Malcolm Babysits is the fifth episode of Season 1 of Malcolm in the Middle and the fifth episode overall of the show.

Summary[edit | edit source]

The family is forced to live in a trailer in their front yard while their house is fumigated; meanwhile, Malcolm becomes a babysitter for a rich family, Francis finds an old corpse at military school and gives it a proper send-off.

Plot[edit | edit source]

In the cold opening, Malcolm, Reese and Dewey are polite and courteous while playing violent games, but as soon as Lois turns them off, the brothers squabble and fight with each other.

In the kitchen, Malcolm attempts to persuade his parents to buy him a $90 robotics kit, but they tell him it's too expensive. Hal states that robots are evil giving examples of WestWorld, Terminator and how creepy Rosie the robot maid from "The Jetsons" was.

Lois tells Malcolm if he wants the toy he can buy it himself and since he is starting a babysitting job for a family called the Inksters next week and he can use the money and save up. Malcolm doesn't even know what the Inksters will pay him. She tells him that they'll pay the same as all jobs pay: less than you're worth but just enough to make you come crawling back for more, before telling him it's bedtime. Malcolm states that all discussions in the household go the same way: he tells them his needs, they say no, and Hal reveals a cartoon character he's afraid of.

Lois punishes them, sending the boys to bed without properly getting ready. She tells them that "Only boys who behave get to rinse!" Hal notices a hole in the wall and pries it open, only to discover an insect infestation. The exterminator blames it on the candy wrappers and half-eaten food in the crawlspace, speculating that "some creepy hobo" has been staying there. Lois and Hal immediately realize that the "hobo" is Dewey. The entire family moves into a trailer they borrowed from Craig in the front yard while their home is being fumigated. Malcolm wonders why the family can't stay in a hotel, and Lois replies that they're giving all their money to the exterminator so they can stay in nice hotels. Hal and Lois begin fighting profusely for some reason, the reason of which Hal realizes later in the episode: the family's new and temporary close quarters have affected Lois and Hal's ability to make love, which is what keeps them benevolent towards each other. Hal purchases gas masks for him and Lois so that they can safely enter the chemically poisoned home and release their frustration.

Malcolm's cushy babysitting job with the Inksters earns him more money than his parents make, which provides relief from the trailer, until Malcolm learns that the trust placed in him in his new position is strictly limited. Although the Inksters profess to Malcolm that they consider him part of the family, he mixes up the TV remote controls up and accidentally switches to a channel that's broadcasting security camera footage that shows Malcolm's every move. Malcolm tells them off by pretending to begin to blend their prized pet fish in a blender and then quits, which the parents witness as they're reviewing the footage from when they were away. This behavior makes Malcolm treasure his own family more, because "with them, at least you know where you stand."

Meanwhile, the military school's master key leads Francis to a corpse, for which he feels obligated to provide a proper send-off. After his military school buddies disrespect the cadaver by partying around it, Francis convinces them to set the body afloat on a flaming boat like Vikings used to do, right before he rips off what he thought was a fake joke mustache on the body. The fiery boat in which they place the body was doused with too much gasoline and one of Francis' classmates accidentally leaves the gas can on the boat. Eventually, the boat explodes and crashes into the boat house, setting it on fire. Francis and his comrades run away as fast as possible to avoid trouble with the Commandant.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • When the boys are playing a violent video game they are calm and polite to each other, but when Lois makes them watch an insipid educational television program, they immediately begin fighting. This is most likely a parody of the controversy at the time that said that violent content in children's games promotes violence in real life. At various times through history this claim has also been made of Rock and Roll, comic books, and violent television shows, among others.
  • It is revealed that before he started dating Lois, Hal was in a relationship with her sister, Susan Welker. This would be the first time in the series that Susan was ever mentioned.
  • It is revealed that Mrs. Inkster keeps a kiss from another woman on a hidden napkin.
  • Hal and Lois use gas masks to make love inside their tented home. When Bryan Cranston later stars in Breaking Bad, he often wears masks while inside tented houses while making meth.
  • Hal expresses a fear of evil robots, and Malcolm mentions that he's also afraid of some cartoon characters.
  • Eric Stonestreet (Cam in Modern Family) plays the exterminator.

Goofs[edit | edit source]

  • When Reese drops Malcolm's toothbrush in the toilet, the bowl is as high as his waist, too high for anyone to actually use. But when Lois comes in a few moments later to pull Dewey out of toilet, it doesn't even reach her knees.
Toilet Bowl Too High.jpg
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