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Malcolm in the Middle

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 8:30 PM Jan 09, 2000 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
149 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Malcolm introduces us to his world, dominated by omnipresent schoolyard bully Spath and made worse by his enforced friendship with Stevie, an asthmatic wheelchair genius. When a battery of tests reveals that Malcolm has an IQ of 165, he is moved into Stevie's special accelerated class, despite his protests that "around here being intelligent is exactly the same as being radioactive." On the bright side, Malcolm discovers a practical application for intelligence when he and Stevie spontaneously hit on a solution to Spath's persistent tyranny.moreless

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  • ?? no episode, just the cast and stuff ect.

    How the heck do I watch the episode?
  • The Start

    Malcolm, a kid in a dysfunctional family, is believed to be a real genius. And he is, so he is advanced in school. He makes new friend Stevie and adjusts to this change in his life.

    This wasn't the best pilot ever, but if pretty much does what a good TV pilot would do: gives us a good clue as to the characters, and how the rest of the series is going to turn out. It had some funny parts and some not-so funny parts. But it was an interesting pilot. Not one of my favorite episodes, but still very nicemoreless
  • Interesting start to the series.

    We meet the family and see how different they are from the rest of the neighborhood. This further establishes the difficulties Malcolm's newfound genius causes.

    However, it's also a bit disturbing. In the next episode, Lois will feed the boys, after running them through a battery of tests designed to get one of them to confess to ruining her red dress, under the excuse that social workers will show up if she doesn't. I would venture to guess that, if Carolyn Miller didn't call a social worker after being greeted at the front door by a topless Lois who refused to put on a shirt (with her first-grade and middle-school sons in the house), one missed meal probably wouldn't cause any problems.

    The boys don't seem to notice or care that their mother is running around with only a basket or a pile of laundry covering her chest and Malcolm acts as though his father's nudity in the kitchen while his back is being shaved is a regular occurence.

    Just an element of concern in an otherwise amusing episode.moreless
  • Very nice! Malcolm is the best show ever!

    It's so cool! Dont you like it as much as i do cause its fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and funand funand funand funand funand funand funand funand funand funand funand funand funand fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and funand funvand funand funand fun and fun I watch all the episodes, and i think no show is beter then this one!! i hope you like it as much as i DO! Srry needed to get 100 wordsmoreless
  • Great way to start the excellent show.

    This was an awesome episode. The show came up with a create way to have Malcolm talk to the audience within the parts of the episode. The jokes were pretty deadpan, but they were really funny. Malcolm was a normal kid, but his teachers found out he had an IQ of 165, and he went into the "special" krelboyne class, where only the nerdiest of kids go. Malcolm doesn't want to go since he thinks people will make fun of him and he likes where he is. He also makes friends with the wheelchair-kid Stevie Kenarban. This episode started a legendary show that can trump all others, even though it's old.moreless
Vincent Berry

Vincent Berry

Dave Spath

Guest Star

Martin Spanjers

Martin Spanjers


Guest Star

Dylan Kasch

Dylan Kasch

Crony #1

Guest Star

Craig Lamar Traylor

Craig Lamar Traylor


Recurring Role

Will Jennings

Will Jennings


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • The scene of the goofy-looking monster grabbing the woman in the opening credits is from Roger Corman's Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961).

    • When Hal lifts the paper, you can clearly see the lining of some sort of cover. It exposes the inner lines of his hips and gives the illusion of him being naked, but for that moment the camera dips low enough to show that he is actually not naked.

    • Nearly all of the houses in Malcolm's street have "For Sale" signs.

    • While Malcolm is at Stevie's house, they are eating cookies. Malcolm has a cookie in his right hand, but when he turns to the camera to share some commentary, the cookie is gone. When he turns back to Stevie, the cookie is there again.

    • The animation clips shown briefly during the opening credits are from the Japanese anime Nazca.

    • The two wrestlers briefly featured in the opening credits are Bret Hart and Chris Benoit.

    • Merrin Dungey (who plays Stevie's Mom, Kitty Kenarban) appeared in this episode as Malcolm's teacher.

    • The monster seen rising from the water in the opening credits is the monster from Clash of the Titans (1981).

    • In the opening credits, the boxer that inadvertently knocks out the referee is Pedro Cardenas fighting Willie deWit. He accidentally KOd referee Bert Lowes during the 1982 North American Championships in Las Vegas.

    • Scenes from The Brain from Planet Arous can be seen during the opening credits.

    • When Malcolm goes to the office to take the test, sitting on the desk is an Etch-A-Sketch and a Rubik's Twist (a.k.a. the Rubik's Snake)--which is notorious for its usefulness at teaching spatial awareness--that has been twisted into a ball form.

    • The starting to this episode is different because the singing is a lot louder and overrides the music a lot more.

    • When Malcolm is talking to his first teacher (not Caroline), you can just about see a small part of a microphone at the top of the screen.

    • When Malcolm is sitting on his desk, when his teacher calls him to go to the principal's office, a person passes behind the classroom, but when Malcolm stands up, there is no one there.

    • When Lois hangs up on Francis before saying, "Oh, I love you!" it seems as though the line is already disconnected (as can be heard from the dial tone from Francis' side), but in a later shot, Malcolm and Reese are just about to hang up the phone.

  • QUOTES (36)

    • Malcolm: So, what do you do all day?
      Stevie: Mostly... read... comics.
      Malcolm: You have comic books?
      (Stevie rolls his wheelchair to his closet and opens up a whole small room full of comic books)
      Malcolm: Whoa! You really have Youngblood #1?!
      Stevie: Wanna... read it?
      Malcolm: No way. I'd wreck it. Did you read the last Savage Dragon where they split him into two?
      Stevie: Yeah... brilliant.

    • Malcolm: These are good cookies.
      Stevie: Yeah... they're good.

    • Caroline: You're not in trouble, Malcolm. You're here because some of your teachers think you're... you know what? I want to play some games with you. Puzzles, stuff like that.
      Malcolm: Why?
      Caroline: Boy, oh, boy. You are a suspicious little dickens, aren't you?

    • Caroline: Hi, I'm Caroline. Wanna have a seat?
      (Malcolm walks over to a chair and we hear squishing from his pants with paint)

    • Mrs. Hogan: Malcolm.
      Malcolm: What?
      Mrs. Hogan: They need to see you in the office.
      Malcolm: Okay. (looks up)
      Mrs. Hogan: I think they mean right now.
      Malcolm: Okay. (pauses)
      Mrs. Hogan: Get up, Malcolm!
      (Malcolm gets up and gets laughed at by classmates as he walks down the hallway)

    • Francis: (flashback and seen handcuffed by an officer on the front porch) Dad, I know what you're gonna say, and believe me and I totally agree with you. There is no excuse for what I did. It was idiotic, immature, totally reckless and I'm really sorry... (seen sitting on a bed with a girl in the background getting dressed) I'm just hoping against hope that you will give me another chance, which I admit... (seen in front of a car in flames) I don't deserve, but if you can just find it in your heart, I think I can earn your trust back.
      (exhaust pipe starts blowing)
      Malcolm: (to the camera) It's not like it was even our car.

    • Richard: Hey, Malcolm.
      Malcolm: Hey, Richard.
      Richard: So, my mom was telling my dad last night about your brother? He said he was in jail?
      Malcolm: He's not in jail. He's at Marlin Academy. It's like one of the best private schools in the country. (to the camera) And it's totally unfair. Everyone acts just like Francis, as this big troublemaker, and he's not.

    • Lois: You just take your legs for granted like nothing could ever happen. But let me tell you something. That is just wishful thanking. There is meningitis. There are car accidents. I could be giving you a spanking and accidentally snap your spinal cord.

    • Hal: So, Malcolm, why is playing a problem?
      Malcolm: First off, I don't even know Stevie.
      Lois I saw his mother at the grocery store. She said you two had lunch together.
      Malcolm: One time! He rolled his wheelchair over next to me. It's not like I could say go away. He's not even in my class. He's in the Krelboyne class in the trailer next to tetherball.

    • Lois: Malcolm, you come right home from school today. I made a play date with you with Stevie Kenarban and you have to take a bath.
      Malcolm: What? Mom! No!

    • Lois: You know, it's always such a shame to dump this in the trash. Maybe birds would like to make a nest out of it or... I don't know. Maybe you boys can use of it for school projects.

    • Lois: These clippers are dull already. Honestly, Hal, you're like a monkey.

    • Malcolm: Why do they keep doing that?
      Stevie: You're new.
      Malcolm: Oh, great, so I'm the freak of the freakshow?

    • Lois: Hey, Francis, how's school?
      Francis: Oh, couldn't be better, Mom. My new roommate showed me how to kill mice with a hammer yesterday. So, you know, between that and the general atmosphere of simmering homo-eroticism, I think I'm really starting to turn around.

    • Dave Spath: (to Boy) All right, here's how it works. You can beg for mercy on your belly, lick the bottom of my shoes, or take a beating. You must pick at least two. But, but, but... if you pick three, you get a pass for the next two weeks. All right? That's your best value.
      Malcolm: (to the camera) Dave Spath. He never gets sent anywhere.

    • Dewey: Mom said to hold hands.
      Malcolm: She did not say to hold hands, Dewey. I'm not holding hands.
      Dewey: Come on, hold hands, please.
      Malcolm: No! You're in the First Grade, you're too big for that!

    • (about walking Dewey)
      Reese: It's your turn to walk him.
      Malcolm: I walked him yesterday and the day before.
      Reese: I walked with him and he wet his pants.

    • Reese: (laughing) Malcolm has a play date?
      Malcolm: Shut up, Reese!
      Reese: With Stevie "The Wheelie" Kenarban. Oh, man. (laughs and begins choking as Dewey starts giggling)
      Hal: Breathing.
      (Lois goes up to Reese and hits him on the back, then he stops choking)

    • Hal: They're sending an unmanned probe to Venus and letting a bunch of school children name it. That's gonna end badly.

    • Malcolm: (to Dewey) Look, I'm walking next to you. You'll be fine.
      (Dewey starts walking slower and slower, as Malcolm gets upset and grabs Dewey's hand)
      Malcolm: Damn it! This is why everyone teases you!

    • Lois: Just remember, anybody who makes fun of you is a creepy little loser who'll end up working at a carwash.
      Malcolm: (to camera) This shouldn't make me feel better, but it does.

    • Malcolm: (to camera) I keep trying to run, but my legs won't work. Mom's right, they are important!

    • Stevie: Just... chill out.
      Malcolm: That's easy for you to say. You've always been a freak. I used to be normal. (to camera) Wait, who just said that? (to Stevie) You're going to take that the wrong way, aren't you?!
      Stevie: You... suck!

    • Lois: Every day is a lottery and first prize is that you don't have to scoot yourselves around town on a skateboard with your hands. You think about that.

    • Lois: That one lunch obviously meant a lot to Stevie. He's a human being with human feelings. Now, you are going to be friends with that cripple boy and you're gonna like it, understood?
      Malcolm: Yes, ma'am. Understood. (to camera) If I give up now, I won't get the lecture.
      Lois: You kids...
      Malcolm: Dang.

    • Lois: There's nothing wrong with being smart. There's nothing wrong with being cut from the herd, either. It makes you the one buffalo who isn't there when the Indians run the rest of them off the cliff.
      Malcolm: Huh?

    • Malcolm: What do you do if he catches you?
      Dewey: Roll in a ball.
      Malcolm: What if he starts kicking you?
      Dewey: Stay in a ball.

    • Ms. Hogan: Malcolm may look like all of you, but he's different, very different. In his brain!

    • Lois: A teacher came home from school and she ran some tests with Malcolm. He has an IQ of 165.
      Hal: Who?
      Lois: Malcolm. He's a genius. He's going to a special class.
      Malcolm: What?
      Hal: Malcolm's special? Where do you think that came from?

    • Ms. Hogan: (to Malcolm, about his painting) Oh, Malcolm, this is wonderful. The perspective is good. The composition is clean, and it even shows signs of actual technique. I have to say this is the high point of my day. (laughs) How's that for sad?

    • Ms. Hogan: (to class) Those of you finished with your tempera paints may bring your work up here and start on your charcoal still lifes. You may take two pieces of fruit only and please be careful with them. I bought them with my own money. My own money.

    • Lois: Okay, okay, okay, okay. Okay, I ran out of ham. One of you has to have egg salad. And don't ditch your little brother. I don't want him getting kidnapped.
      Reese: (sarcastically) Yeah, Mom, that would be terrible.

    • Caroline: Now, you can look at this picture for 60 seconds and I want you to tell me everything that's wrong with it. Okay? (holds up picture)
      Malcolm: The man only has four fingers.
      Caroline: Right, but this time I want you to really take your time and look at...
      Malcolm: The car's shadow's going the wrong way, the steering wheel's on the wrong side, there's no brake pedal, the words in the mirror should be backwards, the man's watch wouldn't say twelve o'clock if he was looking at a sun set, and I have red paint on my ass. That's right - I have red paint all over my ass.

    • Caroline: I'm here because I think there is a tremendous opportunity for Malcolm. Could you maybe put a top on?
      Lois: They're just boobs, lady. You see 'em in the mirror every morning, and I'm sure yours are a lot nicer than mine.

    • Dewey: Mom, I don't take my legs for granted.
      Lois: I know honey, you're a good boy... stop playin' with yourself.

    • Malcolm: This is the world. 196 million square miles. If I covered 100 square miles every hour for the rest of my life, I'd only see half.
      (we see Reese's nose)
      Malcolm: And this is my brother Reese's left nostril. It squeaks... all night long.
      (we see Dewey's feet)
      Malcolm: And these are the feet of our little brother, Dewey.
      (we see a picture of Francis)
      Malcolm: This is my favorite bother, Francis. So, naturally, my parents sent him off to military school.
      (we see Malcolm)
      Malcolm: My name is Malcolm. You want to know the best part about childhood? At some point, it stops.

  • NOTES (15)

    • This episode won 2 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.

    • This episode was nominated for a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series.

    • This episode won a Eddie Award for Best Edited Half-Hour Series for Television.

    • Frankie Muniz will be receiving the "And" credit.

    • On the show, Reese is the second oldest brother of Malcolm, but in real life Reese (Justin Berfield) is less than three months younger than Malcolm (Frankie Muniz).

    • This episode has two different versions. One of them for the DVD and the other for the TV airing. The DVD is around 2-3 minutes longer than the TV airing. Also, during the scene where Lois is trimming Hal's back hair they are singing to a song. The song on the DVD they're singing "I believe in miracles" by Hot Chocolate and on TV they're singing to "It's your thing, do what you want to do."

    • The last name of the family has only once been revealed on the show. It is Wilkerson, as revealed in the pilot as the name tag Francis wears on his school uniform. There was also a joke that appeared in the original pilot script. In that script, Malcolm was walking to school when a neighborhood kid came running up shouting, "Malcolm, Malcolm, Malcolm. I was talking to my parents last night - I was listening to them talk, and what's your last name?" "Wilkerson, why?" Malcolm replied. "Oh. Who are the Pariahs?" said the other kid. The joke was eventually cut, and the show's writers subsequently decided never to reveal the family's last name, but it would seem they forgot about Francis's name tag.

    • Cold Open: Malcolm gives a brief description of his brothers and himself through the use of Reese's nostril, Dewey's feet, and a picture of Francis.

    • The whoosh and door slam effects which are a regular theme in this show during scene changes are different in this episode.

    • The theme song is different. It is the same tune, but it is slower than usual.

    • Featured Music:
      "Pencil Rain" by They Might Be Giants
      "Better Days" by Citizen King

    • This episode was reportedly watched by 23 million viewers.

    • Emmy Awards for this episode: Linwood Boomer - Writing for a comedy series; Todd Holland - Directing for a comedy series

    • Eraserhead appears in this episode in the 1st season DVD set.

    • This episode marks the first appearances of Malcolm, Lois, Hal, Francis, Reese, Dewey, Caroline, and Stevie.


    • Krelboyne: Name
      "Krelboyne", the name of the class of gifted students to which Malcolm belongs, is taken from the name of the nerdy hero of The Little Shop of Horrors.

    • Eraserhead: Name
      One of the Krelboynes (most likely the one that recites 50 digits of pi on account of the hair) is credited as Eraserhead. This is a reference to David Lynch's bizarre film, Eraserhead, whose main character has frizzy hair similar to the Krelboyne previously described.