Rollerskates is the thirteenth episode of Season 1 of Malcolm in the Middle and the thirteenth episode overall of the show.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Hal has his own methods for teaching Malcolm to roller-skate. Lois hurts her back, is forced to rest in bed, and refuses to take medication so as to stop Reese and Dewey from misbehaving. Francis tries to get out of a survival trip with the other cadets by faking a hurt back, but gets caught by them later.

French fries are evenly distributed between Malcolm, Reese, and Dewey

Plot[edit | edit source]

In the cold opening Malcolm, Dewey and Reese are trying to evenly distribute the french fries they've got for dinner. Malcolm using far too complicated measurements, Reese is confused by the advanced mathematic terms and Dewey attempts to nibble. Malcolm claims it took them 3 hours to equally divide the curly fries from last week.

Malcolm is angry because during a game of street hockey, he sprints up and down the street in shoes, only to have it start back the other way while all the other players have roller skates. He explains to Stevie that Hal was a skating champion when he was younger and he made a rule no one in the family could buy rollerskates and tell her they take lessons from him, but Malcolm knows his dad is eccentric about skating and he calls it "The Brotherhood of the Wheel" but he decides he is ready to take skating lessons from his dad. He asks Reese and Francis how it is, but they both refuse to tell him. When he starts, he is angered by all the silly twists and spins they are doing. At dinner Hal serves Gut Busters a very unhealthy fattening hot dog that Lois would never allow. Malcolm finally asks Hal to teach him. Hal explains that once he begins there is no turning back and he needs to be 100% committed. He agrees.

Meanwhile, Reese roller-skates in the house with a bunch of gunk on his skates which causes Lois to throw out her back while yelling at him. She refuses to take the prescribed painkiller from her doctor. When Hal asks her about her reasons in refusing to take the medications, she states that they make her loopy and that she must control everybody in the house and not let anyone have a breather just because she's hopped up on goofballs. Lois has baby monitors set up around the house in order to maintain her tyranny on everyone else in the house. She punishes Reese for getting her crippled and busts him for trying to drink juice out of the carton. Reese tries to ignore Lois' orders to get a glass. However, through the baby monitor, she orders him again to get a glass and threatening to bring bodily harm if he doesn't comply to her wishes. Reese finally does and Dewey asks if he can get some milk. Lois tells him that he can and reminds him to get a glass. When she catches Hal trying to sneak painkillers in her sandwich, Lois verbally berates him for it.

At Marlin Academy, Francis fakes the same back injury Lois told him about to get out of a wilderness survival exercise at the academy. For a while, he lives it up by sleeping and watching TV on his wheelchair. However, Francis is caught goofing around by Stanley on his wheelchair. Stanley is thoroughly disappointed by his lying so he and the cadets get revenge on Francis by tying him up on the wheelchair and leaving him in the middle of the forest with only a knife.

Malcolm becomes frustrated with his lessons and Hal takes the skates away. Angered, he responds by not only insulting Hal but also using profanity in front of him by saying the "F-Word". Later on in the boys bedroom Reese is convinced Malcolm will be severely punished and to say hello to Francis after he is shipped off to Siberia for saying the F-word. Malcolm wonders if their dad told their mom, but he learns Lois is starting to feel better and is concerned over her punishing him. He reassures Malcolm he had been helping her take her medication. Reese mentions that sneaking pills in her milk proved to be more effective than Hal's attempt in sneaking meds in her sandwich.

In the master bedroom, Hal is at a loss of words and ponders what to do. He asks Lois for advice in punishing Malcolm for swearing and insulting him. Hal mentions he wished Malcolm was like Francis and Reese who threw punches at him since he was used to it. With hurtful words, he doesn't know how to respond and hoped Lois would give him a few pointers in punishing him since she knew how to deal with that herself. Unfortunately, she is under the influence of drugs and responds by laughing at him before passing out. During a skating stint at Malcolm and Reese's middle school wearing a sequinned shirt to Queen's "We Are the Champions", he finally comes up with a good idea.

The next day, Hal prints up a list of insult words to make Malcolm read them when Lois wakes up. She is back to normal and reprimands him for eating chili dogs while she was immobile. Lois orders Hal to go back to eating rice cakes right now. She sits up and is screaming at Reese for sneaking medications in her milk.

Hal comes into the kitchen and warns the boys that Lois is mobile again. The boys run for it, but he stops Malcolm and takes him to the backyard. He mentions that since Malcolm said bad things about him, Hal concludes it can't be solved with a punishment or a simple apology. He makes Malcolm face him and reading the typed pages of swear words and insults. Malcolm relents and eventually not only realizes the meaning of swear words, but also how he hurt Hal's feelings when he said them. Hal tells him how much words can be hurtful and that he needs to be careful how he uses them. After apologizing to him, Malcolm is not to make eye contact with Hal for the next few weeks, and he finally learns how to roll on skates. The next day, Malcolm is able to beat Reese's team by using the technique that Hal taught him. Malcolm states that although he looks like an idiot dancing on the skates he is kicking ass.

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]

  • Jose Espinosa as Cadet Jose

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Lois: Are you happy you crippled your mother? Are YOU?!!!!
Reese: Mom....

[Reese attempts to drink from the milk carton, but is busted by Lois on the baby monitor intercom.]
Lois: What are you doing?!!!!
Reese: Nothing.
Lois:[doesn't believe Reese] Get a glass.
[Reese attempts to ignore it and drink out of the milk carton again, but Lois catches this]
Reese: OK. OK!!!
Hal: What do you think you're doing?
Malcolm: Taking my skates to go play hockey.
Hal: Absolutely not, we had an agreement.
Malcolm: Agreement? You just like bossing me around!
Hal: And you like fighting me every step of the way!
Malcolm: Because you're treating me like a baby! The stuff you're teaching me is stupid.
Hal: Okay, that's it. You just lost these pal.
Malcolm: Oh, yeah? Well, (shot of truck driver stepping on brakes tires screeching and flock of birds flying away on tree and monitor feedback screech awakening Lois) you! You heard me.
Francis: (Imitating Radio Static) Uh, Houston, we are good to go. Uh, Roger that. You are good to go in five, four, three, two, one. Go! Whoo! (slides down hall spraying fire extinguisher as other cadets return) Hey... fellas! Boy, has it been two days already? How was it, huh? You just missed the big fire. But, um, luckily I was here to put it out. (pause as cadets look at each other) Can I offer you some cookie dough?
(Cuts to woods as Francis is tied to a chair laying down)
Francis: Come on, guys, let's be reasonable. I can't spend two days in the woods tied to a chair.
Stanley: Three days, one extra for lying.
Francis: Well, at least lend me a jacket! (Cadets leave) Or some food! Dudes, come on! You can't just leave me out here with nothing! (Knife is thrown by Francis) That was to me, not at me, right?

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Stanley isn't seen after this episode, making this Karim Prince's final appearance.
  • Lois throws her back in this episode.
  • Unlike Francis and Reese, Malcolm used his words to tell Hal off and thus put him at a loss of words.
  • Although it's not outright stated, it's implied the reason that Francis and Reese had refused to warn Malcolm against taking skating lessons from Hal is mainly due to their own traumatic experiences
  • The song that plays while Hal is teaching Malcolm some skating lessons was "Funky town" by Lips Inc.
  • Here are a list of songs that played during Hal's skating routines.
  • "A Fifth of Beethoven" by Walter Murphy
  • "Enjoy Yourself" by The Jackson's
  • "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer
  • "I'm Your Boogieman" by KC & The Sunshine Band
  • The song that plays during Hal's night skating is "We Are the Champions" by Queen
  • All the fries Malcolm, Reese, and Dewey have are from McDonald's.
  • Hal says he held Malcolm in his arms the moment he was born, but according to Flashback this isn’t true because he was away getting a slushie when Malcolm was born.
  • Surprisingly, Bryan Cranston did most of the skating in this episode. In an interview with IFC Cranston says, "I did most of it. There were just two parts I didn't do, which is when I left my feet. There was a cartwheel and a handstand, which I did not do, but everything else I did. It was fun we had a week and a half to learn the routine and start skating. It's fantastic what you can do with practice."
  • Bryan Cranston’s favorite episode of Malcolm in the Middle

Errors[edit | edit source]

  • In the scene where Reese is playing a video game on his Game-boy, there is no game cartridge in the Game-boy.
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