Traffic Ticket is the 16th episode of season 2 and the 16th episode overall in Malcolm in the Middle. It was directed by Jeff Melman and written by Larry Strawther. The episode aired on February 18, 2001.
Lois tells the boys they're going to the barber college to get their hair cut, despite Malcolm's complaints because they never get the cut right and wants to go to a real barber. At work Lucky Aide, she rings up a police officer and tells him he needs to pay full price for his iced tea. However, Craig mentions that the officer gets 100% off, due to an arrangement in order to keep Lucky Aide safe. Lois reminds him that they've been robbed five times in the past six months (including the previous episode Robbery) and still makes the cop pay for his iced tea.
After her shift, Lois and the boys leave for the barber college when she is pulled over by the same cop. Lois is arrested when he tells her that she has 16 unpaid parking tickets. She insists that the parking tickets are not hers, and vows to prove him wrong. Later on, Hal bails her out of jail, but can't understand how they amassed so many traffic tickets without knowing.
It is revealed that Francis got them all in Lois' name, which makes her furious. She tells him that he owes the family $747.13 and refuses to let him come home until he's paid the family. Hal suggests that Lois goes to traffic school instead as an attempt to avoid potential lawsuits. She refuses and claims that the cop had it out for her because she refused to let him have a free iced tea and pulled her over as payback. Lois still believes she is right and will make the boys testify in court.
Malcolm visits Craig at Lucky Aide to gather evidence. He produces a tape from the parking lot scene, and learns that Lois is wrong as she had cut off a car when pulling out of the parking lot. Malcolm shows the tape to Reese, who is overjoyed as it proves she is wrong and they can hold it against her. They then show it to Hal, who is glad the boys showed it to him.
Meanwhile at Marlin Academy, Francis attempts to come up with the owed money by pulling dangerous stunts for his colleagues. Later on, he calls home and learns from Malcolm that Lois was guilty and is overjoyed. Francis wants him to hold it against her, but Malcolm doesn't know what to do.
Hal and the boys show the tape to Lois, who states that the tape is wrong. The boys protest, but he tells them not to interfere and let him handle it. In the bedroom, Lois tells him that she saw the tape, but knows what happened . However, Hal finally convinces her to admit she is wrong, and she finally drops the case.
Lois calms down considerably, finally accepting that she can be wrong (which the boys use to shift blame to her which she accepts). Francis calls home again, this time in a wheelchair from a dangerous stunt he pulled. He tells Lois that he got some of the money to pay off all the tickets, but she tells him that he can use it to come home for a weekend. Lois leaves the house, and Craig arrives with a different tape from another store across the street. The tape reveals that the car Lois had cut off had performed an illegal u-turn right beforehand, revealing that Lois had been right the whole time. Hal, knowing Lois would revert to her old self if made aware of the evidence, immediately destroys the tape and orders Craig to remain silent, to which he nervously nods a yes to.
- Hal: I heard they made traffic school really fun. There's bowling traffic school, comedy traffic. Remember when I took that comedy traffic school, god that was hilarious. A rabbi, a priest and a minister come to a four way stop....
- Lois: I am not taking traffic school.
- Hal: Honey, if you don't take traffic school, you'll get a point in your license.
- Lois: I'm not getting a point in my license because I'm taking this to court. I did nothing wrong and I got three eyewitnesses to prove it. They saw exactly what happened.
- [The camera comes up to Reese and flashbacks]
- Lois: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...
- [Reese is taking gum off his shoe. The camera comes up to Malcolm and flashbacks]
- Lois: Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack, quack...
- [Malcolm is drawing a pirate on his arm. The camera comes up to Dewey and flashbacks]
- Lois: Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey, Dewey...
- [As Lois is saying his name, Dewey is driving the wheel as Lois is in the passenger's seat.]
- Malcolm, Reese, & Dewey: You're right, mom!
- Lois: Well, knock yourself out. My record is clean.
- [Scene changes to the police officer arresting Lois.]
- Lois: There is no way I have 16 unpaid parking tickets! The computer's wrong! You are not getting away with this!
- [After Lois tells Francis that he owes the family $747.13 for the unpaid parking tickets.]
- Francis: This is totally unfair! None of this would've happened if you weren't such a reckless driver!
- Lois: Excuse me??!!
- Francis: When I park too close to a mailbox, I didn't endanger anyone's life.
- Lois: I didn't endanger anyone. I was pulled over by a corrupt cop for a traffic violation that I didn't commit!
- Francis: [sarcastically] Oh, but when I say I've been framed by the cops, you send me to military school! Ironic, isn't it?!
- Lois: That cop was out to get me!
- Francis: Of course he was. Everyone's out to get you. And the neighbor's cat's the ringleader. Didn't you know that?
- Lois: Ha-ha, you can laugh all you want, Francis. But until you come up with the money, you are not coming home.
- Francis: Where am I supposed to get $700?! You're just using this to keep me here.
- Lois: Yeah, that's right. It was the cat's idea.