a (you better not spoil this) look]

[The silence is shattered by the doorbell ringing.]

(Lois) [Relieved] Thank God!

References[edit | edit source]

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