Houseboat is the first episode of season 3 and the 42nd episode overall in Malcolm in the Middle. It was directed by Todd Holland and written by Bob Stevens. It aired on November, 11, 2001.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Malcolm's family and the Kenarbans vacation together on a houseboat, while Reese and Stevie hang out with girls who like to take off their bras. Malcolm soon becomes annoyed with spending time with Hal and leaves him on a buoy.

Meanwhile, Francis' friend, Eric drops out of the military academy to take on a logging job in Alaska and Francis gets himself emancipated so he can join him, incurring Lois' wrath because she was against him leaving school from the start.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Hal and Lois are hot as the boys run in the house to their room with garbage bags. After opening the bags, cool air filters through. Malcolm remarks that Stevie's house has air conditioning and the boys leave to get more.

At a sporting store, Malcolm is talking to a girl he just met, describing his vacation to an island and his hobby as a cliff-diver. Malcolm explains to the audience that they are actually sharing a houseboat with Stevie's family on a man-made lake by a power plant, but wouldn't want to meet the girl that would impress. Dewey is looking at a display of a basketball hoop, Lois warns him not to touch it. Lois tells Hal to get out of the changing room to see his bathing suit, Hal complains that the swim trunks she picked out for him are too baggy. Lois states that baggy is good and it is the less surface area she has to shave. Hal wants to buy a speedo, but Lois refuses. She reminds him that he always pops out of those and exposing his privates. Hal argues that kind of incident only happened one time. Lois orders him to get the swim trunks. Hal complains and mentions that he likes the speedos. She further reminds him that they're going to be in close quarters with the conservative Kenarbans. If Lois allows Hal to get the speedo, it would traumatize them enough to stop inviting the Wilkersons to any of their gatherings. She maintains her stance in telling him to get the swim shorts. Hal tries to convince her to let her show him the speedo, but Lois isn't interested in seeing a suit in an egg. Before Lois can see Hal, she sees the basketball hoop display falling over. She realizes that it's Dewey who disobeyed her orders to not touch it and leaves to retrieve him. Reese asks a store employee to let him see a spear gun that's on display, and allows him to touch it. Hal comes out of the dressing room wearing his speedo, walks over to a lady thinking it’s Lois, and slaps her on the rear end, he runs back to the dressing room, but realizes he has gotten locked out. He calls to Malcolm for help, but Malcolm pretends not to know him in order to keep impressing the girl he is with, he asks her if she wants to pick out a surfboard. Hal is stopped by the manager and a security officer, he tries to explain the situation and calls out to Malcolm, but he is escorted out of the store, taken to be arrested. Meanwhile, Reese plays with the spear gun, impaling a display mannequin.

At Marlin Academy, Francis' cadet friend, Eric, is frantically packing up his stuff in their dorm room. Francis is worried because they were supposed to practice military drills on Spangler's orders, and that he will be in huge trouble. Eric tells Francis that he isn't afraid of Spangler anymore, he uses a crowbar to pry open a secret stash of pornographic movies and nude magazines. Francis tries to convince him he cannot just leave, Eric says that he can because he recently turned eighteen and as a legal adult he can make his own decisions, his first leaving Marlin Academy without graduating. Eric says that he's going to find work in Alaska. He tells Francis that it's crazy up there, one can make $45 an hour on oil rigs and logging camps without the requirement of a high school diploma. Francis asks more about the salary, Eric tells him room and board is included, his plan is to work a number of years and then have all the money he'll need for life. He gives him a tape of nude girls to remember him by.

At the Wilkerson house, Lois berates Malcolm for Hal almost becoming a registered sex offender just because he wanted to impress the girl he was with. Malcolm tells her he does feel terrible, understanding what he did could be the worst thing he has ever done, Reese believes he is the good one who's well behaved. Lois points out that their father only gets one vacation a year and the situation caused by Malcolm got it off on a bad start, Lois orders him to apologize to his father while she answers the phone. Hal lifts a large, rectangular wooden box in the master bedroom, refusing to talk to Malcolm and tells Reese to close the door in his face. Soon Lois is arguing with Francis on the phone, he implores his mother about the salary being larger than her's and Hal's jobs. But she refuses and orders him to graduate from Marlin Academy. Francis tells her it isn't worth the tuition they're paying and they know he's flunking anyway, Lois not knowing this before knows now. Lois stays strong and orders him to stay in school until he graduates and that's all there is to it, she warns him if he flunks out, he'll be stuck for another year. Francis gets so upset that Lois refuses to accept the fact that he will be making more money than her. Francis angrily slams the phone's receiver down and the phone falls off the wall and onto his foot. In pain, he stumbles against a trophy cabinet, breaking it and falling to the floor. Then, the trophy cabinet falls on him.

The Wilkerson family and the Kenarbans are at the lake, Abe asks Kitty if she packed his hat, Kitty says she didn't, Abe brushes it off with making a new one out of newspaper. Malcolm describing his situation with his father to Stevie. Both families arrive at the houseboat named "The King Of The Seas". Dewey panics when he learns there's no TV aboard. Hal points to the landscape around them and tells him that is their TV. Malcolm begs for his father to talk to him, Hal decides to tell him: he opens the wooden box from earlier and it has a Cavanaugh fishing rod inside, he explains to his son that last year, he saw him reading a magazine that had a picture of a father and son fishing and he commented on how he would want to try fishing. Hal kept looking at the picture and thinking about him and Malcolm, he decided to put a little money away to buy the fishing rod for Malcolm to plan a father/son fishing trip. Malcolm fells better when his father seems to have forgiven him for the sporting store incident, Reese and Stevie are staring at something, some cute girls in bikinis come by and greet themselves to the boys. Malcolm asks about the speedboat, the girls stole from their spirit camp, and that they're going to smoke some cigarettes. Malcolm, Reese, and Stevie immediately realize that the girls are cheerleaders, really bad ones. One of the girls tells them they have not seen any boys in the past 6 weeks, and she comments they look great, another one of the girls unties her bikini top. As they leave, the girls invite Malcolm, Reese and Stevie to come play with them. The boys quickly get to the motorboat to follow the cheerleaders, just when Hal is all ready to take Malcolm fishing to catch everyone's dinner. Before Hal leaves, he tells Reese not to take it personally, that it's a special one-time thing with Malcolm. Reese taunts Malcolm how he cannot go with Reese and Stevie to the girl's cheer-leading spirit camp, Malcolm points out it's too bad because he and their father are taking the only boat. While Malcolm and Hal are bored out of their minds fishing in the lake (and not catching anything), Malcolm assumes Reese and Stevie are just as bored and miserable as him. However, Reese and Stevie have fashioned their own boat made from inner tubes, pool rafts, and other floats to paddle their way to the girls' spirit camp. Stevie tells Reese when they arrive at the camp to call him 'Snoop'.

The next day, Dewey sees a rope swing over the water, and decides to jump into the water while on it, but gets too scared to let go of the rope and hangs there for the rest of the day. Lois, Kitty, and Abe are playing a relaxing game of Scrabble on the houseboat, Kitty and Abe's tensions towards each other are beginning to show given the words spelled out on the board.

Meanwhile at Marlin Academy, Francis is laying in his bed covered in bandages, Commandant Spangler is unsympathetic of the huge gash in Francis's leg and gives him a hammer so that he can get started fixing the trophy case because Francis that he damaged school property and that he must be the one to repair it, he tells him to consider it a lesson of building character. Francis explains that he did not damage anything; it was negligence that the phone was improperly connected into the wall and finds this punishment unfair. Spangler tells him he decides what's fair, he thinks about if he was too harsh, then stands by his decision and orders Francis to fix the trophy case by the end of the week. Francis loses his patience and decides he's done with Marlin Academy.

Back at the lake, Lois tells him to let go of the rope as he has gotten sunburned. Dewey refuses to do so as he is afraid of falling into the water. Finally, Lois decides to start throwing rocks at Dewey to get him to let go of the rope. That night on the houseboat, Hal is telling about him and his son catching a large fish in the lake, only to reveal his struggles came from getting a worm on the hook. Dewey is bruised and sunburned, Lois not telling Hal about what happened. Malcolm is miserable about how bored he was being stuck out in the lake for hours. Reese and Stevie can't stop smiling, when Malcolm asks the reason why, Reese responds with how he likes the potatoes they're eating and high fives with Stevie. Malcolm learns that they went to the cheerleading camp and asks them what it was like. Reese describes it as one hundred fat guys falling down stairs and knocking over old ladies, multiply it by ten and you're not even close. Stevie says that until today, he would have traded his life for anybody's, he pulls out a bikini top he got from one of the girls at the camp. Malcolm does not believe them and says it belongs to their mom. Reese takes the bikini top and smells it to prove it was not from Lois. Abe Kenarban comments on how dinner was delicious and leaves to go into the bedroom, Kitty apologizes to Hal and Lois about how mopey Abe was being, Lois does not understand, Kitty knows that her husband is ruining the vacation for everyone with his pouting and sarcasm, Lois encourages her to talk to Abe. Abe comes back to comment on how beautiful it is tonight, Kitty agrees with Lois and goes into the other room to talk things over. Hal reminds Malcolm to get some sleep because they get up very early tomorrow morning, Stevie wishes Malcolm a good night's sleep while he and Reese make a second trip to the cheer-leader's camp. Abe and Kitty Kenarban start arguing in their room about how he hates the boat, the lake, everything about the vacation, Kitty asks about why he didn't say anything sooner, Abe says it would not make a difference if he had said anything sooner and reminds her the trip was her idea and God knows that whatever Kitty wants, Kitty gets. Kitty tells him to stop the rude behavior, Abe comments on how would be sitting in suite in Hawaii if it weren't for Kitty, Kitty tells him the Wilkersons can't afford Hawaii, Abe sarcastically apologizes for going to college to make a decent living, he then asks if he should drive a crappy car like them. Abe claims the Wilkersons cannot hear them, despite the houseboat's walls being thin. Abe further states that even if they could they could understand that it is just his puckish sense of humor and that they're too dumb to know, Lois tells Hal to turn on the radio. In the morning, Hal and Malcolm get their gear ready for another day of fishing. As Malcolm leaves the houseboat to get to the motorboat, Reese and Stevie return from the camp, Reese shines a flashlight on his neck revealing that he got a hickey. Malcolm is starting to grow annoyed with spending time with Hal, under his breath he counts the drops of sweat that falls from his earlobe.

Francis is in the office of a corrupt lawyer and he explains that he never wanted to come to this, but there is so much torment he could take. The lawyer tells him that he doesn't need to convince him because this is the kind of injustice the state of Alabama is designed to address. Francis is given some legal documents, he fakes his parents' signatures, and gives them to the lawyer -- who's also a notary -- to get it expedited, Francis has gotten himself emancipated, allowing him to withdraw from school. He thanks the lawyer for his help. As he is leaving, the lawyer answers a call pretending to be his secretary.

Lois saddles Reese with caring for Dewey, so Reese and Stevie ditch him on a buoy telling him a phony story about wish-granting mermaids while they paddle back to the cheerleading camp. Malcolm continues to be bored all day sitting in the motorboat with Hal not catching any fish. Malcolm notices something in the water, one of the cheerleader girls comes out from the water. She tells him that she and her naked friends got tired of waiting, and that he shouldn't let his brother Reese have all the fun, it is revealed to be a daydream. Malcolm decides to tell Hal why he didn't help him at the sporting store, and is a somewhat proud of Malcolm for talking to a girl he has an interest in. Finally, Malcolm's gets a grip on a fish and catches it, he and his father start bonding even more. At that moment the cutie girls speed by again, and Malcolm finds bikini tops floating in the water, Hal finds Reese's shirt and Malcolm revs up the boat's engine causing Hal to fall overboard. Hal is still holding onto the boat, he asks his son why he sped up the boat, Malcolm pushes him off and takes the dinghy to go after the girls. Hal yells to Malcolm that he's in so much trouble, but he doesn't care about it. Malcolm passes by the buoy Dewey was left on by Reese and Stevie and simply calls out "Hi Dewey" and leaves him stranded too. Dewey just waves at Malcolm as he speeds away, having expected him not to help him.

Meanwhile back at the houseboat, Lois is reading a book, Abe goes into the other room, Lois again encourages Kitty to talk to her husband when he continues to pout. They start another argument behind the thin walls, and when Lois hears a loud crash, she busts in... only to seriously regret walking in on the Kitty and Abe having sex. Humiliated, she washes her hands and collects her family to go back home.

Back at home, Malcolm and Reese are cleaning the kitchen oven. He explains that after Lois found out about them and Stevie abandoning Hal and Dewey on the buoy to go to the cheerleader's camp, she was so furious with them about it. Therefore, she has punished Reese and Malcolm with three weeks of household chores. Knowing his relationship with Hal will never be the same, Malcolm thinks it was worth it because he can't stop smiling (Malcolm got a chance to have fun with the cute cheerleaders). Meanwhile, Hal decides to reach out to Dewey and plans a little father/son ventriloquism, which both seem to enjoy. Lois is going through the mail while they were gone. She becomes furious when she learns that Francis quit school and is going to Alaska. Hal reminds Lois that he needs their permission to leave school. She points out that Francis doesn't need their permission because he got himself legally emancipated by forging their signatures. Lois shows the family the document proving her point, everyone in the family is now shocked by this.

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]

  • Scott Adsit as Attorney
  • Brooke Anne Smith as Tracey
  • Shannon Woodward as Tammy
  • Matthew Morgan Scott as Sales Guy
  • Whitney Laux as Girl
  • Stella Bach as Saleswoman
  • Lawrence A. Mandley as Security Guard(credited as Lawrence C. Mandley)

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Lois:[on the phone with Francis] Absolutely not, Francis.
Francis: You're not listening, I could make $45. That more than what you or dad make.
Lois: You are going to graduate from high school.
Francis: Why spend the tuition? It's at total waste of money and we both know I'm failing.
[All is quiet for a moment.]
Francis: Okay, now we both know.
Lois: Francis, you are going to stay in school until you graduate and that is all there is to it, and if you flunk out, then that's just another year you're stuck there!
Francis: You just can't stand the fact that I'll be making more money than you!

Lois:[Reading a document from the mail, regarding from an Alabama lawyer] Oh my god.
Hal: What is it?
Lois: It's Francis. He quit school. He's on his way to Alaska.
Hal: Well, that's ridiculous, he can't just take himself out of school. He has to have our permission.
Lois: No, he doesn't. [shows a legal document involving Francis' emancipation.] He got himself legally emancipated.

Francis: [At a lawyer's office in Alabama.] You know I didn't want it to come to this, but there is so much a person can be pushed.
Lawyer: You don't have to persuade me. This is the kind of injustice the Alabama legal system was designed to address. [Hands Francis a legal document.] Sign here.
[Francis signs his own name on the document.]
Lawyer: And we'll need your parents' signatures at the bottom.
[With the lawyer not looking, Francis forges his parents' signatures and hands the document back to the lawyer.]
Lawyer: Great! I'm a notary as well as a lawyer so I can have this expedited.
Francis: [Shakes the lawyer's hand.] Great.
[The phone rings and the lawyer answers it]
Lawyer (in falsetto voice): Hello... Well he's with a client right now, can he call you back?"

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Francis quits military school in this episode, getting himself legally emancipated. This action ends up earning the wrath of Lois whom was against him leaving school from the start.
  • Francis was right about the phone being loose from the wall, this is known as negligent destruction of property.
    • Despite this, Spangler still didn't care at least until Dewey's Dog where his negligence and drunken nature came back to haunt him.
  • Francis is 17 in this episode.
  • Last appearance of Kitty Kenarban, before leaving in the episode Goodbye Kitty. She briefly returns in Kitty's Back.
  • Eric Hanson turned 18 years old in this episode.
  • Reese's shirt and the bikini tops of the cheerleaders was seen floating in the water while Hal and Malcolm caught their fish. This implies that they were nearby, engaged in a sexual debauchery that may have been the closest Reese has ever gotten to losing his virginity.
  • Malcolm and Reese's voices become fully deep starting with this episode.
  • In the original script, Lois was supposed to tell Hal to stay inside the fitting room while she's dealing with Dewey for breaking an expensive basketball hoop. After collecting him, she catches Reese playing with a spear gun on display and breaking an expensive crystal surfboard. Lois also collects him and take both him and Dewey back to the fitting rooms. Making the two boys wait for her, Lois returns to have Hal show her the speedo. Reese and Dewey attempts to scream in terror and she covers their mouths with her hands. While she is impressed it fits Hal, Lois still refuses to let him buy one and orders him to get the swim trunks by reminding him about sharing quarters with the Kenabans. Malcolm, Dabney and Lloyd are talking to a few girls from the cheerleading camp.
    • After coming home and paying the expensive fee, Lois grounds Reese and Dewey for a month. She makes them spend time with Hal fishing. Like in the show, Lois later gets into a fight with Francis over his plans to quit school and work in Alaska.
    • When they arrive at the pier, the Wilkersons discover there three houseboats. One for Abe and Kitty, another for Los and Hal and one for the kids. However, only Malcolm and Stevie are to room together with Dabney and Lloyd. Lois makes Reese and Dewey stay her and Hal, so the three can leave on their fishing trip in the morning. When they try to protest, she reminds the two boys that they nearly got the family banned from the sports store because of them breaking expensive items.
    • Malcolm and the Krelboynes sneaks off to go to a cheerleading camp using a boat that Abe gifted Stevie. They return smiling, but Lois and Kitty assumes that the boys are enjoying themselves. Reese suspects there's a cheerleading camp nearby and tries to bust Malcolm and his friends in the other houseboat. Lois catches him and drags him back by the ear, reminding him that he's supposed to spend time with Hal fishing.
    • Bored and annoyed, Reese escapes from the boat with Hal and Dewey and swims towards the speed boat where Malcolm and his friends are with the cheerleaders. Soon another speed boat goes by and not being bright, Reese follows it. By the time he gets on the deck, he discovers that he got on the wrong boat and it's filled with upperclassmen jocks who attend his future high school, North High. They hilariously beat up Reese, leave him on the buoy and speed off.
    • Hal and Dewey are enjoying themselves as they catch a really big fish. They speed off and rescues Reese off the buoy with the big fish they caught.
    • In the end after Lois takes the family home, Reese is grounded further because of his abandonment and has to do three months of household chores. Malcolm is happy about his vacation with his friends. Hal and Dewey bond over how much fun the fishing trip. They decide to make plans to go fishing again. Like in the episode's ending, the mood is destroyed when Lois finds out that Francis got himself emancipated and is leaving for Alaska.

Errors[edit | edit source]

  • When the boys are talking with the cheerleaders on their boat from the dock, one of the girls loosens the straps on the head cheerleader's bikini. After she says "follow us and find out", the boat is shown driving away and her bikini straps are secured tightly again.
  • Shortly before Malcolm catches the fish, as he is talking to Hal, a powerboat passes from left to right in the distance behind Hal. There is a quick camera shot back to Malcolm for a line, and when the camera returns to Hal, the same boat is closer and heading from right to left.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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