Secret Boyfriend is the sixth episode of Malcolm in the Middle's seventh season.
Malcolm gets paired up with a popular girl called Vicki for chemistry who turns out to be smart and really likes him. She doesn't want to lose her reputation of being popular, so she decides they have to hide their relationship.
Lois demands Reese get a job and when he doesn't, she takes things away from him and he is eventually forced to live outside the house. Meanwhile, Hal is determined to give Dewey his free game of mini-golf he feels he should have won, but Dewey couldn't care less.
Malcolm's in love with a hot and secretly brainy teen named Vicki who fears ruining her image by seeing him publicly. Jessica thinks he deserves better because she has seen the latter for who she is inside. She tries to warn Malcolm to end his relationship at once since she knows Vicki only is dating him in secret just so she can maintain her popular image.
At the house, Lois is frustrated with Reese because he got a lot of job applications in his room that he got from the school fair involving jobs and is trying to hide it. She tells Hal all about it because he's 19 years old, has job applications and still doesn't care about his future. He tells Lois that he thought she had given up from her previous attempts to motivate Reese into caring about his future. Malcolm overhears this and even he agrees with this assessment from Hal. He reminds her about another attempt she made in motivating Reese, only for him to screw her over by tanking his finals and repeating his senior year.
Malcolm refuses to listen to Jessica about Vicki due to the former's track record of tricking him in the past and getting him into trouble, so Jessica tells Malcolm she has feelings for him. Malcolm realizes how right Jessica was about Vicki being narcissistic in maintaining her popular image. Despite her attempts to want to continue their relationship, Malcolm breaks up with Vicki and telling her off that he deserves better.
After getting a nightmare about Reese in his 30s still living at home, a high school dropout and refusing to get a job by pestering Hal and Lois in their old age, Lois comes in to the boys' bedroom. She makes her ultimatum clear to him: either finish high school, get a job and get his own apartment or else she will kick him out of the house. The next day, Reese still believing that he has a nightmare of a woman. He talks to Malcolm about it, believing that the witch wants him to get a job and move out. Lois walks in the kitchen to confront Reese and demanding him to get a job. She reminds him that everyone else in the house has a job and are pulling their own weight. When Reese refuses to get a job by telling Lois off that he doesn't like taking orders from anyone and including her, she gets angry at him. She responds by telling him that she won't continue supporting him any longer and he will have to learn to fend for himself.
In a montage, Lois continues to make her stance clear by taking things away from Reese:
- When Reese enters the kitchen to get something to eat while everyone else is gone, he discovers that Lois has chained the refrigerator shut, leaving him unable to get any food.
- While Reese is in the middle of a shower, Lois comes in and shuts the water off, leaving him stunned.
- At night, Lois takes all of Reese's sheets, blankets and pillows off his bed, thus forcing him to try in vain to use newspaper to sleep comfortably.
- Finally, when Reese is on the toilet and needs to wipe, he finds that Lois has not only removed the toilet paper from the roll, but has also locked up the drawer to prevent Reese from getting any. This forces Reese to reluctantly tear a page from the comic book he was reading to use to wipe.
After about a week, Reese is filthy, smelly, hungry, and tired, but still refuses to get a job. He tries to ask Dewey and Hal for help; Dewey refuses but Hal sneaks a piece of toast to him. When Lois enters, she is offended by his looks and B.O. and tells him again to get a job, but Reese again refuses. This leads to an argument which ends with her, kicking him out of the house, forcing him to make home in a reinforced box.
Meanwhile, Hal is in a heated conflict with the owner of the miniature golf course because he won't give Dewey a free game (even though the ball was stuck). In turn, he teaches his father a lesson by locking him up in one of the displays because he never listened to him when he told him he was okay with not getting a free game.
After coming to Jessica's house, he explains that she had been right the whole time. Jessica then reveals she lied about being interested in Malcolm so he would get over himself and realize the truth about Vicki. At Malcolm's anger and disappointment Jessica kisses him. It's revealed that she actually has genuine feelings for him, only attempting to conclude she felt nothing when she kissed him. Malcolm doesn't believe Jessica and kisses her again, proving her claims false. She tells him that she'll see him tomorrow.
However, Lois lets Reese move back in to take care of her when she pulls a muscle in her back in trying to destroy his box. He later has a nightmare about himself in his 30s and having to take care of an obese and elderly Lois 24/7, the climax being her revealing her stomach folds for her sponge bath. Horrified, Reese busts inside Hal and Lois' room. He let's Lois know that he has decided to get a job, finish school and move out. And just in case that he fails, she can clean her own stomach folds.
- Jane Kaczmerek as Lois
- Bryan Cranston as Hal
- Christopher Kennedy Masterson as Francis (credit only)
- Justin Berfield as Reese
- Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey
- Frankie Muniz as Malcolm
- Hayden Panettiere as Jessica
- Sarah Wright as Vicki (credited as Sarah Mason)
- Harold Sylvester as Phelps
- Erik von Detten as Brad
- Larry Polston as Lloyd
- Perry DiMarco as teacher
- When Vicki is pretending to be superficial and stupid in front of Malcolm, she says she had to take part in a discussion whether gloss or glitter is better. Malcolm whispers to her that he thought the issue was resolved with Fermat's Last Theorem, causing Vicki to laugh. Fermat's Last Theorem is a famous conjecture by a French mathematician in the 17th century that was only proven in 1995. This is one of the most famous theorems in mathematics.
- The song playing in the background during Lois' dream sequence about her and Hal when they are old is a modified version of the Malcolm theme song.
- Malcolm and Reese's high school looks different than it did in seasons 4-6 (it's possible it's the same high school and building but different sections for lower and upper class men).
- The miniature golf course scenes were shot at the Sherman Oaks Castle Park.
- Reese's hobo friend, Lloyd, is the third character in the series with the name Lloyd after Lloyd Jensen and Chad's father Lloyd.
- The nightmare Lois had of Reese, at least in his 30's, still living at home and still haven't finished high school exemplifies how badly Lois fears Reese will never leave her and Hal alone.
- Final appearance of Jessica
- The nightmare Reese had of himself in his 30s being a high school dropout and living at home exemplifies his own fears of having to take care of an elderly, obese, and controlling Lois 24/7
- Vicki (to Malcolm): I think it's really romantic. It's like Romeo & Juliet. Our love has to be hidden.
- Malcolm: I'm not hiding it.
- Vicki: I wish you would.
- Lois (about Reese): What are we going to do about him, Hal? He shows absolutely no interest in his future.
- Hal: I'm sorry, honey. I thought you had given up on him too.
- [Reese is having a nightmare of himself in his 30s taking care of an elderly, obese and controlling Lois.]
- Lois: Reese! Reese, get in here quick! Do you hear me? What is the matter with you? Are you deaf? It's time for my sponge bath! You think these stomach folds will scrape themselves out.
- [She tosses her bed sheets and Reese screams in terror. He quickly runs inside Hal and Lois' bedroom to confront his mother]
- Reese: I'm gonna get a job! I'm gonna get a life away from here! And just in case I don't, you can clean out your own damn stomach folds.
- [Lois is having a nightmare about having Reese in his 30s as a high school dropout with no job and still living at home, tormenting her and Hal in their old age. She wakes up and immediately busts in through the boys bedroom as Reese awakens.]
- Lois: Reese, you may think you're pulling some kind of scam! But I'm on to you! You are getting a job starting tomorrow! And keep your dirty mitts off your father's toupee!