Malcolm in the Middle is an American television sitcom created by Linwood Boomer which was aired on FOX for the first broadcast on January 9, 2000, and ended its six-and-a-half-year run on May 14, 2006, after seven seasons and 151 episodes.

Premise[edit | edit source]

The series is about a genius named Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) and his dysfunctional family in the fictional town of Star City, militant mother Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) and immature, but loving father Hal (Bryan Cranston). Along his brothers, delinquent Francis (Christopher Masterson), bully Reese (Justin Berfield), and sweet and kind Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan), Malcolm being the middle child still at home (hence the show's title). In season four, the character Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez) was added to the show as the fifth son. The show's early seasons centered on Malcolm dealing with the rigors of being an adolescent and enduring the eccentricities of his life. Later seasons gradually explored the other members of the family and their friends in more depth, including others such as Craig Feldspar, Stevie Kenarban, and Stevie's dad Abe.

The series was different from many others in that Malcolm broke the fourth wall by talking directly to the viewer, all scenes were shot using a single camera and the show employed neither a laugh track nor a live studio audience, and there was no studio set for locations, but everything was shown in the real-life places. Emulating the style of hour-long dramas, this half-hour show was shot on film instead of video. Another unique aspect of the show is that the cold open of every episode is unrelated to the main story. Exceptions were episodes which were the conclusions of "two-parters"; each part two episode opened with a recap of its part one episode.

Characters[edit | edit source]

  • Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is the title character of the series. Malcolm is a genius, and because of this, is placed in a class for gifted students (or Krelboynes as they are known at the school). His intelligence, as well as feelings of not fitting in, and his ego are the primary causes of most problems he faces throughout the series. As the title suggests, Malcolm is the middle child of the family, third-born of four at the start of the series, later of five after the birth of Jamie and apparently six after the last episode. His best friend is Stevie, a wheelchair-using fellow Krelboyne with severe breathing difficulties. Malcolm is shown to be going to classes in Harvard in the last episode, earning his way by holding down many part-time jobs.
  • Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) is the hot-headed and stubborn mother of Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie, and wife of Hal. She struggles throughout the series to keep her badly behaved boys in check while maintaining a job at a Lucky Aide drugstore. She is seen by her sons as a somewhat tyrannical figure, a crazed control freak, and indeed she is, but her behaviour is partially caused by Francis's bad behavior as a toddler.
  • Hal (Bryan Cranston) is the somewhat childish but caring father of Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie and husband to Lois. He has a lighter touch with the boys than Lois, but can still hand out discipline when necessary. Hal seems constantly on the edge of some kind of breakdown; when things get to be too much, he often goes into a howling, wailing state of panic and frustration.
  • Reese (Justin Berfield) is the most impulsive member of the family and has little common sense. He is the older brother of Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie and younger brother of Francis. Throughout the series, he is shown to be a bully, getting much enjoyment from the misfortune of others and handing out beatings to students at school and to his younger brothers at home. Despite being unwilling to think, he enjoys cooking and baking—which he is shown to be very talented at on many occasions—and a natural born soldier.
  • Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) is the younger brother of Malcolm, Reese, and Francis. His role is usually that of the victim to his brothers. Dewey is very intelligent, like Malcolm and he is even able to fool and manipulate Malcolm in later episodes. However, his real talent lies in music. Among other accomplishments, he has composed his own opera for his classmates to perform. Despite his intelligence, he is placed in a remedial class for slower students (or Buseys) due to a misunderstanding. This does little to affect his performance, though, and he actually makes the best of the situation by acting as their self-appointed teacher. By the seventh and final season of the show, it seemed to be implied that he was no longer in the Busey class. He was the youngest for several seasons, until Jamie was born.
  • Francis (Christopher Masterson) is the oldest brother. Due to his extremely bad behavior, he is sent to a military school in the state of Alabama in the U.S, run by the strict Commandant Spangler (Daniel von Bargen). He is there when the series begins. Francis remains at the school until the beginning of the third season, when he has himself legally emancipated and travels to Alaska to work at a logging camp. Here he meets and marries Piama (Emy Coligado), a woman of Inuit heritage. When the camp closes, he later moves to a Wild West-themed hotel and ranch in the western U.S. called the Grotto, run by kindly but eccentric German Otto Mannkusser and his wife Gretchen. According to Hal, Francis' first words were directed at Lois: "You shut up.". He is really stubborn, and blames Lois for every bad aspect of his life and the life of his brothers.
  • Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez) is the youngest brother until the very last episode. Despite his infancy, he is already shown to have some of his brothers' habits such as stealing and rudeness to his mother. He is also the only brother who tried to kill her (by throwing down shelves to her, but she managed to roll out in the last second). His only words in the whole series were "shut up" and "Francis".

Production[edit | edit source]

Opening theme[edit | edit source]

The opening titles feature short clips from cult films or television shows, edited together with clips from the pilot and early episodes of the show, set to the song "Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants.

Filming[edit | edit source]

Much of the filming for Malcolm in the Middle was done on location in various parts of the Thirty Mile Zone around Los Angeles. A privately owned home, located at 12334 Cantura Street in Toluca Lake, California, was rented for upwards of $3,000 a day to film as Malcolm's house. Rebuilt in 2011, the property is no longer recognizable due to its modern two-floor design. However, the house directly to the left of it is nearly identical to what it looked like during filming, still making it a frequent stop for fans of the show. Early school scenes were shot at a specifically built set on the most northerly point of the CBS Studio Center on 4318 Radford Ave, Studio City. Later School scenes were filmed at Walter Reed Middle School, in North Hollywood, and the Lucky Aide was represented by a Drug Emporium at 6020 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. In "Stock Car Races," when Hal and the boys are entering a race track, the billboard behind the entrance displays the place as Irwindale Speedway, a real race track in Southern California. The last episode in the first season ("Waterpark") was filmed at a water park called Wild Rivers (now closed) located in Irvine, California. Though palm trees and desert scenery are seen in shots of the local region and town throughout the show, indicating a location in the Western United States, it is never revealed which state the show is set in (except for Francis' whereabouts in early seasons, such as his military school in Alabama and his job in Alaska).

Studio filming for Malcolm in the Middle took place on Stage 21 at CBS Studio Center in Studio City.

Chris Masterson would take a diminished role starting with Season 6 of the show in favor of getting behind the camera, directing and writing some episodes in Seasons 6 and 7.

Music[edit | edit source]

The show's theme song, "Boss of Me", was written and recorded by the alternative rock group They Might Be Giants. The song won the "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" award at the 2002 Grammy Awards. The band also performed nearly all of the incidental music for the show in its first two seasons.

Mood setting music is sprinkled throughout the series, in lieu of audience laughter, in a way that resembles feature film more than other TV sitcoms. Some examples of this highly varied music include ABBA, Chaka Khan, Basement Jaxx, Sum 41, Kenny Rogers, Lemon Jelly, Lords of Acid, The Getaway People, En Vogue, Electric Light Orchestra, Fatboy Slim, Phil Collins, Tears for Fears, Quiet Riot, Queen, and Citizen King whose song "Better Days" is played at the end of both the pilot episode and the series finale. The Southern California pop-punk band Lit have many of their songs featured in several episodes. Lit songs that were never released as singles were also used.

A soundtrack, Music from Malcolm in the Middle, was released on November 21, 2000.

Broadcast and syndication[edit | edit source]

The show entered local syndication one month before the sixth season premiered on Fox. When the show entered syndication all of the TV-14 episodes had to be changed to TV-PG since they did not meet the syndication standards for a TV-14 rating. The show was launched on Nick at Nite on July 5, 2009 at 8:00 pm with an all night marathon. However, Nick at Nite used the changed ratings to keep the show family friendly and remove adult content from the episodes. When Nick at Nite pulled Malcolm it began airing on TeenNick from November 26, 2010 and continued until December 2010. On July 18, 2011, the show returned to TeenNick's line-up. On September 26, 2011, Malcolm in the Middle began airing on IFC. On March 5th 2018 the show began airing on Fuse.


In the UK, the show was originally aired on Sky1 from October 24, 2000 until December 2010, and was also shown on BBC2 from April 6, 2001 until around 2009. As of January 3, 2011, it is currently being shown on Fiver (now 5*) (at 6:00 pm and again at about 7:30 pm).

In Canada, it airs on MuchMusic on weekdays at 7|6 Central.

Home media[edit | edit source]

On October 29, 2002, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the complete first season of Malcolm in the Middle on DVD in Region 1. Fox Home Entertainment has released a statement in which it said that the reason as to why the second season, and any of the later seasons have yet to be released as of 2016 is because of copyright issues regarding music used on the show. For the same reason, it is unlikely ever to stream on online services.

Awards and Nominations[edit | edit source]

American Film Institute[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2002 Actor of the Year-Female-series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Comedy Series of the Year Nominated

American Cinema Editors[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Episode Result
2000 Best Edited Half-Hour Series Nancy Morrison "Pilot" Won
2001 Best Edited Half-Hour Series Barry Gold "Book Club" Nominated

American Comedy Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2001 Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication Jane Kaczmarek Won
Funniest Female Guest Appearance in a TV Series Beatrice Arthur Won

Directors Guild of America Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee Episode Result
2000 Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series Todd Holland "Pilot" Nominated
2002 Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series Todd Holland "Bowling" Won

Emmy Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Episode Result
2000 Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Todd Holland "Pilot" Won
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Bea Arthur Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Linwood Boomer "Pilot" Won
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series Ken Miller, Mary V. Buck, Nikki Valko, Susan Edelman Nominated
2001 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series Linwood Boomer, Bob Stevens, Gary Murphy, Neil Thompson, Alan J. Higgins, Michael Glouberman, Andrew Orenstein, Todd Holland, Alex Reid, James Simons, Ken Kwapis, Jeff Melman Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Todd Holland "Bowling" Won
Jeff Melman "Flashback" Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Frankie Muniz Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Robert Loggia "The Grandparents" Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Cloris Leachman "The Grandparents" Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Alex Reid "Bowling" Won
2002 Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Jeff Melman "Christmas" Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Bryan Cranston Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Cloris Leachman Won
Susan Sarandon "Company Picnic" Nominated
Outstanding Stunt Coordination Bobby Porter "Company Picnic" Nominated
2003 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Bryan Cranston Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Cloris Leachman Nominated
Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series Mark Scheib, Steve Welch "If Boys Were Girls" Won
2004 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Cloris Leachman Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography Fred Tallaksen "Dewey's Special Class" Nominated
2005 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Cloris Leachman Nominated
Outstanding Music and Lyrics Charles Sydnor, Eric Kaplan "Song: "The Marriage Bed"
Episode: "Dewey's Opera"
Nominated
2006 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Jane Kaczmarek Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Bryan Cranston Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Cloris Leachman Won
Outstanding Choreography Fred Tallaksen "Bomb Shelter" Nominated

Golden Globe Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2000 Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Series

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Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy

[1] || Template:Nowrap || Template:Nom

Best TV Series - Comedy or Musical

[1] || || Template:Nom

2001 Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Series[2] Template:Nowrap Template:Nom
Best Actress – Musical or Comedy Series[2] Template:Nowrap Template:Nom
2002 Best Actress – Musical or Comedy Series[3] Template:Nowrap Template:Nom
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film

[3] || Template:Nowrap || Template:Nom

Grammy Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Song Result
2001 Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media Template:Nowrap and John Linnell "Boss of Me" Template:Won

NAACP Image Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2000 Outstanding Young Actor/Actress Template:Nowrap Template:Nom

Producers Guild of America[edit | edit source]

Year Category Result
2001 The Danny Thomas Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Series – Comedy Template:Nom
2002 The Danny Thomas Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Series – Comedy Template:Nom
2003 The Danny Thomas Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Series – Comedy Template:Nom

Satellite Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2000 Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Series Template:Nowrap Template:Won
2001 Best Actress – Musical or Comedy Series Template:Nowrap Template:Nom
2003 Best Actress – Musical or Comedy Series Template:Nowrap Template:Won
Best Actor – Musical or Comedy Template:Nowrap Template:Nom

Screen Actors Guild Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2000 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Template:Nowrap Template:Nom
2002 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Template:Nowrap Template:Nom

TCA Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2000 Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Template:Won
Outstanding New Program Template:Nom
Individual Achievement in Comedy Template:Nowrap Template:Won
Template:Nowrap Template:Nom
2001 Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Template:Won
Individual Achievement in Comedy Template:Nowrap Template:Nom
Template:Nowrap Template:Won

Viewers for Quality Television Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2000 Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Template:Nowrap Template:Nom

Writers Guild of America[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Episode Result
2001 Best Episodic Comedy Template:Nowrap and Template:Nowrap "Grandparents" Template:Nom
Best Episodic Comedy Template:Nowrap "Bowling" Template:Nom
2003 Best Episodic Comedy Template:Nowrap "Malcolm Films Reese" Template:Nom
Best Episodic Comedy Template:Nowrap and Template:Nowrap "Day Care" Template:Nom
2004 Best Episodic Comedy Neil Thompson "Ida's Boyfriend" Template:Won
2005 Best Episodic Comedy Template:Nowrap "Motivational Speaker" Template:Nom
2006 Best Episodic Comedy Template:Nowrap "Bomb Shelter" Template:Nom

Young Artist Awards[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Result
2001 Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Leading Young Actor Frankie Muniz Template:Won
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Supporting Young Actor Craig Lamar Traylor Template:Won
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Performer Ashley Edner Template:Nom
Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Young Actor Age Ten or Under Erik Per Sullivan Template:Nom
Best Ensemble in a TV Series (Drama or Comedy) Frankie Muniz, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan, Craig Lamar Traylor, Christopher Masterson Template:Nom
2002 Best Family TV Comedy Series Template:Won
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Leading Young Actor Frankie Muniz Template:Won
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Supporting Young Actor Craig Lamar Traylor Template:Nom
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actor Bobby Brewer Template:Nom
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actress Brooke Anne Smith Template:Won
Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Young Actor Age Ten or Under Erik Per Sullivan Template:Nom
Best Ensemble in a TV Series (Drama or Comedy) Frankie Muniz, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan, Craig Lamar Traylor, Christopher Masterson Template:Nom
2003 Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Leading Young Actor Frankie Muniz Template:Nom
Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actor Justin Berfield Template:Nom
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actor Miles Marsico Template:Nom
Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actress Lauren Storm Template:Nom
Best Ensemble in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) Frankie Muniz, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan, Kyle Sullivan, Craig Lamar Traylor Template:Won
2004 Most Popular Mom & Pop in a Television Series Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston Template:Nom
2005 Best Performance in a Television Series - Recurring Young Actor Cameron Monaghan Template:Won

Peabody Award[edit | edit source]

Year Category Nominee(s) Episode Result
2000 Area of Excellence Fox, Satin City, and Regency Television Template:Won[4]

External links[edit | edit source]

  • 1.0 1.1 1.2 Template:Cite web Template:Dead link
  • 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite web
  • 3.0 3.1 Template:Cite web
  • 60th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2001.
  • Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.