Synopsis[edit | edit source]
After Malcolm and Reese cause a mishap with a steam cleaner, Lois finds out that Dewey stole a $150 bottle of cognac from the store where she works. She makes him return it, but she's fired by the store's tyrannic assistant manager, which leaves the family struggling.
Francis, chosen to be part of the color guard at a beauty pageant, gains special backstage access when some of the contestants think he's gay.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The episode starts with the cold open where Lois is washing the dishes and trying to stop Malcolm and Reese from fighting by spraying them, Dewey saying he hates his brothers while slamming his head on the dryer, and Hal pretending to work on something outside, but in fact working a crossword puzzle.
Malcolm is in school, saying how confused he is about Julie Houlerman, about whether she likes him or not. She greets him but he is unsure how to answer without acting like he does or doesn't like her, she leaves before he can answer and he believes her to be doing it on purpose.
At the Lucky Aide, Lois and Craig are stocking shelves with condoms, and Craig exclaims how "intense" it is. The boys come in the store and Lois tells them she's off work in 5 minutes. She warns Reese, Malcolm and Dewey not to mess around with the microphone, the candy, price tags and the register at Lucky Aide and it includes just looking or hovering with their fingers a half inch away. If Lois catches them playing around in the store to embarrass her, the boys will be punished when they're at home.
Reese and Malcolm decide to play with the steam cleaner (since Lois neglected to include it in her list of what not to mess with) and when Dewey volunteers they tell him he is too young and to get lost (possibly to avoid having him tell on them to Lois) Reese suggests he should go play with the horse kiddie ride out front. Lois soon discovers the two older boys playing with the steam cleaner and yells at them. Malcolm and Reese tries to convince her it's not what it looks like. She doesn't believe them and takes the boys home to be punished.
At home, Malcolm and Reese are seen on their knees with their hands to the backs of their heads and facing the wall as punishment for messing around with the steam cleaner. Hal comes home to greet the boys and asks them how long are they going to stay like this. Reese mentions another hour. Lois greets Hal and asks if he's seen Dewey because he's upset over something. However, he wouldn't tell Lois about it. Hal decides to go to the backyard where the crawlspace is. He talks with Dewey after finding him in his usual hiding place. He tells his father that he's upset with both Reese and Malcolm for forbidding him from letting him play with the steam cleaner and stole something from Lucky Aide. It isn't long until Hal and Lois learns that Dewey stole an expensive bottle of cognac. He apologizes for his actions, but she's very upset with him, Hal questions who would pay $150 for cognac and wonders what they must pay for socks. Lois is unsure how to punish Dewey, Reese suggests that Lois give Dewey the same kneeling on the floor punishment like them, she ignores him. She tells Dewey to get his jacket because they're going back to Lucky Aide. Lois tells him that he's going to return the bottle, apologize to the store's assistant manager Mr. Pinter, and accept the consequences.
But after they return the bottle, Mr. Pinter fires Lois citing store policy, Lois states Dewey didn't steal it he returned it and it can go right back on the shelf but Mr. Pinter states it has already been marked out of inventory. Lois calls him out that he doesn't even do inventory although she believes it is out of spite because she was originally first choice for a promotion to his position despite the fact that she turned it down. Mr. Pinter insults her and Dewey claiming her attitude is exactly why he doesn't regret his decision to fire her by saying that "at least [he] didn't raise a thief". This angers Lois so much that she rips off his toupee, much to the other employees' shock, before leaving with Dewey, though not before she hands Craig the toupee, and remarks that she has won the employee's pool bet about what was holding it on: velcro. Unfortunately, this has the effect of leaving the family very poor, reducing everyone to eating leftovers of leftovers.
Meanwhile, Stanley and Francis both get jobs as security in the 2000 Miss Alabama Pageant. Francis tales the opportunity to socialize with the girls. Stanley claims he thought Francis could use some mornings without drill practice, he then attempts to court a girl but Francis tells him to wait for the obvious runners up since they will be the most needy.
Later on, 10 days have passed since Lois was fired, and for dinner they have rice and macaroni and yesterday they had macaroni and rice. Reese claims he is constipated and cannot continue eating the same thing. Lois tells him they can't afford to be picky anymore and tells Dewey to chew his lumpy milk. Hal tries to motivate everyone knowing they've had to economize before like when their grandma drove into the living room or last year when they were saving up for Disneyland. Dewey questions it but Hal states now they are simply trying to keep the house. Lois assures them not to worry and she'll find another cashier job with flexible hours before realizing how hard it will be. Malcolm wonders if she can get unemployment but Lois only worked 38 hours a week which is considered part-time. She asks if Dewey has at least learned from this, he claims the lesson he learned was "if you do something bad don't tell." Lois says he's wrong and they did the right thing. Malcolm asks if they could do laundry, Reese teases he wants to smell nice for Julie so Malcolm flicks his atoms apple while he was drinking causing him to choke. Lois tells Malcolm to go back and kneel against the wall, he states it was worth it.
At school, Malcolm tells Stevie they can't do laundry, sharing baths and yesterday their cable was unplugged, Stevie asks how his love life is Malcolm asks him if anything he tells him as a friend he will use against him. Julie asks Malcolm if he wants to split lunches and after showing him her fancy food he realizes he only has eggs left over from breakfast before leaving. He tells Stevie he's sick of being poor but accidentally tells Julie after she returns his backpack. He tells Stevie next time he wants to say something important he should take a really deep breath so he can talk faster which he agrees.
Later, Hal calls Francis informs him of the financial problems at home after Lois was fired from Lucky Aide. Hal mentions that this could be good news for Francis, as paying for his tuition at Marlin Academy is now becoming an issue so he may be able to persuade Lois to withdraw him and let him come home for good. Francis however is horrified and tells his dad that he now wants to stay and is at a crucial stage of his rehabilitation. Hal knows it's a girl and asks her name, Francis informs him about the beauty pageant.
In the kitchen, the boys organize pennies until Craig comes in telling Lois he convinced Mr. Pinter to give Lois back her job, but he first wants an apology from her, as well as to dock her pay by the cost of the cognac Dewey stole and to have her work the "graveyard shift" for a couple of months. Lois abrasively refuses due to his arrogance and spite since doing so would basically be admitting he was right and refuses to grovel to him.
At the pageant, Francis learns from a girl named Tanya that the girls all think he's gay due to his love of the theatre, skills in decorating and obsessing over his mother and he doesn't have to be ashamed of it. Francis attempts to argue but after another girl asks her to spray her thighs he decides to roll with it.
At school, Malcolm is lead by Caroline out into the schoolyard being informed he doesn't have to feel sheltered around her because she's on his side. She tells him how special Julie is and all that she said about him was already obvious but if he gives people a chance he may be surprised. Julie decided to make a collective of food in order to give it to Malcolm, Reese and Dewey in their time of need, thanks to Julie and Caroline, Malcolm is thoroughly humiliated at being made into a charity case.
Back at the house, they complain to Lois after they learn she plans to keep all the food. Lois states she's not going to throw out perfectly good pie filling and lamb chutney, Malcolm wonders if she realizes how humiliating it is with Reese emphasizing that they've done can drives before and that most of the food is old and is likely just stuff people stored in their garages and then forgot about. Despite the boys' complaints about this, Lois insists that they just need to hold on a little longer. Hal tells them in the meantime they should be thankful for small favours. He then asks if anyone would like the last olive but Lois realizes that Hal has eaten very rotten peaches (mistaking them for olives) from the collective and is subsequently hospitalized.
At the hospital, the doctor Don claims Hal will be fine in a few days just like when Dewey ate a frog (Dewey states he only ate half of it). Don says he won't put the stomach pump in the bill since Hal did most of the work on the way over. Lois asked what kind of price neighbourhood they'll be in and he claims it'll be about three or four thousand before leaving. Lois re-evaluates her morals and beliefs and tells the boys to watch their dad so she can go beg for her job back. Malcolm states she doesn't have to do it. Lois tells him she shouldn't have to but she does, but wants them to realize she's not going back on what she said before. After she leaves Hal passes gas and Malcolm claims the first one who laughs gets their ass kicked.
At the pageant, Francis is still enjoying the perks of pretending he's gay around a bunch of gorgeous girls and is giving Tanya a massage, however when he calls her sexy without thinking, she asks Francis if he's sure he's gay. Francis claims that he's been getting 'strange new feelings' around her and now he's 'confused' and feeling he might change. Tanya is delighted to hear it and promises to be the one who will 'fix' him... only to then enrol him in a religious gay conversion camp where he is forced to listen to a preacher screaming at him to "pray out the gay" and try and put up with another guy who clearly has a crush on him.
At Lucky Aide, Mr. Pinter offers her job back however he tells her that her apology must be in writing; he has already written it for her and only requires her signature. Lois refuses and confronts him for all the bad deeds he's done. She reveals dirty secrets about him that no one else except her knows: including his bribing Lois to cover for him by putting his name on others' sales reports that she wrote for him, his secret stash of marijuana, and his affair with the district manager's wife. She tells Pinter off that he should be grateful because she thinks it's wrong to pettily to tattle on him for any of it and that she's the only one who knows this stuff about him. She points out that anyone else would sell him out in a second if they found out his dirty secrets. Lois ends it by saying that she's a better person than Pinter is. After watching her leave, Pinter thinks his secret is safe since she is the only one who knows his bad deeds – until a smug Craig clears his throat and Pinter turns around to see the grinning faces of Craig and the other employees, whom have overheard his secret. Their grins indicate that they have every intention of spilling his secrets the first chance they get. He is so humiliated that he quits immediately to avoid being confronted by their boss.
Ultimately, Lois finds her life back to normal after getting her job back and serves pancakes at breakfast the next morning, stating if you do the right thing everything will work out for the best. Malcolm is happy since he now has clean clothes and Ho-Ho's in his lunch, and says having money rules and doesn't care about neglecting his spiritual side. Now that he is not "poor," he tells that to Julie straight in her face.
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
- Catherine Lloyd Burns as Caroline Miller
Guest Stars[edit | edit source]
Recurring[edit | edit source]
- Karim Prince as Stanley
- David Anthony Higgins as Craig
- Craig Lamar Traylor as Stevie
- Landry Albright as Julie Houlerman
Cameos[edit | edit source]
- Marc Vann as Mr. Pinter
- Elise Horn as Tanya
- Alexandra Picatto as Bridget
- Shea Curry as Dina
- Kristin Quick as Flora Mayesh
- David Beach as Dr. Don
- Rich Scary as a preacher
- Harris Doran as a prayer
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- Mr. Pinter:(realizes Lois didn't sign her name, but has just given him a suggestion) It's not a signature.
- Lois: (telling off Mr.Pinter) No, it's more of a suggestion. The horse you rode in is optional.
- Mr. Pinter: Now look...
- Lois: No, you look. I don't deserve this. The only thing I ever did wrong was doing all the work I did to cover your butt.
- Mr. Pinter: Well we obviously have different definitions of wrong!
- Lois: [Scoffs] Yeah, guess we do. For instance, I think it's wrong for you to put your name on sales report that you didn't write. I think it's wrong for you to keep a little bag of herbs in your bottom left drawer. I think it's wrong you slept with the district manager's wife. [this catches Pinter's attention] And you want to know something, you don't have to worry about it because I also think it's wrong to blab this kind of thing. You know you should be so glad that I'm the only one who knows this stuff about you. Anyone else here would sell you down the river in a second. God, I am so much better than you!
- [Lois walks away and Pinter thinks he's safe since she's the only one who knows. However, he soon finds himself cornered when he sees smiling faces of Craig and the other co-workers from the next aisle having heard about his secret. Their grins imply that they intend to tell the district manager about his wrongdoings including his maltreatment of Lois and his affair with their boss' wife. Pinter runs the other way and quits.]
- (After Lois returns the bottle of cognac that Dewey stole)
- Lois: What do you mean "fired"?! You can't fire me for this.
- Mr. Pinter: Sorry. Store policy is very clear about stealing.
- Lois: But he didn't steal it; he returned it. It's right there. The bottle is perfect. You can just put it right back on the shelf.
- Mr. Pinter: I already marked it out of inventory. My hands are tied here.
- Lois: What are you talking about? You don't even do inventory. You foist it off on me because you make so many mistakes.
- Lois:(stocking some condoms) Don't touch the microphone, register, candy, price tags. (Realizes something is amiss) Steam Cleaner.
- (Runs and catches Malcolm and Reese messing with the steam cleaner. They're both covered in soap)
- Lois: BOYS!!!!!!!!
- Malcolm: It's not what it looks like!
- (Lois and Craig are stacking condoms together)
- Craig: You know, uh, this is a little intense. You, me, working this shelf.. together.
- Craig: (chuckles nervously)
- Lois: What's intense about it?
- Craig: I guess nothing. Excuse me.
- Craig: (quickly walks down the isle)
- (Family is eating breakfast)
- Lois: Drink your milk.
- Dewey: It's lumpy!
- Lois: Then chew it!
- Girl: Francis, will you help me decide on my leg extensions? Which do you think looks better? Right leg, (lifts up right leg) or left leg? (lifts up left leg)
- Francis: Can you ... do both?
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- This episode reveals that season one took place in 2000 despite some episodes being filmed in 1999, showing the year number on the title board for the beauty pageant.
- Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd is sung by Bridgette in this episode.
- Hal mentioned a time that "grandma" drove through the living room. It's likely that he was talking about Ida, who wouldn't make an appearance until the episode The Grandparents.
- In this episode, it is revealed Francis can play the piano
- The song that plays while the boys are having fun with the steam cleaner is "Red Alert" by Basement Jaxx.