New Neighbors is the 13th episode of season 2 and the 29th episode overall on Malcom in the Middle. It was directed by Ken Kwapis amd written both by Maggie Bandur and Pang-Ni Landrum. The episode premiered on Fox in January 21, 2001.
New neighbors move in next door to the Wilkersons. However, it turns to be a serious family feud between Lois, Malcolm, and Reese with Tina, Josh and Emily (Hal and Mike are the only ones who get along). Meanwhile, Commandant Spangler is excited about his hero, Oliver North, coming to visit Marlin Academy. However, he ends up drinking and sleeping on the day he arrives. Francis must come up with an explanation for Spangler's whereabouts.
The intro scene has Hal & Lois discussing Reese's report card. "C in math instead of the usual A+, subtle" of course, they are forged, but he's picked up the basics, same pen as the teacher, believable grades. No Keating Five for this kid, he might beat the dubya of his day. In any case, his usual punishment is lowered to three months scrubbing toilets instead of two months grounded.
Hal runs into the living room announcing that there's a moving van next door. Malcolm says families keep moving in and out of the house but he doesn't know why. Malcolm's shrugging suggestion is followed by images of him and Reese setting one on fire accidentally, judging from their reactions, Reese's bat accidentally hitting ones head, and Hal driving over a beloved pet of another former neighbor. The new neighbors are professionals no less. Lois is the only one that seems to find it odd that they would move into the rancher next door.
Oliver North is visiting the Marlin Academy. Spangler worships the man, he has a nationally syndicated radio show after all. The boys seem to be drilling all the time, the funniest one being the "Candy Man Can" drill.
The family visits the neighbors and their pool before the Reeds, McCarthys, or the feared Whitfords do. Lois meets Tina right away and tries to get along with her. However, she immediately sees how rude she is to her when Tina refuses to give her time to do the same. Tina's attitude also shows that she thinks Lois is beneath her contempt and she antagonizes Lois for not finding a good ethically challenged doctor for neck and back pain. This sparks a rivalry between the two as they boast which one of them has the better family.
Tina's son, Josh, seemingly is a good boy that wants to be friends with Malcolm and empathizes with him about the torments that Lois puts him through. He even admits his own issues with Tina wanting him to be something he's not. Soon though, it's revealed that he's a pathological and conniving liar who's every turn of phrase gets Malcolm in trouble. This causes the two boys to get into a similar dispute.
The daughter, Emily, seems innocent enough, until she decides to eat Reese alive. He seems to understand that he cannot hit the little girl and Tina thinks there's nothing wrong. However, Lois disagrees and immediately takes action by clamping her nose tight, telling Emily right away that if she wants to breathe properly, she better let go of Reese. She does, but Tina is offended by Lois for her actions against her daughter and desires revenge. The meeting with the neighbors ends with Lois, Malcolm and Reese in a serious feud with Tina, Josh and Emily. The greatest feud is between Dewey and the garden gnome (which Josh intentionally lied about being an evil child eating gnome, which infuriates both Malcolm and Lois).
However, Hal meets the family's patriarch Mike, a man who can cook a burger by flipping it only once, and even teaches him how to do so. They only once feel the need to state that they are not gay, and they share a taste for Cheap Trick and vinyl. At one point Hal calls Mike his best friend and states that he is the best neighbor he's had. Unfortunately, they are dismayed when they learn that their wives and children are now in a serious dispute with each other.
Reese takes charge of the family when it's revealed that the majority of his family despises the new neighbors and that a family feud is exactly what they need. Hal's plea for the them to take a long hard look at themselves falls on deaf ears with the family. It doesn't seem to be a winning strategy as Lois reveals that how much their family hates Tina's own. She continues to dictate that as long as Tina, Josh and Emily continue to behave like animals, Lois, Reese and Malcolm will continue the feud against them. She forbids Hal from hanging out with Mike again until Tina, Josh and Emily take responsibility for themselves and apologize like decent human beings. Hal and Mike sneak out in the middle of the night just so they can enjoy each other's company without their wives finding out.
Reese starts to have nightmares about Emily. Dewey throws a rock at the evil gnome only to have it bounced back into his eye, then later it glares him down from his own kitchen table (after Lois yelled at Tina for destroying the property line and stole her lawn gnomes to pay her back).
Malcolm is then accused of being a Peeping Tom (via Josh's lies), which he tries to deny by explaining the neighbors are all ugly. He thinks it might just blow over until he comes home to Dewey singing a crude song about the subject that he learned at school, and this finally dives him over the edge.
One night, Malcolm and Reese team up to try to pay Josh back by planting evidence of stolen goods in front of his window and calling the police from Stevie's house. Reese explains to Malcolm that it's impossible to clear his own name, the only solution is to ruin someone else's. In his point of view, once their scheme works, Josh will get arrested for theft and larceny, and Emily will get left by the side of the road to bite hillbillies and truckers because their parents will be too tied up in legal troubles for him to pay attention to her or to bother either Malcolm or Lois.
However, their real source of revenge comes when they sneak over to plant the evidence against Josh and inadvertently catch Tina cheating on Mike with her gardener, Hector in the family's jacuzzi. The two soon notice Malcolm and Reese, and both sides scream loudly. In the scramble to get out of the jacuzzi, Tina accidentally knocks Hector out cold. As she struggles to keep him above water, the neighbors, hearing the commotion, all come peeping over the fence (as do Hal and Lois), and she makes a frail attempt to lie her way out of trouble (claiming Hector was teaching her to swim) to no avail. The incident embarrasses Josh, Tina, and Emily so badly that they immediately move away from the neighborhood.
On the day Ollie North arrives, Spangler gets drunk to calm his nerves and immediately sleeps right through it. The next morning, he's distraught about missing his hero's visit, but Francis convinces him that he and Ollie got drunk together and enjoyed each others company like old friends. In doing so, we have an entire episode where Francis has not broken a single rule, law or international treaty.
Malcolm's good name is restored when the neighbors learn that Josh was a pathological liar and scum to begin with. He, Lois, and Reese are ecstatic when they learn Tina and her kids move back to Zacksville, Florida and Dewey conquered his enemy by letting a moving truck crush him to pieces. Only Hal is distraught when he sees Mike leaving in a separate car after discovering that Tina had been cheating on him for a while. However, before he goes, he gives Hal a tape to remember him by. Some days later, a new neighbor named Steve attempts to befriend Hal, but Hal tells him that he needs time to heal.
- 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
- Robin Riker as Tina, the mother of Josh and Emily and Mike's wife. When Lois attempted to get along with her, Tina is revealed to be rude and antagonistic. This plays an important role in their dispute as both boasted they have the better family. Tina was offended when Lois disciplined Emily in a manner she didn't like. Near the end, Reese, Malcolm and the neighbors caught her cheating on Mike with her gardener, Hector. Immediately embarrassed and fearing a confrontation with Mike if he learned the truth about her affair, Tina and her children move away. This made Lois extremely happy because she doesn't have to put up with her rude and antagonistic behavior.
- Gregory Jbara as Mike, the father of Josh and Emily and husband of Tina. He was the only family member to get along with Hal and was dismayed with his family for getting into serious disputes with his new friend's family. Mike eventually finds out about Tina cheating on him with her gardener and his family left him. He seems okay with moving on with his life without them and gives Hal a remix tape to remember him by. However he clearly isn’t, since he left town obviously to get his kids back and to confront Tina about her affair with her Gardner.
- Michael Welch as Josh, Tina and Mike's son, along with Emily's older brother. Seemingly a good boy at first in wanting to be friends with Malcolm, but was revealed to be a pathological and conniving liar that got him into trouble with everyone. Josh becomes embarrassed when he learns about Tina's affair with her gardener and is forced to move away with his family so Malcolm doesn't use this against him.
- Dakota Fanning as Emily, Tina and Mike's four-year-old daughter and Josh's sister. She looks innocent and Reese tries to befriend her. However, it's revealed that she has a biting problem and he realizes he can't hit her. Lois disciplines her by clamping her nose tight and tells her that if she wants to breathe properly she better stop biting Reese and let him go. This offended Tina and made her want to avenge Emily for what Lois did to her. She later moves away out of embarrassment with her mother and brother after Tina's affair with her gardener becomes public.
- Christopher DerGregorian as Hector, Tina's gardener whom has an affair with her.
- Denalda Williams as a cop
- Zack Phifer as Steve Jenkins, the new neighbor of the Wilkersons
- Sarah Ashley as a teenage girl
- John Lee Ames as Cadet 1(uncredited)
- Chris Chee as Cadet 2(uncredited)
- Bradley Thomas Taylor as Cadet 3(uncredited)