Malcolm in the Middle

Season 3 Episode 7


Aired Sunday 8:30 PM Dec 16, 2001 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
54 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Malcolm and his brothers destroy their Christmas tree ornaments, Lois punishes them by canceling Christmas and moves all the presents into the garage. The only way she will reinstate the holiday is if the boys behave impeccably up to Christmas morning. Her plan works better than expected, and Lois is touched that her family responded so well to her challenge. Meanwhile, the boys decide that Lois could use this tactic for future holidays and retaliate by breaking into the garage and opening up all the presents. Elsewhere, Francis is forced to visit his Grandma Ida for Christmas.moreless

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  • The more I think about this episode, the more perfect it seems.

    What better way to elicit the series' famous brand of comedy than a (suitably named) Christmas episode? Fed up from a string of holiday disasters, Lois takes Christmas hostage, creating great tension with the rest of the family members, and ultimately resulting in an imaginative breakdown of her own. This situation's most impressive comedy moments include Hal's sweatshirt gag, the tension over a waffle, and the boys trying to play quietly. But this is also a powerfully dramatic story, with the entire family (save Hal) realizing that their approach to Christmas is flawed. The denouement seems perfectly true to life, despite the fact that this dynamic doesn't even come close to most families' experience.

    Unlike many episodes, Francis' storyline here was closely tied to the main plot, and even more similarities are revealed as the episode progresses. The Francis and Ida pairing can't help but be funny, and the dialogue in these scenes is priceless. In all, this episode has some of my favorite jokes of the series, as well as providing further insight into the family's dysfunction.moreless
  • Great!

    What a cool episode this one, and is one of my favorite episodes EVER of Malcolm in the Middle: Lois punishes the boys after they intentionally begin to destroy Christmas decorations and threatens to cancel Christmas if they continue to act like that, and that makes the boys go to madness. When they realize that their mother could use the same tactic later on, they decide to get revenge by ruining their Christmas. Meanwhile, Francis visits Grandma Ida and ends up in torture for Francis, and there Francis discovers how horrible his grandmother is. What a cool episode is this one!moreless
Cody Estes

Cody Estes

Young Malcolm

Guest Star

Dillon John

Dillon John

Young Reese

Guest Star

Matthew Dunn

Matthew Dunn

Young Dewey

Guest Star

Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Hal: (consoling a crying Lois) You are a wonderful mother, and you're a wonderful person.
      Francis: (on the answering machine) Hey, Mom, it's Francis. I just want you to know that I am disgusted with the way you treat Grandma. Abandoning a helpless old woman at Christmas? I hope you're ashamed of yourself!

    • Dewey: She's stealing Christmas!
      Malcolm: Mom, you can't do this.
      Reese: Yeah, this is the last year Dewey will believe in Santa Clause.
      Dewey: What?

    • Hal: You canceled Christmas?
      Lois: I'm not canceling it, I'm holding it hostage.

    • Malcolm: Why didn't we try the whole denial thing a long time ago?

    • Reese: (holding up a skateboard) I wonder what is it!

    • Francis: (to Ida) Can't you do the entire family a favor and just die?!

    • (Ida continues coughing)
      Francis: You sound like you're dying.
      Ida: You'd like that, wouldn't you? You can't wait to get your hands on my things.
      Francis: Oh, yeah, Grandma, I got big plans for these doilies and I really want that can of peaches that's been on your shelf for 30 years.
      Ida: Don't touch my peaches!

    • Francis: Well, look at that -- 8:00 already, way past my bedtime. Where do I sleep?
      Ida: You're sitting on it.
      Francis: Does it turn into a bed?
      Ida: Yes, it becomes a bed. It's a special, magic sofa. It opens up for magic, lazy boy, and angels come and feed you grapes, and sing to you while you sleep, and it flies around the room granting wishes for boys who are stupid.
      Francis: All right! It doesn't fold out!

    • Francis: Hi, Grandma. (enters house) God's sakes, it's colder in here. Don't you turn the heat on?
      Ida: I'm not going to pay those pirates.
      Francis: Of course not. Well, in the spirit of the season, let's begin this pathetic charade. (gives her a Christmas card)
      Ida: I never know what you're talking about. You talk like a jackass.

    • Lois: (on the phone, to Francis) Just spend a couple of days with Grandma. You can leave right after Christmas.
      Francis: I am not visiting that woman. She's evil and she hates me.
      Lois: Francis, this is Grandma's first Christmas since Grandpa died, and you live the closest. How can you be so selfish?
      Francis: Well, did you invite her to your house?
      (long pause)
      Lois: She knows she's always welcome.
      Francis: Hey, maybe we'll both get on a bus and come down and surprise you.
      Lois: Don't you threaten me. I am ending this discussion.

  • NOTES (6)

    • In this episode we learn that Ida lives in Whitehorse. It is the capital of Yukon (a territory in Canada).

    • Cold Open: When Reese refuses to give up the remote, Malcolm does everything in his power to make him have to go pee.

    • Lois reveals that her father Victor passed away. The aftermath of this progresses briefly each season, coming to a head in late season 5 episode "Victor's Other Family."

    • The music heard during the big ornament fight is TMBG's "The Bells Are Ringing". This marks the only time the song has been used in a Christmas context, since the song technically has nothing to do with Christmas.

    • Cloris Leachman won an emmy for her portrayal of Grandma Ida in this episode.

    • Cloris Leachman received an Emmy nomination for her role as Grandma Ida in this episode. Jeff Melman was nominated for an Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series for this episode.