Malcolm in the Middle

Last updated

Malcolm in the Middle
MitM credits logo.jpg
Genre Sitcom
Created by Linwood Boomer
Starring
Theme music composer John Flansburgh
John Linnell
Opening theme"Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants
Ending theme"Boss of Me" (instrumental)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes151 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Camera setup Panavision; Single-camera
Running time21–23 minutes
Production companies
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Picture format720p (16:9 HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseJanuary 9, 2000 (2000-01-09) 
May 14, 2006 (2006-05-14)

Malcolm in the Middle is an American family television sitcom created by Linwood Boomer for Fox. The series premiered on January 9, 2000, and ended on May 14, 2006, after seven seasons and 151 episodes.

Contents

The series follows a dysfunctional working class family and stars Frankie Muniz in the lead role as Malcolm, an adolescent who tests at a genius level. While he enjoys his intelligence, he greatly resents having to take special classes for gifted children, which are mocked by the rest of the kids at school and called "Krelboynes", referring to the clumsy and nerdy lead character Seymour Krelboyne from Little Shop of Horrors . Jane Kaczmarek plays Malcolm's overbearing, hotheaded and stubborn mother, Lois, and Bryan Cranston plays his immature, manic, but loving father, Hal. Christopher Kennedy Masterson plays eldest brother, Francis, the trouble-making son who, in earlier episodes, was in military school, but eventually marries and settles into a steady job. Justin Berfield is Malcolm's dimwitted older brother, Reese, a cruel bully who tortures Malcolm at home, even while he defends him at school. Erik Per Sullivan plays younger brother, Dewey, who is people smart, musically talented, and concerned about his well-being. In earlier episodes, the show's focus was on Malcolm, but as the series progressed, it explored all six members of the family more. Another character, Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez), was introduced as the fifth son of Hal and Lois at the end of season four.

Malcolm in the Middle was produced by Satin City and Regency Television in association with Fox Television Studios (now known as Touchstone Television). The show has been syndicated worldwide.

The show received widespread critical acclaim from critics and proved an extremely popular draw for the network. Critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz named it the 50th greatest American Television series of all time in TV (The Book), and it was placed No. 88 on Entertainment Weekly 's "New TV Classics" list, [1] . Sepinwall additionally listed it as one of the 10 best shows in Fox network history. [2] It won a Peabody Award, seven Emmy Awards, one Grammy Award and seven Golden Globe nominations.

Premise

The series is about a boy named Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), who is revealed in the first episode to be a genius with an IQ of 165, which places him in a class for gifted students (also known as "Krelboynes"), originally taught by Caroline Miller (Catherine Lloyd Burns). He is the third-born child in a comically dysfunctional working-class family of four, and later, five boys, [3] [4] of Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) and Hal (Bryan Cranston). As of the first season, their delinquent oldest child, Francis (Christopher Kennedy Masterson), has been sent away to military school, while younger brothers Reese (Justin Berfield), Malcolm and Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) remain at home with their parents. With Francis away, Malcolm becomes the middle child of the family. In season four, the character Jamie (James and Lukas Rodriguez) was added to the show as the fifth son of Hal and Lois. The show's early seasons centered on Malcolm dealing with the rigors of being an intellectual and enduring the eccentricities of family life.

Later seasons expanded the show's scope by exploring the family's interactions with their extended family, friends and colleagues in more depth, including Lois's tyrannical mother (Cloris Leachman); Craig Feldspar (David Anthony Higgins), Lois's hapless coworker at the Lucky Aide drugstore; Malcolm's best friend Stevie Kenarban (Craig Lamar Traylor) (who is both a wheelchair user and highly asthmatic), and Stevie's dad Abe (Gary Anthony Williams); as well as a series of continuing subplots detailing Francis's misadventures at the military academy, from which he subsequently disenrolls to work in an Alaskan logging camp, before finally landing a job on a dude ranch run by an eccentric German couple.

The series differed significantly from the standard TV sitcom format/presentation commonplace at the time. Malcolm routinely broke the fourth wall by both narrating in voice-over and talking directly to the viewer on camera. The distinctive look and sound of the series relied heavily on elaborate post-production, including fast-cut editing, sound effects, musical inserts, the extensive use of locations, and the unusual camera styles, compositions and effects (e.g. overhead, tracking, hand-held and crane shots, and the frequent use of a wide-angle lens for both close-ups and ensemble scenes) that would be generally impractical or impossible to achieve in a standard studio-based video multi-camera sitcom production. [5] [6] The show employed neither a laugh track (which became a popularity in other TV sitcoms) nor a live studio audience. [7] [8] [9] Emulating the style of hour-long dramas, this half-hour show was shot on film instead of on video. [10]

Another distinctive aspect of the show is that the cold open of every episode is unrelated to the main story. Exceptions were episodes which were the conclusions of "two-parters"; each part two episode opened with a recap of its part one episode.

The family's surname is never mentioned directly in the series. Linwood Boomer's script for the pilot episode originally included the surname Wilkerson, but it was later removed because he did not want to put "any specific ethnic label on the characters". The surname appeared in early drafts of promotional material and also on Francis's Marlin Academy uniform in the pilot. In the last episode of the series, Francis drops his ID badge from his new office job, which lists his name as "Francis Nolastname". Also in the last episode, the principal announces Malcolm as the speaker, mouthing "Nolastname" as his voice is drowned out by microphone feedback. A publicist for Fox said that "officially the family's last name should be considered a mystery". [11]

Characters

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 16January 9, 2000 (2000-01-09)May 21, 2000 (2000-05-21)
2 25November 5, 2000 (2000-11-05)May 20, 2001 (2001-05-20)
3 22November 11, 2001 (2001-11-11)May 12, 2002 (2002-05-12)
4 22November 3, 2002 (2002-11-03)May 18, 2003 (2003-05-18)
5 22November 2, 2003 (2003-11-02)May 23, 2004 (2004-05-23)
6 22November 7, 2004 (2004-11-07)May 15, 2005 (2005-05-15)
7 22September 30, 2005 (2005-09-30)May 14, 2006 (2006-05-14)

Production

Development

The pilot was initially developed for UPN with Regency Television for the 1998-99 television season but when UPN's enthusiasm for the project waned, Gail Berman managed to rescue the pilot by bringing the project to Fox. [27] The show was then moved to the 1999-2000 cycle where it was picked up by Fox. [28]

Opening title

The show's opening title features short clips from cult films or television shows, edited together with clips from the pilot and early episodes of the show, set to the song "Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants.

Filming

The house at 12334 Cantura Street as it appeared in 2009. Malcolm in the Middle (maison de tournage) par Lunon.JPG
The house at 12334 Cantura Street as it appeared in 2009.

Much of the filming for Malcolm in the Middle was done on location [29] in various parts of the thirty-mile zone around Los Angeles. A privately owned home, located at 12334 Cantura Street in Studio City, California, was rented for upwards of $3,000 a day to film as Malcolm's house. [30] Rebuilt in 2011, the property is no longer recognizable due to its modern two-floor design. [31] However, the house directly to the left of it is nearly identical to what it looked like during filming, still making it a frequent stop for fans of the show. School scenes were filmed at Colfax Charter Elementary School, [32] in North Hollywood, and the Lucky Aide was represented by a Drug Emporium at 6020 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. In "Stock Car Races," when Hal and the boys are entering a race track, the billboard behind the entrance displays the place as Irwindale Speedway, a real race track in Southern California. The last episode in the first season ("Water Park") was filmed at a water park called Wild Rivers (now closed as of 2011) located in Irvine, California. Though palm trees and desert scenery are seen in shots of the local region and town throughout the show, indicating a location in the Western United States, it is never revealed which state the show is set in (except for Francis's whereabouts in early seasons, such as his military school in Alabama and his job in Alaska).

Studio filming for Malcolm in the Middle took place on Stage 21 at CBS Studio Center in Studio City. [33]

Hallmarks of the series' filming and structure, many of which heavily influenced later programs, included the following:

During the final two seasons, Christopher Masterson reduced his on-screen time in favor of writing and directing some episodes.

Music

The show's theme song, "Boss of Me", was written and recorded by the alternative rock group They Might Be Giants. [34] The song won the "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media" award at the 2002 Grammy Awards. [35] The band also performed nearly all of the incidental music for the show in its first two seasons. [36]

Mood setting music is sprinkled throughout the series, in lieu of audience laughter, in a way that resembles feature film more than other TV sitcoms. Some examples of this highly varied music include ABBA, Basement Jaxx, Sum 41, Kenny Rogers, Lemon Jelly, Lords of Acid, The Getaway People, En Vogue, Electric Light Orchestra, Fatboy Slim, Phil Collins, Claude Debussy, Tears for Fears, Quiet Riot, Queen, and Citizen King, whose song "Better Days" is played at the end of both the pilot episode and the series finale. The Southern California pop-punk band Lit have many of their songs featured in several episodes. Lit songs that were never released as singles were also used.

A soundtrack, Music from Malcolm in the Middle , was released on November 21, 2000. [37]

Broadcast and syndication

The show entered barter syndication in the fall of 2004 one month before the sixth season premiered on Fox and was later aired on FX in the fall of 2007 until the fall of 2011. [38]

The show was launched on Nick at Nite on July 5, 2009 at 8:00 pm with an all night marathon. [39] However, the episodes were either banned or heavily edited due to content that was too strong for the network's standards. When Nick at Nite pulled Malcolm it began airing on TeenNick [40] from November 26, 2010 and continued until December 2010. The show returned to TeenNick's line-up on July 18, 2011.

On September 26, 2011, Malcolm in the Middle began airing on IFC. [41] On March 5, 2018, the series began airing on Fuse.

On April 11, 2019, it was originally revealed that the show will be available on Disney+, [42] Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming service, at launch on November 12, 2019. However, the show was not available on launch day for unknown reasons. [43] In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney sent a survey out to Disney+ consumers asking if they would like content on the site such as Malcolm in the Middle and other "mature" shows such as Firefly , Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Modern Family . [44]

In the United Kingdom, the series originally aired on Sky1 from September 3, 2000, later also airing on Sky2 and Sky3 before finally leaving all Sky channels in December 2010. It also aired on free-to-air BBC Two from April 6, 2001 to March 7, 2009. From January 3, 2011, it aired on Fiver (now 5*) at 6:00 pm and again at about 7:30 pm, later moving to a weekly slot at 3:15pm on Saturday afternoons. Repeats continued until January 18, 2014. Comedy Central UK and Ireland picked up the show in November 2015 and aired until 2018. Nickelodeon UK also began showing the series in 2018. 4Music started showing two episodes daily at 5.00pm, from 6 July 2020.

Home media

Only the first season of Malcolm in the Middle has been released on DVD in the U.S. Season two was set to be released in the fall of 2003, but was cancelled due to high costs of music clearances. [45]

DVD name Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 French release dateEp ## of discsExtras and notes
The Complete First SeasonOctober 29, 2002September 24, 2012 [46] September 4, 2013 [47] March 4, 2014 [48] 163Extended pilot episode, A Stroke of Genius featurette, commentary on select episodes, gag reel, deleted scenes, alternate show openings, bloopers, Dewey's Day Job featurette.
The Complete Second SeasonN/ANovember 19, 2012 [49] September 4, 2013 [50] April 8, 2014254Still Gallery
The Complete Third SeasonFebruary 4, 2013 [51] September 4, 2013 [52] 223A Still Gallery is listed but is absent from the actual DVDs
The Complete Fourth SeasonMarch 4, 2013 [53] September 4, 2013 [54] 223A Still Gallery is listed but is absent from the actual DVDs
The Complete Fifth SeasonApril 29, 2013 [55] September 4, 2013 [56] 223
The Complete Sixth SeasonMay 27, 2013 [57] September 4, 2013 [58] 223
The Complete Seventh SeasonOctober 7, 2013 [59] September 4, 2013 [60] 223
The Complete Collection Box Set



The Complete series Blu-Ray

October 17, 2013 [61]



September 13, 2019

September 4, 2013 [62] 15122Extended pilot episode, A Stroke of Genius featurette, commentary on select episodes, gag reel, deleted scenes, alternate show openings, bloopers, Dewey's Day Job featurette, Season 2 Still Gallery.

In February 2012, it was announced that Fabulous Films would be releasing the first season of the show in the UK in April, as well as releasing each subsequent season the following month, ending with a complete series set near Christmas 2012. [63] However, in late March 2012, several retailers had removed the release date from their websites; this was later revealed to be because of "technical issues with the Masters" and that the release date had been pushed back to June. [64] Other seasons will now follow on either a monthly or bi-monthly basis. [65]

All the UK DVD releases are intact as originally aired with no cuts, with the original music, with the exception of one season three episode "Company Picnic" which was originally aired as a one-hour special, before being re-edited and split into two parts for syndication. The DVD presents the syndicated version.

All seven seasons as well as the complete series set were released in Australia in September 2013. The complete series set altered the separate seven season sets to fit into four volumes. A collector's edition boxset which has the seasons split up instead of volumes was released subsequently in 2014. It features everything from the four-volume set and includes a bonus T-shirt. This set is exclusive to Australia. [62]

In May 2019, Turbine Medien announced the first ever Blu-ray release of the complete series in Germany, due to be released in September 2019. The release however, will be on Standard Definition, in similar fashion to the PAL DVD releases. [66]

Legacy

The show is often regarded as influential by being a family sitcom that did not feature a laugh track or be filmed in front of a live studio audience, in addition to being praised for its single-camera filming style which would later be used in The Office , Everybody Hates Chris , 30 Rock , and Arrested Development . [67] [68]

The series has been parodied on Family Guy multiple times.

In the 2017 film The Disaster Artist , Bryan Cranston appeared as himself, offering one of the protagonists a guest role on an episode of Malcolm in the Middle. [69]

The series served as inspiration for episode 6 of the Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe television miniseries WandaVision , and the intro of WandaVision show in show also parodies Malcolm in the Middle. [70] [71] In episode 8 of the series, a DVD box of the first season can be seen among ones of other shows. Later in that same episode, the main characters are watching season seven's second episode "Health Insurance". [72]

Reception

Season one holds a Metacritic score of 88 out of 100, based on 26 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". [73]

Ratings

The show started off with ratings of 23 million for the debut episode, [27] and 26 million for the second episode. [74]

Fox shuffled the show's air time repeatedly to make room for other shows. On January 13, 2006, Fox announced that the show would be moving to 7:00 pm on Sundays effective January 29, 2006. [75] The 151st and final episode aired at 8:30 pm ET/PT (the show's original timeslot) on May 14, 2006. [76] The finale was watched by 7.4 million. [77]

SeasonSeason premiereSeason finaleTV seasonTimeslotRankingViewers
(in millions)
1January 9, 2000May 21, 2000 1999–2000 Sundays at 8:30#18 [78] 15.2 [78]
2November 5, 2000May 20, 2001 2000–01 #22 [79] 14.5 [79]
3November 11, 2001May 12, 2002 2001–02 #25 [80] 13.0 [80]
4November 3, 2002May 18, 2003 2002–03 Sundays at 9:00#43 [81] 10.7 [81]
5November 2, 2003May 23, 2004 2003–04 #71 [82] 8.4 [82]
6November 7, 2004May 15, 2005 2004–05 Sundays at 7:30#99 [83] 5.6 [83]
7September 30, 2005May 14, 2006 2005–06 Fridays at 8:30 (Episodes 1–11)
Sundays at 7:00 (Episodes 12–22)
#127 [84] 3.8 [84]

Awards and nominations

Jane Kaczmarek and Cloris Leachman were nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award every year they appeared on the show, as leading and guest actress, respectively. [85] [86] Leachman won in 2002 and 2006. [86] Frankie Muniz was nominated once for lead actor, and Bryan Cranston three times for supporting actor. The show won a total of 7 Emmys during its six-year run [87] and a Peabody Award. [88] Kaczmarek was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, Muniz was nominated twice, and Cranston was nominated once.

Adaptation

Russian channel STS made a shot-for-shot adaptation called Супер Макс (Super Max) that comprises 1 season so far. [89]

Notes

  1. ^ On current international prints, Fox Television Studios logo is plastered with the 2008 20th Century Fox Television logo.
  2. ^ A Malcom In The Middle VHS tape can be seen briefly in the popular show WandaVision.

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<i>Malcolm in the Middle</i> (season 1) Season of television series

The first season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on January 9, 2000 on Fox Broadcasting Company, and ended on May 21, 2000 with a total of sixteen episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan and Catherine Lloyd Burns.

<i>Malcolm in the Middle</i> (season 2) Season of television series

The second season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on November 5, 2000 on Fox, and ended on May 20, 2001 with a total of 25 episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan.

<i>Malcolm in the Middle</i> (season 3) Season of television series

The third season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on November 11, 2001 on Fox, and ended on May 12, 2002 with a total of 22 episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan.

<i>Malcolm in the Middle</i> (season 5) Season of television series

The fifth season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on November 2, 2003 on Fox, and ended on May 23, 2004 with a total of 22 episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan.

<i>Malcolm in the Middle</i> (season 6) Season of television series

The sixth season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on November 7, 2004 on Fox, and ended on May 15, 2005 with a total of 22 episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan.

<i>Malcolm in the Middle</i> (season 7) Season of television series

The seventh and final season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on September 30, 2005 on Fox, and ended on May 14, 2006 with a total of 22 episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan.

<i>Malcolm in the Middle</i> (season 4) Season of television series

The fourth season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on November 3, 2002 on Fox, and ended on May 18, 2003 with a total of 22 episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan.

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Preceded by
Survivor: The Australian Outback
2001
Malcolm in the Middle
Super Bowl lead-out program
2002
Succeeded by
Alias
2003