Malcolm in the Middle

Season 1 Episode 2

Red Dress

Aired Sunday 8:30 PM Jan 16, 2000 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
133 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Red Dress
A battle of wits and wills ensues between the boys and their angry mom, who wants to find out who ruined her expensive new red dress -- found partially burned and soaking in the toilet. It's Hal and Lois's wedding anniversary (hence the dress); and while the boys fend off their mother, with the long-distance assistance of Francis, a lonely and increasingly sozzled Hal bonds with the staff of the restaurant where he booked a table for the big night. Lois finally achieves an epiphany on the phone with Francis, who convinces her to for once "let something go". After she leaves for the restaurant, with the boys in tow, Hal arrives home to an empty house -- and we learn the truth about what happened to the red dress.moreless

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  • Who Ruined the Dress?

    Lois discovers that a dress she was going to wear for a date with Hal is ruined, and she spends the whole night trying to figure out which boy did it. Malcolm, Dewey, and Reese use Francis to tell them what to do so none of them eventually crack.

    It wasn't the best episode, before I saw it and I read a recap of it that didn't say who did it, I was positive it was Hal. And making the episode all about the dress wasn't the most creative idea, but the overall plot had some pretty good parts and was kinda funny at timesmoreless
  • Okay episode.

    For the record, I thought this was an overrated episode. It was okay and averge, but I don't think it should be rated any higher than 8. The comedy was actually pretty predictable and not even that funny at all. I thought that the writers were trying to hard in this one and it seemed a bit forced. With that said, there were a few things that entertained me. I liked the fact that the brothers stayed tough to the end and didn't give in to control freak Lois. I also liked the part where Hal eats dinner with the bathroom guy. Thank you.moreless
  • Klassic!

    Wow, just, wow. This episode might be one of the best of the series!

    The jokes were cla$$ic, the plot was clas-sic, and it got kind of suspensful at the near-end when Frncis (On the phone) is like, "Wait, whats that?" Malcolm's like, "What?" Francis then says, "I hear. . . breathing." Then you see Lois' mouth, and she starts to smile. That was cleveryly plotted.

    Dewey was very funny in this episode, as was Reese and Malcolm. "She'll pretend to be on you side." Alsom the opening was hilarious, Lois was like, "Somethings wrong." Then, she looks around for a while and says, "Hm, guess nothing's wrong." Then, she closes the door and we see Dewey taped to it. I was laughing, and I started laughing more when DEWEY said, "That was a close on!"

    10 out of 10, a perfect score for me.moreless
  • Hilarious!

    It's Lois and Hal's anniversary! When Lois finds her red dress, burnt and in the toilet, she suspects that either Reese, Malcolm, or Dewey did it. She really pushes them to the limit to get one of them to admit who did it. Malcolm calls Francis and he helps them through everything. Lois completely forgets about meeting Hal for dinner and Hal is left alone with the bathroom attendant, but they have a fun time! It turns out that Hal was the one who did it, not any of the boys.

    This was a great episode! It was absolutely hilarious! I loved it! This episode gets a 10 out of 10!moreless
  • Uh-oh, who burned the red dress?

    Lois is going to a wedding with a fancy dress, and everything will be perfect, right? Wrong. I was suprised to find out what actually happened to the dress. This episode is a perfect example of how cruel and unusual Lois' punishments are. I like the part when they have to listen to that horrible "Nice is good, mean is bad" song, and then they dance to it. LOL. After hours of trying to get a confession from the boys, Lois finally stops the punishments, and at the end, we see Hal trying to smoke a pipe. Turns out he was the culprit all along. This is definitely one of the better, younger episodes.moreless
Joel McCrary

Joel McCrary

Bathroom Attendant

Guest Star

Adam Hendershott

Adam Hendershott

Cadet #2

Guest Star

Robert Cesario

Robert Cesario

Maitre d'

Guest Star

Karim Prince

Karim Prince


Recurring Role

David Anthony Higgins

David Anthony Higgins


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • As Lois is walking down the hall holding the dress, you can see a man with a bucket pull back out of the shot to the left of the screen, having just given Lois the sodden dress.

    • If Hal was the one who ruined Lois's dress, how come it never crossed anyone's mind? The boys tried to prove Lois is wrong on thinking they did it when they were really innocent the entire time.

    • Apparently, Hal still secretly smokes, though, in a future episode, so does Lois, although they both promised to quit.

    • Wasn't Francis supposed to know when his parents' anniversary is, since he was born during their wedding? (His birthday is at the exact date).

    • Even though they band together to save the TV set, it was still too hard for Malcolm, Dewey, and Reese to carry the TV set, hide it, and run right back that fast because the set is too heavy, even for the boys to carry it.

    • This is the first time we go inside Lois' workplace – Lucky Aide.

    • The children songs the boys forcefully have to listen to seems to be inspired by Raffi.

    • "Red Dress" (and also "Sleepover") are the two episodes that have mentioned the grandmother before airing "Grandparents," which is the first appearance of Grandma Ida.

  • QUOTES (24)

    • Reese: Oh No!
      Dewey : Why does she have to Ruin Everything I Love!
      Malcolm: Francis I'm gonna tell her I did it. I Know I didn't do it but anything is better than this!
      Francis: (shows under the phone to the cadets and they're disgusted) Malcolm you can't to quit now she will own you for the rest of your life here's what you need to do.
      Lois: (arrives into their room and catches them singing and dancing to the song and walks out)
      Reese: Did You See That?!
      Dewey: Hooray!
      Malcolm: Francis is A Genius! c'mon sing Louder!
      All: nice is good mean is bad don't be mean cause
      Lois : (Lois returns with a video camera) Aww isn't that cute? How your Grandmother and all your friends are just gonna love this at your next birthday party.

    • Lois: I didn't send you up there so you could undermine my authority!
      Francis: Why did you send me up here?
      Lois: Well, it wasn't so you could undermine my authority!

    • Dewey: Why does she have to ruin everything I love?!

    • (Lois coming out with her charred red dress)
      Lois: Fire? Fire?! Fire?!!
      Malcolm: Mom, what--?!
      Lois: This is the most stupid, irresponsible, dangerous thing you have ever done! Is this what you want?! Will we have to identify your charred little bodies through their dental records?! I want a straight answer! Who did this?!
      Reese: Malcolm did it!
      Malcolm: Reese did it!
      Reese: I didn't do it!
      Malcolm: I didn't do it!
      Dewey: (quietly): We're going to the dentist?

    • Lois: (angrily) I cannot talk to you right now. You make me so mad, sometimes I just wanna break your neck! (pause) Did you get the cookies I sent you.
      Francis: (smiling) Yeah, they were great.

    • Stanley: Did they crack?
      Francis: No, Dewey faked a stomach cramp. Bought them some time.
      Stanley: Good man.
      Cadet 1: Man, if we had your Mom in 'Nam, there would be a McDonald's at Hanoi Square right now.
      Cadet 2: Dude, there is a McDonald's at Hanoi Square.
      Cadet 1: (pause) All right.
      (the cadets bump fists)

    • (on the phone to Malcolm)
      Francis: You have to stay together. You have to stay united.
      Stanley: United against who?
      Francis: (to Stanley) My mom.
      Stanley: Nice.

    • (Lois has the boys pressed against a corner)
      Malcolm: You tell her!
      Reese: You tell her!
      Lois: Who?
      (Malcolm and Reese start arguing)
      Lois: Okay, okay. Closer to the wall. (pushes them closer)
      Malcolm: Wait. Mom. Seriously, it reeks over here.
      Dewey: I can't help it.

    • Malcolm: (to camera) The good thing about being smart is I never have to look up any phone numbers. The bad thing is, no one else in the family ever bothers to remember anything.

    • Reese: Come on, we could get out of this. You have to use that brain of yours, think. Think! (grabs Malcolm's shirt)
      Malcolm (to the camera): All I could think about is how hard he's twisting my nipples. (to Reese) OW!

    • Francis: Wait, a minute. Did you hear breathing?
      Malcolm: What?
      Francis (pauses): Mom?
      (both Malcolm and Francis realize that Lois is on the other line; all the cadets break out)
      Lois: Malcolm, would you hang up the phone, please?
      Francis: Hi, Mom. Happy Anniversary!

    • Francis: They saved the TV!!
      (everyone cheers)

    • Lois: (sees the TV gone and the boys panting) In your room. (demonic voice) NOW!!!

    • Lois: (sits with Malcolm on the dinner table while she hands him a can) Go ahead. It's a name brand. (opens the can, then Malcolm drinks it) I know you didn't do this. You're a good boy. But I want you to help me with this.
      (background music changes)
      Lois: This is serious. One of your brothers could've burned the house down.
      (shows Reese, but at a different time)
      Lois: And for that he will be severely punished. But the one who helps me will be a happy, little boy.
      (shows Dewey, also at a different time)
      Lois: And I want that to be you.
      (back to Malcolm)
      Lois: Because you always been the best one.
      (back to Reese)
      Lois: You always been the best one.
      (back to Dewey)
      Lois: You have always been the best one.
      Malcolm: Mom, honestly, I don't know.
      Reese: (different time) I don't know.
      Dewey: (different time) Don't know.

    • Lois: The last thing I need is a bunch of social workers and reporters tearing up the front lawn.

    • Hal: We have a saying in the family. If it's an hour, eat without her. If it's any longer, something's wronger.

    • Malcolm: (about Lois) Either she screwed up or we're getting better.

    • (the boys are wrapping the anniversary present)
      Dewey: I get to do the bow!
      Reese: There. All done. (reaches over and grabs the bow out of Dewey's hand and places it on the present)
      Dewey: I wanted to do the bow!
      Reese: You should've said something.

    • Ed: Hi, Lois.
      Lois: Look, Ed, uh, it's 9:00. I'm a little busy right now.
      Ed: Well, you see, there is the problem. It's 9:00 at night and I keep hearing screaming. Now, this didn't sound like your normal screaming. It was more like killing screaming. I'm not one to complain...
      Lois: That's why we like you. (shuts door)

    • Lois: (opens Craig's gift) Oh, look at... I've been meaning to try this color.
      Craig: I know. I saw you eyeing it a couple weeks ago.
      Lois: I didn't know we carried this brand.
      Craig: We don't.
      Lois: So, where did you see me... ?
      Craig: So, uh, big plans for tonight? What are you going to be wearing? (laughs)

    • Craig: Happy anniversary. (gives her gift) 16 wonderful years to the same man. That Hal is one lucky hombre.
      Lois: Craig, you shouldn't have.
      Craig: Oh, please. A special gift for a special lady on a special day.
      Lois: No. I mean, really, you shouldn't have. Aren't only husbands supposed to give gifts?
      Craig: Fine. Throw it in the trash, then!

    • Malcolm: (on the phone, to Francis) Hey, Francis, you told me to remind you about Mom and Dad's anniversary.
      Francis: Ah, great, when is it?
      Malcolm: Today.
      Francis: Dude, you're supposed to remind me before so that I can get them something.
      Malcolm: That's okay. We'll put your name on their gift.
      Francis: Cool. Thanks. I owe you one.
      Malcolm: No. You owe me $20. That's what your share comes to.
      Francis: You got them an $80 gift?
      Malcolm: Uh... yeah.

    • Reese: Hey, what am I thinking right now?
      Malcolm: I'm smart, I'm not a psychic.
      Dewey: Can you understand what dogs are saying?
      Malcolm: No.
      Dewey: I can.

    • Malcolm: I swear to God! On paper, this was a brilliant idea!

  • NOTES (4)

    • The theme song during this episode actually matches the actors names with their face, unlike all other episodes where they show anime / old movie clips and some scenes of the family. The theme song also had the end credits tune.

    • Catherine Lloyd Burns (Caroline) doesn't appear in this episode.

    • Cold Open: Lois suspects the boys are up to something, and prys as hard as possible to find out, but can't figure out that Dewey is tied to the back of the door.

    • This episode marked the first appearances of Stanley (Karim Prince), Craig (David Anthony Higgins), and Cadet Drew (Drew Powell).


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