Summary[edit | edit source]
Hal decides to coach Dewey's soccer team and turns them into monsters. Meanwhile, when Malcolm and Reese get a computer from their neighbor Ed, they discover his big secret and Reese blackmails him into doing things for him.
Malcolm gets addicted to The Virts. In Alaska, Piama kidnaps Lavernia's precious parakeet and demands better treatment for Francis, or else. When Francis finds out he must rescue and return the bird before the cops find out.
Plot[edit | edit source]
In the cold opening, Malcolm and Reese are too scared to leave their room as they listen to their mother yelling at Dewey. Lois is only pretending to yell at Dewey to keep the older boys in their room while reading a book, Hal commends her on a great idea but wishes she had told him sooner because he was hiding for outside for a half hour before coming in.
The weight of carrying the episode is wisely distributed four ways, giving Hal, Francis, Reese and Malcolm each an amusing scenario. The strongest, obviously, is the title subplot, in which Hal takes the reins of Dewey's failing soccer team and attempts to inject some team spirit among these sniveling whiners. He decides to motivate the team after the Tigers lose to the Blackhawks 48-0 before halftime, along with their refusal of kicking the ball, trouble finding the right field and one player named Billy who's highlight was using a practice method to run away from a butterfly that almost landed near him. Hal tells the boys that if they want to win they have to act like a team and asks them to think of a team. One boy suggests the X-Men--a team bent on vanquishing evil--elicits a genuinely positive response from them. Hal encourages them they are akin to the X-Mem and evil has infiltrated their soccer league and they are the only ones who haven't been corrupted. The Litmus test comes when the team is scheduled to play the Blackhawks, a rough-and-tumble bunch of lads spurred by a hissable hard-ass of a coach. Cranston shines wonderfully during his pre-game pep-speech. Hal revs up the boys, by telling them the Blackhawks are behind their mothers telling them they can't watch TV for no reason, their teachers giving them homework right when they are leaving school and they got the Christmas presents they didn't get and if it were up to them they wouldn't even have Christmas. This fills the boys with fury and instead of beating the Blackhawks at soccer, they simply beat up the Blackhawks. Dewey rubs one players face in the chalk outline on the field while his teammates jump on the Blackhawks backs, tie them up in the goal net and physically assault them. The referee attempts to blow the whistle but Hal claims he couldn't stop them if he wanted to.
Meanwhile, Francis is worked to the bone scrubbing floors for Lavernia, when he gets home he informs Piama that the blood from his knees was tracking behind where he had already scrubbed and after going around in circles she finally let him use dishtowels to stop the bleeding. Piama is appalled by Lavernia's cruelty and thinks someone should cut her belly open with a rusty knife and strangle her with her own entrails because Francis shouldn't be abused by a woman who she believes isn't worthy enough to eat toe jam. Later Francis is at work where him and Eric are trying to dispose of a caribou carcass and Eric is distressed since the antlers won't fit down the sink drain. Just then Lavernia pulls Francis away and gives him a new task checking the reception on the TV while ensuring some drinks haven't gone flat. Francis is puzzled by Lavernia's sudden pleasant demeanor towards him. He puts two and two together and deduces that Piama has blackmailed, threatened or done something similar to Lavernia in order to shut off her bitchiness to him. After much deliberation, Piama finally confesses that she has kidnapped Lavernia's beloved parakeet, demanding that she treat her new husband fairly. Francis is upset that she would make such a decision without talking it over with him, and he makes haste to return the bird to its rightful owner. Upon arrival, however, the parakeet has apparently died during the trip. Francis admits in hindsight he should've put a blanket over the cage. Horrified Francis bolts hysterically from the lodge before the wrath of Lavernia can fall fully upon him. That night he informs Piama what happened and is terrified of going back to work the next day. But remembers Lavernia also has a turtle.
Back at home, Malcolm and Reese now have their own computer. Thanks to an arrangement set up by Hal, the boys have acquired Ed's old laptop in exchange for doing a few chores for him. Malcolm is to set up his new laptop, while Reese must do odd jobs around Ed's house. When the boys discover some of his un-deleted emails on the hard-drive revealing him to be a neighborhood philanderer, Reese puts the information to good use by confronting Ed for the deal. He admits that it wasn't his fault but the women in the neighborhood are desperate and he can't help himself. Reese agrees to keep it quiet between them, providing that Ed becomes his personal servant. However, when a case of mistaken-identity lands Ed in the guidance counselor's office, where he must pose as Hal, he gleans enough dirt on Reese to turn the tables. Reese threatens to tell his wife about his philandering but Ed questions if Reese is more scared of his mother than he is of his wife. Reese admits defeat, then gives Ed a back rub and is tasked to run a dozen peach roses to Mrs. Malones.
Besides the emails, there's also a game on the hard-drive which piques Malcolm's interest. It's called 'The Virts,' and it is a plug-in-the-values program designed to create a cyber-family. Naturally, Malcolm uses his own family as the template and assigns specific negative attributes and situations to everyone except himself, who he gives only maximized positive attributes. With Stevie watching over his shoulder, Malcolm is shocked to find that because he spent so much time guiding them, his cyber-family is excelling phenomenally (Lois elected to the Supreme Court, Hal as a millionaire, Reese as a super-stud and Dewey achieving the Papacy). Meanwhile, the cyber-Malcolm becomes an overweight Scotch-guzzling drunk given to self-mutilation and suicide. Needless to say, the laptop ends up getting chucked out the window. He tells Stevie that it means nothing. Afterwards, Stevie points out to Malcolm that it was the game's way of telling him that he should've stopped his cyber version before hand by trying to fix his behavior. He mentions that he plays the Virts all the time, but he never gave his cyber version all of the positive attributes and he did pretty well. Stevie also reveals that because of Malcolm's lack of common sense in not balancing out his cyber-version by only giving him all positive traits and taking control of him, he ended up as a miserly and obese drunkard.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- [Ed has just learned about Reese reading his undeleted emails from his affair with the other women.]
- Ed: Oh my god, how much do you know?
- Reese: Everything. You might want to formulate your megabytes next time you get rid of your old computer. Oh, and by the way, Mrs. Swanbeck? You are sick!
- Ed: Keep your voice down.
- [Malcom is going through Ed's undeleted emails with Reese and Stevie and learns about his affair with half of the women in their neighborhood.]
- Malcolm: Here's one from old Mrs. Swanbeck.
- Stevie: Open the picture attachment.
- [Malcolm opens the picture attachment and he is disgusted along with Reese and Stevie.]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The Virts is a reference to the life simulation video game series The Sims.
- The soccer playing field was located at the south-western corner of the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Baseball Diamonds and Soccer Fields.
- Ed's garden was located here near this fake road on the premises of the CBS Studio Center. This private location would later be reused several times over the course of MitM, next time in Cliques.
- Lois only appears in the cold opening, and is absent for the entirety of the episode.
- The song that plays during the Tigers feud with the Blackhawks was Motivation by Sum 41.