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"Malcolm in the Middle" (2000) Fun Facts

John Bridges is a published author of history, and politics. His doctorate is in criminal justice. He is a fan of Malcolm in the Middle


Malcolm: Frankie Muniz

Malcolm was originally written to be nine years old, whereas Frankie Muniz was thirteen when the series first began filming. He even gave his mother a thumbs down as soon as he came out of the audition room. However, the producers were so enthralled by his performance that they decided to age Malcolm up to a middle schooler and give Muniz the part.

Muniz proved to be a natural actor. His character is the only one that speaks directly to the camera/audience. Malcolm is a genius but he is uncomfortable with his gift. For much of the show, he tries to hide his intelligence, which often makes his social interactions a bit awkward. He does not have many friends.

Malcolm's intellect proves to be more of a burden than a blessing. His family expects him to be able to find a solution to any problem that arises in their lives. Hal said he was the family's last hope and Lois believes Malcolm is the only one of her children with a chance of amounting to anything.

Malcolm does not always see his own moral failings, although he is quick to point out those of others and blame them for his situations. He is also the only one who seems to fully understand his family's level of dysfunction.

Muniz has suffered seven concussions in his life. In 2017, he disclosed that he suffers from severe memory loss. Due to his memory loss, he couldn't remember ever starring in the show. However, he stated that he started watching it as if it was new to him, and he says he loves it as a fan.


Hal: Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston auditioned for the role of Hal prior to the sets being built. He had the casting team in hysterics simply by the mannerisms he used when trying to smoke a pipe. All the other scheduled auditions were cancelled and Cranston was hired on the spot. All of his cast mates, on this show and later on Breaking Bad, commented on Cranston's professionalism, natural sense of humor, and support.

Cranston keeps himself very busy with acting, writing, producing, directing, and voice over work, often overlapping each other. He also likes to do his own stunts whenever possible. He taught himself to roller skate for one episode and even did his own cartwheel. The writers started up a game called "What will Bryan Cranston do?," which led to them writing in plots of him doing roller disco and other bizarre and increasingly dangerous stunts just to see if the actor would ever say no. Not only did he not object, he also kept pulling them off. This culminated in Bryan being covered in live bees in one episode.

Several cast members have commented that scenes involving Cranston take much longer than expected because the cast cannot stop laughing at his antics.

During much of the show, Hal is a very laid back father. He cares for his wife most of all, and he never seems to notice her faults. He is not fearful of her like the kids, but rather he is blinded by his love for her. Despite his love for his wife, he always tries to do right by each of his children and comfort them while not betraying her. He is also easily caught up in the moment and can be neglectful of what is going on around him, even when his kids are up to no good.


Lois: Jane Kaczmarek

On the show, Lois is a mother of five. Each birth has been shown on the show at some point, which is a lot of birth acting. Kaczmarek has three children in real life. Each of her real-life children was born through C-section, so Kaczmarek didn't have any natural birth experience. She watched scenes in movies and TV shows where women were giving birth and did her best to impersonate them.

Out of the main cast, Jane Kaczmarek was nominated for seven Emmy awards throughout the entire series' run, and she didn't win any of them. Her performance remains iconic to this day. To be fair to Kaczmarek, she was competing with some top tiered comedic actresses like Patricia Heaton, Jennifer Aniston, and Julia Louise Dreyfus, each of whom won the award.

Kaczmarek was allowed to keep all of Lois' clothes after the series ended. In an interview, she commented that she was watching the show one day and realized that she was wearing the same outfit as Lois was wearing in the show; this made her chuckle.

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Lois is a strong, often dominating entity. She does not shy away from conflict, nor does she let the possibility that she might be wrong come in the way of serving her special brand of justice. She loves her children but is constantly worn out by the bickering, arguing, and situations they find themselves in which impact the family as a whole. Her husband is the love of her life and is the only one that has a consistent ability to calm her.


Francis: Christopher Masterson

Christopher Masterson began his career when he was only eight. He has appeared on television, film, and on live stage. He currently works primarily as a DJ. He has five siblings; all of them work in the entertainment field either on-screen or behind the scenes.

Masterson played the oldest child, Francis, who was also the most rebellious. By the time he was three, he had trashed the palatial home that Lois and Hal once had. His defiance of authority lead to extreme difficulties for his parents, who eventually sent him off to military school with the hope that he would turn his life around. He is idolized by his younger siblings who often turn to him for help in dealing with their mom.

When Francis needs help, he usually turns to Malcolm, who either comes up with a genius plan or acts as a surrogate in manipulating his parents. His rebellion continues in the military academy but his target switches between his parents and the school commandant.

Francis was born with a desire for freedom and independence, and as soon as he turns 18, he emancipates himself and moves to Alaska. He soon realizes that real life is more difficult than he expected. He matures as he faces challenges to survive. When he has had his fill of abuse at the lumber camp, he moves again, this time with his new wife, and begins a new life on a dude ranch. The owners of the ranch are highly dysfunctional and appreciate both Francis and his help. Francis blossoms at the ranch, until his job ends abruptly.


Reese: Justin Berfield

Justin Berfield played the second oldest child, Reese. Berfield got his start in acting at the age of five when he appeared in a coffee commercial. His first break was in 1994 when he co-starred with Drew Carey in a short lived series called The Good Life. He then played the role of Ross Malloy in a show called Unhappily Ever After. Berfield's older brother, Lorne, is also an actor.

Today, Berfield works primarily behind the scenes as a Chief Creative Officer for a television and film production company. He is also involved in several charities.

Reese is arguably the least intelligent out of all the children on the show. He is a self-professed bully and never turns down a dare or a challenge from his brothers, as long as he makes a profit out of completing the tasks.

Reese struggles to find his place in the family and his lace in life. He tries a variety of jobs and pursuits, sometimes finding success and sometimes not. When he does find success, he has a tendency to sabotage himself.


Dewey: Erik Per Sullivan

Erik Per Sullivan played Dewey, the youngest child on the show for most of the series, until Jamie was born. He began his acting career at age seven with an uncredited role in the move Armageddon. He has appeared in many notable films such as Cider House Rules, Joe Dirt, and Finding Nemo.

Sullivan speaks fluent Swedish, plays the piano and saxophone, and has a black belt in Karate. He likes to travel, ski, and boogie board. He is involved in charity and helped Jane Kaczmerak write her book, titled Together.

Sullivan has mostly retired from entertainment. He lives a modest life and focuses much of his attention on his educational pursuits.

Dewey is the child most neglected by his parents who need to focus on the more vocal and aggressive actions of his brothers. He is often left behind or forgotten. While Francis considers Dewey his favorite brother, Malcolm and Reese torture their younger sibling mercilessly. As they grow older, Malcolm sometimes partners with Dewey to target Reese as well. One notable episode that featured Dewey's adventures was when the rest of the family went to a waterpark and left Dewey with a babysitter.

Originally, the babysitter, played by Bea Arthur, was supposed to kidnap Dewey and take him down south of the border to Mexico. She dyes his hair black and renames him Pepe. In the actual episode, his babysitter is taken away in an ambulance after suffering an assumed heart attack. Dewey is left to his own devices and wanders off following a red balloon.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Dr John Bridges

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