Plot[edit | edit source]
Reese discovers he has a gift for cooking after attending a cooking course with Hal, Malcolm urges his classmate to call off a party and Francis is forced to write a term paper.
Summary[edit | edit source]
Hal and Lois attempt to punish Reese for his latest hair-shaving prank but find themselves coming up short, as Reese shrugs off all their attempts and half their punishments interfere with other past punishments he is still serving. At their wits end, Hal suggests they change their approach to Reese and instead try positive reinforcement. To do this, Hal signs himself and Reese up for a cooking class. Reese initially isn't interested, until he sees the class involves sharp objects and fire.
At Marlin Academy, Francis keeps blowing off his share of a major history project that his friend, Eric, is also half-responsible for since he doesn't like to work and prefers to do his own thing. Fed up, he confines Francis into their room to work on his half which is on the Reconstruction from the Civil War and tells him to be serious.
Meanwhile, Cynthia organizes a "Be My Friend" party for everyone at the school, but Malcolm is worried that she's setting herself up for disappointment and tries to stop her. He takes her to the boy's bathroom to show her the writing on the wall which presumably is how annoying she is. Cynthia is hurt by this and cancels the party. Malcolm succeeds in angering Lloyd, Dabney and Stevie who were supportive of the party. He tries to defend himself by stating that she was setting herself up to be hurt and he cared about her to show her that. Lloyd, Dabney and Stevie doesn't believe Malcolm at all and thinks he's too selfish. They tell him off that the writing wasn't about Cynthia, but rather about him. Malcolm is shocked by this and is in disbelief thinking that his friends are lying to him. Lloyd, Dabney and Stevie reassures him that they're not lying at all. They had asked their classmates around school about their honest opinion on Malcolm. The boys got a truthful answer in how much the students like Cynthia because she never lets herself be in the advanced class bother her from making friends and they also like how friendly she is to everyone around her. Stevie, Lloyd and Dabney points out that everyone in their school hates Malcolm because they see him as an egotistical, obnoxious and a self-absorbed jerk who only cares for himself. Because of his own selfishness in cancelling Cynthia's party and which everyone in their school was looking forward to attending, the students are going to have more reasons to hate him and possibly beating him up for. It's only then Malcolm regrets hurting her feelings and his friends were right about him being to wound up. He realizes that he should apologize to Cynthia at once and explain himself.
As the cooking class proceeds, Reese discovers a genuine talent and love for cooking impressing everyone in the class. Lois herself is astounded to come home from work to find Reese cooking dinner. Reese then reduces Hal to tears by thanking him for signing him up for the class.
Back at Marlin Academy, Francis tries to study and do his share. However, he keeps being distracted over the littlest things such as a loose thread on his sweater, enjoying the sunlight, sneaking out to a movie and even taking in a cockroach to do a race with one other ones. Eric responds by crushing the bug and calls him out for his irresponsibility. He then threatens to tell on Francis to Spangler and let him deal with the consequences on his own if he doesn't work on his half of the school project. He blows off the warning as he's not afraid of the Commandant. Francis tells Eric off that if he tells on him to Spangler about his failure to do his assignment and he ends up punished by going to summer school, the cadets will beat him up.
In the class' cooking contest, Reese is found to have tampered with everyone else's quiches, even though he was already favorite to win. Hal & Lois drag Reese all the way home from class to confront him. She orders Dewey into his room for some privacy. After he leaves, she begins to shout at Reese. Hal buts in and asks Reese what made him cheat in the cooking competition. He simply says he enjoyed it, not showing concern for others. Lois then asks the way he'd feel if his dish was tampered with. He doesn't really know, so he physically compares himself to a classmate. Hal then informs Reese on empathy so he can receive a better comprehension of their perspective, saying empathy makes him hurt whenever he hurts someone else. This alone make Reese ask why he'd want empathy since he doesn't know what it has to do with the cooking contest. Lois tells him that it has everything to do with it. That she thinks Reese is an idiot for not understanding how everyone felt over his destructive behavior. Hal pulls her to one side to privately discuss how to handle the situation. He accepts that Reese lacks empathy for anyone except himself. Lois demands to know what to do because no matter what punishment they throw at him, Reese will just brush it off. Hal quickly remember how much Reese has become infatuated with cooking. Thus, he convinces Lois to let him try a new angle on punishment for Reese. Despite being pessimistic about it, she agrees. Hal begins by calmly banning Reese from cooking for a month. He is calm at first and maintains his composure. However, Hal ups the anti & elaborates further by forbidding him from baking, broiling, toasting, etc. Reese loses his composure and starts complaining the punishment is too harsh from Hal and promises to behave himself. Hal refuses it's simply the way it needs to be. As Reese goes to his room in tears, Lois is left satisfied that they have finally found a punishment that works and is impressed over Hal's take on punishment for him.
At Cynthia's house, Malcolm is confronted by Mr. Sanders who is angry at him for hurting his daughter's feelings. Cynthia appears and asks her father to give them time alone. After he leaves, Malcolm apologizes to her for hurting her feelings. He mentions he thought he was saving Cynthia from the disappointment in having no one attend her party. However, all he did was make the students hate him more having now realized that they think he is an egotistical and self-absorbed jerk. Malcolm realized that maybe Cynthia was right and he should loosen up more. Soon everyone at school, including Eric and Francis appears at the party. Malcolm mentions he has learned a lesson in being more considerate of others feelings.
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]
- Miriam Flynn as Teacher
Recurring[edit | edit source]
- Craig Lamar Taylor as Stevie
- Fred Sanders as Mr. Sanders
- Tania Raymond as Cynthia
- Kyle Sullivan as Dabney
- Evan Matthew Cohen as Lloyd
- Eric Nenninger as Eric
- Kristin Quick as Flora Mayesh
Cameos[edit | edit source]
- Ashlee Simpson as High School Girl
- Sheila Shaw as Student #1
- Colleen Maloney as Student #2
- Christopher Hutson as a male student
- Adam Craig Duro as Kid #1
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- This is the 2nd time that Malcolm finds out just how much he's hated by his own peers. The first time was in Bully, due to Reese protecting him. This will continue on in Humilithon, Malcolm Films Reese and in Morp.
- Had Stanley been in this episode instead of Eric, he would've had beaten Francis up for not doing his share of his project and be forced to do his homework.
- Hal's calm punishment in banning Reese from doing any sort of cooking in the kitchen is the first time that he has been able to break his son.
- Originally, Francis was going to bribe Malcolm money to do his term paper involving the Reconstruction era after the Civil War. With his genius, he is able to deliver on his essay and save Francis from Eric.