Mini-Bike is the 22nd episode of season 2 and the 38th episode overall on Malcolm in the Middle. It was directed by Ken Kwapis and written both by Michael Glouberman & Andrew Orenstein. The episode aired on April 29th, 2001

Plot[edit | edit source]

Craig drives the family insane while living with them. The boys buy a used mini-bike and fix it up, only to have Lois confiscate it. By the time that Malcolm and Dewey were able to get her to change her mind, Reese takes the bike out for a forbidden ride and crashes it, breaking his leg(proving her original stance against having a mini-bike true).

Malcolm thinks fast and tricks Craig into believing he had run over his leg. Even though Lois eventually finds out about Reese riding the bike against her admonition, she lets the boys get away with it because they helped get Craig out of the house. Hal visits Francis at Marlin Academy's father/son day and is disappointed when he learns that Francis apparently has not changed. Hal is later proud when he sees that Francis is the only cadet who stands up to Commandant Spangler.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Lois and Hal find a Christmas present underneath their bed in the opening scene. Hal gets excited when he learns that the present is for him, expecting it to be a DVD player. he is even more happy when it is revealed to be an emergency repair kit for his car. Hal thanks Lois for it.

The episode starts in the morning with the family waiting in line to use the bathroom, Craig has been hogging the bathroom for 45 minutes. He is conducting his morning routine while singing show tunes. Malcolm is annoyed and asks how long he will be living with them, Lois reminds everyone, including herself, to have patience; they burned the man's house down. Hal announces that they're barging into the bathroom, Reese tells him he did the same thing yesterday and warns him not to go inside, Craig is done when he is done. After Craig finishes, he and Jellybean venture out to start the day, leaving huge mess for everyone to clean up. Lois repeats that they burned his house down.

Hal prepares to leave for a father/son weekend with Francis at Marlin Academy, he looks forward to spending time with Francis and maybe go on a hike. Lois expresses how much she will miss him and wishes she could accompany him, Craig interrupts them, reemphasizing how small the house is, and how much Craig is really in the way. As Hal leaves Craig jokingly promises to take care of their house the same way that Hal and Lois took care of his. After Hal leaves, Craig tries to lay down the ground rules for Lois about anything funny happening while Hal is away. Mistakenly thinking that Lois had any feelings for him, of any kind, at any time. Craig acknowledges that all of those moments are in the past.

On the way to school, the boys walk past a garbage truck, where the driver was just about to throw out an old dirty mini-bike. Dewey is first to spot this treasure, and calls it out to his brothers. In turn, all the boys flash to a fantasy about this new turn of events. The boys stop the garbage truck driver from throwing it out, Reese reprimands the driver for not knowing what trash is. Malcolm asks the garbage man to give it to them and he asked for a price. Reese gives the garbage man $30 for the mini-bike, later they take it back to the house to hide it in the garage.

Back at the house, Craig is exercising in the living room. Lois walks in to asks her to make the boys dinner, while she is working late at the Lucky Aide. Craig willingly agrees to it. While Craig is talking about how he is in charge of the boys tonight, Lois whispers to herself that they burned his house down.

The boys are working on their mini-bike, fixing and cleaning it up together. Happy that the whole body and paint job was intact, Malcolm sees that the only parts they need is a spark plug and a carburetor, knowing that they can dismantle their dad's lawnmower to build it. They are so excited to get it running. But it all hell breaks loose when Malcolm starts mentioning the schedule on who gets to ride the mini-bike, Reese finds it unfair, Malcolm defends himself as he is the one who knows how to put together the engine, Reese argues that he's the one who paid for it, Dewey argues that they would not have it if he had not seen it. Malcolm tries to calm things down as they are still fixing it. Reese tells Malcolm off that his loser Krelboyne friends may take orders from him, but normal people don't have to. Malcolm tells Reese off with the fact that he does not have any friends other than his siblings. Reese's feelings are hurt by that, he reminds Malcolm that their mother told him that he is not allowed to speak of that.

Meanwhile at Marlin Academy, awards are being given to the cadets for even the slightest recognition of the most pedestrian of tasks. Most of the cadets have a lap full of them, Hal is excited as he anticipates Francis receiving an award. Eric receives an award for the best history essay, Spangler gives a speech about who the next reward goes to (describing Francis), but instead is given to another cadet. Hal realizes just how poorly Francis is doing after he had not received any awards.

The boys are eating dinner in the kitchen with Craig, giving each other dirty looks as their feud with use of the mini-bike is still going on. When Reese gets up from his seat, so do Malcolm and Dewey, they all leave the table to go to the garage. Craig tells them they're all excused. Reese is taunting Malcolm about how long he is taking to get the mini-bike running. The minute Malcolm inserts they key into the mini-bike's ignition, their fighting increases to frenzy level. When Lois enters the garage, she removes the key and lays down the law: "It's nobody's. What's wrong with you kids? You're not allowed to have a motorcycle." As Lois is chaining up the bike and putting a lock on it, the boys debate that it's theirs and that they should keep it. Lois stands her ground and tells them it was stupid of them to get it. Malcolm tries to tell Lois is not a motorcycle, that it's two feet high, it was made specifically for kids, but she doesn't listen. She says "Two words. Motor. Wheels. Motorcycle" before locking it.

The next day at Marlin Academy, Hal seeks some answers from Commandant Spangler about Francis' lack of achievement and asks for a "little ray of hope". He spelled it out very clearly to Hal that his son does not care about learning at all. The only thing that Francis actually cares about is disrupting authority with his insurrection and pranks because Spangler seen kids like him at Marlin Academy before. Hal understands and asks if there is anything positive about him. Spangler tells him that he's sorry that he can't say anything positive about Francis. He tells Hal that he needs to face the reality of his son's behavior. This single apology makes him distraught because it means that he had come all the way from Star City, California for nothing. Hal soon realizes that Francis will never change and will continue being rebellious against Spangler, himself and Lois.

Now that the bike had been taken away, the boys once again reunite as a team, in search of a way to get their bike back. They try getting Lois to reverse her decision on the mini-bike through failed attempts: Malcolm looked over Lois' tax returns and tells her that he can save an estimate of $1,200 if he gets to use the mini-bike. Reese offers his Lois to take care of the neighbor's dog that keeps her awake every night by assaulting it and throw it in a body bag. Dewey childishly whines and screams on the kitchen floor as Lois is passing by. All are met with a resounding "No". Later in the day, Lois is collecting clothes to do a load of laundry, Craig tells Lois not to clean his. Malcolm, Reese, and Dewey enter the kitchen with another proposition, being that they will wear helmets, elbow and knee pads with the park being the only place to ride it under her supervision. Lois shoots down their offer, Malcolm finds it unfair that she makes a blanket statement that means no, surely there is a way that they can use the mini-bike. Lois still says no and tells the boys to stop bothering her about it, Craig chimes in and says they are very reasonable. Lois tells him to stay out of it, Craig tells he that he lives in the same house. Malcolm believes that their mother cannot accept the fact that they were using teamwork, they bonded with each other when they were fixing up the mini-bike and wished it would never end (this is perhaps the best moment the three of them had gotten along in the whole series). Malcolm takes notice of a picture on the kitchen's china cabinet. When Lois comes home with some groceries, Malcolm and Dewey are waiting for her at the kitchen table. They ask about her teenage self riding a horse, and how it can be dangerous without safety wear and reason that it is more dangerous than riding a mini-bike. Lois is unable to come up with a response, delighting Malcolm and Dewey that they've started to wear their mom down. When they go into their room to tell Reese of the good news about using the mini-bike, he tells them that it's broken. He admits to Malcolm and Dewey that he sneaked the bike out for a ride, and crashed it. Reese admits that Lois was right about mini-bikes being dangerous and shows them the badly bruised lump on his right leg.

Malcolm chastises Reese for ruining their chances of getting the mini-bike, Reese tells him if they had gotten their mother's approval earlier, he would not have taken it. Malcolm asks Reese about his experience riding it, he says he looked really cool looking at his reflection in the passing car's windows up until he hit a mailbox. Reese says that it's getting better and he will feel fine, Malcolm touches his bruise which causes Reese to cry out in pain. Lois comes into the boy's room with an explanation about the mini-bike, Reese starts yelling about how they can't even have a little bit of trust, but calms down. Lois offers them to take them to the skate park to make up for taking away the mini-bike. Reese tells her that he should get some rest to get started on his upcoming homework. When Lois starts asking, Craig calls her into the kitchen about his missing pickle from his labeled jar. When Lois asks him about the one he's holding in his hand, he apologizes for his anger. As she heads out annoyed, Lois keeps reminding herself that she and Hal burned Craig's house down.

In the rec area, Hal is looking at a yearbook and quite shaken up by Spangler's assessment on Francis. Finley enters with his father introducing him to Francis, Finley's father asks Francis about how he got a cow onto the roof of Marlin Academy's gymnasium. Francis tells him that it was easy, the parachute being the only problem. Hal then interrupts his conversation with Finley and his father. He tells Francis that he is not in any of Marlin Academy's clubs, he doesn't even find his son's yearbook photo, Francis says that he can find it under the name "Pete Zahut". Hal isn't buying it and mentions he's not looking under Pizza Hut. He explains to Francis that he had a chat with Spangler earlier about him. Hal mentions that in a school filled with problem children, he stands out as the worst one. Francis argues that isn't true, that there are three other students who are worse than him. He stops for a moment when he realizes that Hal is very disappointed in him for his lack of change. Hal pointed out that he and Lois' have tried to try to get Francis to grow up and change his attitude to no avail. He tries to explain to Hal that Spangler is very unreasonable and relentless in his controlling nature. This is the reason Francis has to defend himself and the other cadets against him all the time. He refuses to listen to any more of Francis' excuses and tells him he doesn't care about anything or anyone but himself. Hal also tells Francis that he feels like he has to give up on him. He leaves the room, feeling heavily distraught.

Dewey and Malcolm are holding some ice on Reese's bump, but two hours have gone by and the swelling is not doing down. Malcolm tells Reese that he needs to be taken to a hospital, but Reese is against that because they know they will be in trouble with their mother finding out about the mini-bike. Malcolm tells Reese that it was never about the mini-bike, it's about the fact that they will never be allowed to do anything they like doing for the next five years. When Craig appears at the boy's door, a plan unfolds: Malcolm talks Craig into driving him across town for ice cream, despite Craig's opinion on it. As Craig is backing his pickup truck out of the driveway, he runs something. The tire has hit a rock and Dewey removes it from the tire, the boys have their cover story for Reese's leg injury. To ensure a believable scream, Dewey punches the bruise causing Reese to scream out loud. Lois comes out and sees this and runs to Reese.

As the father/son weekend winds down, all the fathers are saying goodbye to their sons, except Hal, whose giving Francis the cold shoulder. Commandant Spangler notices an UN-tucked shirt tail on a cadet and starts to discipline him. Francis defends the cadet by telling Spangler off that it came UN-tucked while hugging his father and that he cannot yell at him for that. The cadet runs and Hal tries to get Francis to back down. However, Spangler stops it and tells Hal that he's glad he witnessed it. He points out that this is the exact kind of behavior he has to put up with Francis all the time. He always undermines authority everyday with his insurrection and pranks, regardless of the punishment he has to endure. The first example when Spangler punished Cadet Dooley for an inside-out pillowcase violation, he made Dooley run 600 laps around the academy. To his anger, Francis retaliated against the punishment by rallying his fellow cadets and organizes a sit-in strike against Spangler. Another example is when he had shut down the electricity for the 5th floor for a possession of contraband boom box violations, Francis always hijacks a generator for them. Spangler tells Hal that his son lives to cause chaos. Francis adamantly tells him off that the cadet was hugging his father and refuses to back down. Even in front of Hal, Spangler points out that Francis still defies him at every moment he gets. When Hal asks him that every time this happens, his son always challenges him. He confirms it and that Francis doesn't care if he has to be punished. Hal understands his son better now, having witnessed first hand how right he was about Spangler in being an unreasonable and demanding control freak. He tells Francis that he'll deal with him later and leaves. He tries to apologize for the behavior. However, Hal gives him a big hug and admits that he's proud of him. He explains that Francis that he was right about the commandant. Hal can take comfort knowing that he's the only one willing to stand up for the others against Spangler regardless of the consequences he has to face.

At the house, the boys are watching TV. Reese wears a cast on his injured leg. Lois tells the boys that she found the busted up mini-bike half-buried in the backyard's sandbox. At that moment, Craig appears with Jellybean about to move out, professing his apologies and shame. Since the boys got him and the cat out of the house, Lois decides to let this one slide.

At the academy, Hal bids Francis a fond farewell as his son is digging a hole possibly as a prank on Spangler for an unspecified punishment.

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]

  • Clement Blake as Garbage Man
  • Brian Noonan as Drew's father
  • Chip Heller as Mr. Hanson(Eric's father)
  • Weston Blakesley as Eric's Stepfather
  • Brianna Deutsch as Reese's dream girl

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Craig Feldspar leaves the house in this episode.
  • The song Craig sings along to while he is in the bathroom is "I Hope I Get It" from the Musical A Chorus Line which premiered Off-Broadway in May of 1975. During his exercise routine, the song that is playing on his portable stereo is "Maniac" by Michael Sembello which was featured in the soundtrack of Flash dance.
  • Hal says goodbye to Francis here infront of a set building located on the premises of the CBS Studio Center. Francis meanwhile digs his hole here, located on a set that was previously used in Surgery.[1]
  • Horton and his father perform on a xylophone made from glasses of water, the song is the theme song from Three's Company
  • It is revealed that Eric was adopted by a homosexual couple, and that Hanson's last name is Drew.
  • The car emergency kit that Hal is given was an actual product made by custom accessories.
  • Francis digging a hole in the school yard could be his next potential prank on Spangler for an unspecified punishment that he has to carry out
  • Had Lois gone to Marlin Academy instead of Hal to deal with Francis for Parents' Weekend, she immediately would've seen that what Spangler had to deal with concerning him. She believes that Marlin is failing to turn him around and confronts him. Lois and Francis has an even nastier fight between them in front of the other cadets. She calls him out for his lack of effort and mentions that she's taking him out of the school. Francis believes that he has won against Lois and will be back in his old school with his friends. That is until she reveals that her new plan is to ship him off to an Arizona Work Farm for Troubled Teens if he doesn't get his act together and graduate from Marlin, referenced in Smunday.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Lois: What's the matter, Craig?
Craig: What does it say on this jar?
Lois: "Craig."
Craig: Well I'm glad someone around here can read. These jars come with 14 pickles in them. I had three yesterday, two for lunch today, and one and a half for snack. And now there are six and a half pickles in this jar! Simple math indicates...
Lois: Are you counting the one in your hand?
Craig: Okay, false alarm.
Lois: We burned his house down. We burned his house down.

Malcolm: So, according to your logic, a two-foot fall from a mini-bike is more dangerous than a six-foot fall from a galloping horse?
Lois: That was a long time ago.
Malcolm: Before... gravity?
Lois: I don't have time for this. I have to get ready... I have to go to work.
[she leaves to go to the bedroom]

Craig:(turns the truck on) I don't know why we have to go across town. It seems kind of silly.
Malcolm: Craig, I promise. It's the best ice cream in town.
Craig: Well, I'll be the judge of that.
[backs up the truck and runs over something, making a loud thud; he stops the truck]
Craig: What was that?!
[Dewey moves a rock out of the driveway to fool Craig into thinking that it was Reese's leg that he ran over]
Reese:(non-emotional) Ow! Ow, my leg! Ow! Ow!
[Dewey rolls eyes and hits Reese's bump. He begins sobbing and screaming]
Craig::(quickly gets out of his truck, panicking) Oh, my God, what did I do?!
Malcolm: You ran over his leg!
Craig: Oh, no!
Lois:(runs outside) What happened? (sees Reese injured) Oh, my God, Reese!
[Reese continues sobbing loudly as Malcolm & Dewey look at each other and smile as their plan worked]

Lois: It's nobody's.
[Malcolm, Reese and Dewey are shocked when they see Lois twist the key to the mini-bike off and take it out.]
Lois: What's wrong with you? You're not allowed to have a motorcycle.

Francis: Sir, his shirt just came UN-tucked when he was hugging his father. You can't yell at him for hugging his father.
[The cadet runs when Spangler turns his attention to Francis]
Hal: Francis!
Commandant Spangler: On no, I'm glad you saw this because this is exactly what I was talking about. Always undermining my authority, day in, day out. It's the same thing. Like when I made Cadet Dooley do 600 laps of the perimeter for an inside-out pillow case violation, Francis organizes a sit in. Or when I cut off the electricity in the 5th floor for contraband boom-box, he hijacks a generator for them. The boy lives to cause chaos.
Francis: He was hugging his dad!
Commandant Spangler: In front of his father he still defies me at every turn.
Hal: And every time something like this happens, he challenges you.
Commandant Spangler: Every time.
Hal: Even though he knows he'll get in trouble.
Commandant Spangler: That doesn't seem to matter to him at all.
Hal: I understand.
Commandant Spangler:(turns to Francis) I will deal with you, later.

Craig:(leaving) Jellybean and I are leaving now. Once again, I'm very sorry. I can't even look you people in the eye.
[Once gone, Lois decides to call it even knowing her sons' plans got Craig out of the house.]

References[edit | edit source]

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