Ida Welker (née Kenzel) (she has likely gone back to using her maiden name after her husband's death) is Lois' conniving, inhumanly evil mother.
She serves as one of the primary antagonists of the show.
Ida once met a wealthy Chinese man named Mr. Li. She drugged him continuously to put him in a state of bliss, then planned to marry him. The Wilkersons discovered what Ida was doing at the wedding, and she wasted all of the pills on them so they couldn't call the police. The drugs wore off on Mr. Li and he immediately left. Lois claimed that this was one of the most diabolical things Ida has ever done.
One of the many aspects of her selfishness is that she hired a slave to work for her named Raduca(portrayed by Rheagan Wallace). She later revealed that the main reason she brought her to America was to marry Raduca and Reese, and she made Reese and Malcolm compete to marry Raduca in challenges. The first challenge involved the boy's ears being tied to strings and the first one to step back five spaces was the winner; Reese won this challenge. The second challenge involved trying to escape a bag with a fighting pit-bull and a cat inside; Reese won this challenge as well. Malcolm won the next challenge because it dealt with intelligence, but even though Malcolm won, Reese eventually married Raduca in Las Vegas.
It was shown in the two part episode Baby Part 1 and Baby Part 2, that Ida is a real bigot towards black people. Lois, Francis and Piama used Abe and his poker buddies in their scheme to drive her away. Ida eventually moves in with her younger daughter Susan when she explains the misunderstanding.
It was also revealed in Garage Sale, that both Victor and Ida favor Susan because she was talented and high class. She has called on her when she needed help. Ida has also treated Lois with contempt because she was classless, bossy and untalented. It was also shown in Victor's Other Family, that she despises his secret family and demands for Sylvia's family to hand over Victor's pension to her. During the trip to Mr. Dietrich's office, the pension is revealed to be $43 in Canadian and because of the dispute with the other family, he isn't confident in breaking even. Lois pleads with Ida to drop the case, but she refuses. When confronted why, she tells her that she doesn't care if she loses money on it, she is Victor's common law wife and is entitled to his pension. The only time she has shown love for Lois was while she was attempting to help her with a potential lawsuit for the pension against Sylvia's family. She encouraged Ida to work on her behavior so that way people can see her as more than a miserable, chain-smoking and greedy person. It was eventually revealed that Ida had a relationship with a man named Radu Gogorsky whom was Lois' biological father and not Victor. Upset at the revelation and now realizing that her mother is always gonna be a monster, Lois abandons the case and returns to California with Reese, Malcolm and Jamie.
In the episode "Ida Loses a Leg" it was shown she has great care for her family while outside smoking a cigarette, she observes Dewey chase after his toy car into the street with a dumpster truck who is speeding toward him distracted by flossing his teeth. Ida then runs into the street to push Dewey out of harms way losing her leg in the process. Later into the episode Dewey makes a leg model of Ida's leg in which he thanks it for saving his live only to have his new dog dig it out of the ground and carry it into the garage. Hal and Dewey attempt to lure out Champion (Dewey's dog) by throwing steaks and poking them with a stick, they later end scene with Hal telling him to "Live up to his potential, they later decide to get rid of the dog.
Ida is greedy, racist, manipulative, black hearted, chain-smoker, and is quick to take offense. Despite the fact that she makes the lives of everyone she interacts with a living hell, she complains about her own life almost every time she opens her mouth. There is absolutely no pleasing her as she finds the dark side of even the nicest and most normal things in the world and always finds something to complain about. The whole family hates her, though Reese is shown to still have some love for her, only because he is her favorite grandchild. She is cruel to the point that she stabs Francis in the thigh with a knitting needle, decides to sue Hal and Lois after slipping on a leaf, (Grandma Sues) injures Francis by squeezing his crotch, and withheld Christmas gifts because of minor offenses (Christmas) and even nailing lois’s hand to a stump in a forest when she was a child. Hal even compares Ida leaving them alone to Christmas and members of the family have made it clear that they want Ida to die.
|“||He was a wonderful....wonderful man.....||”|
— Ida drunkenly talking about her late husband
Ida seemed to have a good relationship with her late boyfriend who she considered her husband and the two were a perfect couple as they were both terrible parents and grandparents. Ida seemed to be very saddened when her husband died.
However, Ida was unaware that Victor was often very disgusted by her and thought little of her. He often left to have affairs with other women. Throughout their "marriage", he often left Ida to raise Lois by herself. Victor married to another woman, a good natured lady named Sylvia and he had a daughter, Roberta with her. With his other family, Victor is more of a loving father to them than he was with Lois. When she was growing up, he suspected that Lois wasn't his daughter and Ida had been lying to him the whole time. Victor often came back to Ida mainly because he loved Susan and was an idyllic father to her too. He didn't care for Ida and Lois in any manner. In Victor's Other Family, it was revealed that she wasn't legally married to Victor at all and that she had an affair with Radu Gogorsky.
|“||Reese I have watched you grow all these years! You are the one hope for this family!||”|
— Ida to Reese
Reese is shown to be the only one of her grandchildren that Ida truly cares for most likely due to his destructive talents and manly nature though on some occasions Reese is shown to dislike her such as in "Ida's Boyfriend" when he learned she would be moving to China and along with his father and brothers was excited at the news. He was also angered that she would be babysitting him and Malcolm as a punishment from Lois. Reese appears to love her in "Bride of Ida" to win three challenges to marry her maid Raduca and compliments his grandmother's heritage. Ida possibly believes that Reese is the only one of her grandchildren to be capable of finding a wife (she does not consider Piama to be Francis' wife). Ida however was disgusted that Reese lost the challenge at the end to Malcolm. However in "Graduation" she is thrilled at Reese's plot to detonate a barrel filled with crap at his ceremony to get the head janitor fired and she advises him on always having someone to take the blame for his actions.
|“||Let him go! It's the little one that owes me his life.||”|
— Ida to Francis and Lois after she saved Dewey's life
Not much is known about Ida's opinions on Dewey as they rarely interact, though Ida appears to not care much for him and is revealed to have abused and neglected him as an infant in The Grandparents and has been nasty to him. They have a short interaction in Grandma Sues, when Dewey (falsely) told Ida that the family was going to miss her, to which she replied "Even the little one lies." Despite this, in the episode Ida Loses a Leg, she went out of her way to save his life by preventing him from being run over by a truck. This caused her to lose one of her legs in the process. After this Ida has stated that Dewey owes her his life for saving him though refused to talk to him after the incident.
Dewey's feeling on Ida are very clear though. Dewey is terrified of Ida, not only because of the obvious fact that she's a horrible person, but also because of multiple things she did to him when he was very young, shown by flashbacks in the episode "The Grandparents" in which she dropped Dewey on his butt as a baby. He also appeared excited in Bride of Ida when he learns she would be moving away to China, showing that he wants her to leave and likely hates having her around.
|“||Can't you do the entire family a favor and just die?! All you have ever done is treat us like dirt! You shouldn't even be allowed to be a grandma!||”|
— Francis to Ida after she stabs him in the leg
Ida and Francis almost completely despise each other. Unlike everyone else who fakes it, Francis refuses to make nice to Ida and always makes it known he hates her, however he is the one who usually provokes her into getting into fights and hurting him, often for completely unnecessary reasons such as the way she butters toast (Grandma Sues). Ida views Francis as being nothing other than a weak, useless, hopeless and stupid delinquent. Despite this, Ida appeared to care for Francis when he was little and even bought him a toy he wanted badly for Christmas but when he was handed the phone to talk to her, he insulted her by calling her "poopy", making her despise him. Among with all the other things she also had to endure him when he was living with her while Lois was dealing with Reese (Ida Loses a Leg). Francis despises having to spend time with her as shown in "Christmas" and "Ida Loses a leg". Ida has also physically hurt Francis on numerous occasions such as stabbing him in the leg for provoking her and Francis has made it extremely clear that he wants Ida to die. However, it's revealed in Ida Loses a Leg, that both have one thing in common, they hate Lois for being bossy and seemed to get along for a while. Despite this Francis deeply despises her and in the series finale came close to hitting her with a fire poker after being forced to drive her.
|“||The closest thing we have to a boy is you.||”|
— Ida to Malcolm after being informed of the shortage of boys to compete in her challenges to marry Raduca
For unknown reasons, Ida does not care much for Malcolm and considers him to be hopeless and weak and also reveals in "Ida's Boyfriend" that she thinks he is gay. This may be because she resented Lois all her life for being weak and believes that Malcolm inherited all of her weak attributes. She also does not show any praise for his superior intelligence and even thinks that Reese is smarter than him. She once even caused him to be beaten up by bullies to try and turn him into a tougher individual. Malcolm has tried on a few occasions to get along with her though Ida completely disrespects him and loathes him. She also does not even consider him to be a boy as revealed in "Bride of Ida" though she did show some slight respect for him after he successfully beat Reese at the games to win her maid's hand in marriage, however Malcolm did not want her praise at all and was frankly creeped out by it. Ida also sends Malcolm some money for his birthday in "Forwards Backwards", a measly $5 Canadian though he seems somewhat pleased. Throughout the series, Malcolm has revealed that he truly does not like Ida and fears her and hates having her around and was thrilled in "Ida's Boyfriend" that she would be moving away to China.
|“||Who the hell is Jamie?||”|
— Ida asking who Jamie is after Lois tells her he is playing with her smokes
Ida does not even seem to know or care that Jamie exists. The announcement of Lois' pregnancy with him in "Grandma Sues" did absolutely nothing to dissuade her from suing Lois for everything and in "Ida's Boyfriend" when Jamie was playing with her smokes and Lois drew her attention to it, she simply asked; "Who the hell is Jamie?". Jaime was even drugged by Ida along with the rest of the family in the same episode to prevent them from stopping her sham marriage. In "Victor's Other Family" Lois lied to Ida (in order to prevent her from visiting) by claiming they were throwing a birthday party for Jaime and Ida refused to come by claiming she was getting waxed. The two barely interact after this. Jamie however is the only one of her grandchildren not to suffer any direct form of abuse at her hands.
|“||Hal we can't do that she's my mother! My twisted horrible monster of a mother.||”|
— Lois to Hal after he threatens to throw Ida out of the house
Lois has a very poor relationship with her mother. Ida disrespects her and insults her whenever she gets a chance and has absolutely no love to share with her. She often blames Lois for making Victor leave her mainly because he is disgusted by her and even Ida. Ida even went as far as to almost sue her for everything she had after falling on her property. (Grandma Sues) Lois deeply despises when her mother visits the family and cannot wait to be rid of her and is so stressed by her visits that her sons are able to get away with trouble easily. Although they never seem to have any positive interactions with each other, Lois seems to still show some kind of care for her deep down. Ida, on the other hand, doesn't return the favor. It is revealed that Ida has mistreated and abused Lois her entire life and saw her as inferior to her younger, more talented sister, Susan Welker and Lois has always wanted to be better for that reason. However in Lois' Sister, Susan pointed out that Lois took the animosity between them and Ida to a new level by marrying Hal for herself. Ida resented Lois for stealing him away from Susan and mistreated her further since then, though this is hardly the reason since Ida was abusive to Lois her entire life and childhood. One time, Lois was talking about her childhood to Jamie and explained that throughout her whole childhood, she's been trying to be something she's not because her mother continuously tried to make her act that way, using the success of her sister as an influence. It was at this point, she made a breakthrough and realized that her mother was the source of all her problems and that all the stress and anxiety in her childhood boiled down to her. (Reese vs. Stevie) On some extremely rare occasions, the two of them manage to get along and have a nice moment such as in the episodes "Ida's Dance" and "Victor's Other Family" although these moments do not last very long.
Although the two are never seen interacting on screen, Susan appears to have a much better relationship with her mother than Lois due to the fact Susan was heavily favored over Lois growing up. Ida also seems to prefer staying with Susan than she does with Lois although the two have had conflict a few times in the series such as when Ida left her due to Susan telling her the answer to "Wheel of Fortune". Ida is actually the reason Susan and Lois don’t get along because for her entire life Ida favored Susan and made her believe that she was inferior to Lois because while she treated Lois like a slave. She and Victor treated Susan as a princess and is their favorite. Hal's choice to marry Lois just added to the friction between them and his family. Ida and Susan blamed her everything on her for stealing him away years ago. In Victor's Other Family, it's revealed that she is Victor's biological daughter with Ida.
|“||We'll be separated from her by the entire molten core of a planet! It's like Christmas!||”|
— Hal about Ida's plans on moving to China
Hal completely despises Ida. He is shown to despise every minute that she spends time with the family and cannot wait to be rid of her as seen in "Grandma Sues" when he packs her bags to leave while she is in the middle of breakfast three hours ahead of her planned departure. Hal is filled with joy in "Ida's Boyfriend" when he learns that Ida plans on moving away to China (until he finds that Ida drugged Mr. Lee into attempting to marry her) and claims that it is like a Christmas gift to the family and also checks to make sure that there will be no interference in her departure, showing how badly he wants to be rid of her. Hal also seemed to show little remorse when she lost her leg saving Dewey's life and was more upset that Lois had to go and take care of Ida. Hal's hatred of Ida is also brought up in "Ida's Dance" where Lois is worried about her mother and plans to go visit her and Hal angrily reminds her that they made a pledge to not take any measures to prolong Ida's life, showing that he does not care if she dies. Ida also dislikes Hal and is nasty to him on numerous occasions. The reason for it, was revealed in Lois' Sister when Susan mentioned how angry Ida, Victor and his own family were with him in marrying Lois instead of her. This was also confirmed in Living Will.
In Victor's Other Family, Ida mentioned having an affair with Radu Gogorsky while being married to Victor. It was unclear what she thought of him, but she had an affair with Gogorsky to spite Victor after learning about his relationship with Sylvia and that has lead to Lois' birth. It was implied that Gogorsky never knew that she was his daughter because Ida not only didn't tell him, but also she stopped seeing him after Victor returned to her. When Lois confronted her since her blood type didn't match Victor's own for the DNA test, Ida was forced to admit that Gogorsky is her birth father and that Victor fathered Susan. Angered and betrayed at Ida for lying to her all those years, Lois willingly abandoned Ida's case and escaped with her boys back home.
In Victor's Other Family, Ida has a personal grudge with Sylvia. That grudge began years ago when she took Victor away, married him, had Roberta and stolen all of Ida's fancy items(including a couch she bought while she was in Paris). It got worse when Ida got violent on Sylvia years later during the first court case. She had lost the case thanks to a judge who was unconvinced that she was legally married to Victor due to her not having the proper marriage documents to prove she was married to him and was given a restraining order to stay away from Sylvia and her family. Ida violated that order by visiting them and Lois orders her to leave. From inside the living room, Sylvia reminds her that aside the restraining order and the police coming to arrest her, she is armed with a crochet hook. Ida ignores both of them, demanding that Sylvia's family surrender Victor's pension to her because she knows his she is entitled to that pension. Sylvia denies the knowledge of the pension, claiming she and her family never knew about it because Victor never told them. She also mentions that they only found out about his affair with Ida and the daughters she had with him. Ida is confident that once the truth is out, it will forever haunt Sylvia and her family for the rest of their lives. Lois quickly diffuses the situation by telling her that they will discuss it later when they're alone in her apartment. She makes her threat clear that unless Ida wants to have her wig removed to reveal both her tick scars and her bald head, she will quietly leave the house at once. Ida begrudgingly leaves the house, but not without warning Sylvia and her family that she will be back for revenge.
Later on, Lois discovered that Ida lied to her all her life and that she's not related to Victor and Roberta. Once she tells Sylvia this, she only agrees to sign over the pension as long as she never mentions sharing the same grudge as Ida for Victor's infidelity.
- The Grandparents
- Emancipation (Possibly Mentioned)
- Grandma Sues
- Baby Part 1
- Baby Part 2
- Ida's Boyfriend
- Victor's Other Family
- Ida Loses a Leg
- Ida's Dance
- Reese vs. Stevie (Mentioned)
- Bride of Ida
- Morp (Mentioned)
- Ida's the only family member outside of the main cast to appear in more than one episode.
- It's implied that Ida could be Mr. Herkabe's mother and she had another affair with a man named John Herkabe. If this is the case, he could be Lois and Susan's half-brother, along with Hal's brother-in-law and the boys' uncle.
- Originally, Victor's Other Family was going to be the last time the Wilkersons see Ida again as she is later arrested and disowned by Lois.
- Originally, Cloris Leachman was going to play Dewey's babysitter, Mrs. White, whom is kind, but scatterbrained due to her suffering from dementia similar to Maw Maw from Raising Hope.
- Ida had a sister, Helen Kenzel, who's funeral is featured in episode "Funeral".