A gifted and smart young man tries to navigate life, puberty, and love while trying to survive his often dimwitted, dysfunctional family.
Hal, Lois, Malcolm and Reese are trapped in a horrendous traffic jam. Francis enters himself in a bet that recalls the egg-eating wager in "Cool Hand Luke." Malcolm becomes smitten over a girl he meets. Dewey has his own little adventure--all over the world--before his family returns home.
Francis visits the week after Halloween and helps his brothers in a trick that involves a giant slingshot with icky ammo. Hal tries to catch a mysterious hot-rodder.
Crummy gifts rile birthday gal Lois, who suddenly splits from home, leaving confusion, anxiety and desperation in her wake.
Shenanigans abound at the fancy spot where the family's dining with the Kenarbans, and at Francis' school, where rowdy teenage girls are partying.
A family weekend vacation to a casino turns into an ordeal in the desert for Hal, Reese and Malcolm, who wander onto an artillery range. Francis sneaks home, but has no one to play with.
While Hal and Lois wreak havoc out of town, the boys are almost angelic at home-- thanks to the care of a sexy babysitter.
Gun-wielding robbers menace Lois and Craig at the Lucky Aide Store, while swarming bats beset Hal and the boys at home.
Malcolm's humiliation as a Krelboyne drives him crazy, so he fakes his way into seeing the school's shrink, with whom the con continues.
Malcolm gets a role in the high school play and is so captivated by high school gossip that he forgets his lines. Lois discovers the joys of massage. Hal and Dewey build a society of model buildings in the living room. Francis tries to show his individualism at school when the commandant cracks down on personal belongings.
Reese is suddenly the school hero when he joins the wrestling team, but after he gets thrashed by a girl wrestler, he misses that feeling of pride. He decides to give up being the school bully and instead tries to do many misguided good deeds. The school kids are excited to be out from under the reign of Reese, but Malcolm soon learns that not everyone appreciates his sarcastic comments all the time, and now that his brother is no longer there to protect him, everyone wants to beat up Malcolm because he hurt their feelings. Just as Reese is about to join a feel-good cult, the Krelboynes beg him to regain his crown as school bully because lots of little bullies are causing anarchy. Francis, scared of the school tradition of having every hair shaved from his body on his birthday, begs his parents to fly him home, but they can't afford it. Finally, he thinks he has an out when he injures his hand and the nurse takes pity on him and invites him over to her apartment for birthday cake. Lois
Dewey starts carrying a purse to school. Francis's friend Richie joins him at military school. Malcolm becomes a slave to an old woman in the neighborhood.
There's a new girl in the Krelboyne class. Malcolm learns that his dull pencils were part of an elaborate yet unknown hazing. Cynthia is a fresh recruit from New York, and she earns Malcolm's affections with wit and Israeli ass whoopin' moves. But she's weird; she picks earwax while flirting. Of course, Malcolm throws bricks through windows, so they're a match. Meanwhile Dewey is wearing a home made hazmat suit killing all the home's scary germs, because he doesn't want to lose his eyes. And, Francis, he hasn't done anything worse than usual, but Hal lies for him. Hal feels guilty. Francis must pay. One hopes this means Francis will get over his mother, his future therapist has to catch some kind of break.
Malcolm's family tries to become friendly with their new neighbours with the pool, but end up with new enemies instead. Neighbour boy Josh convinces Dewey that the lawn gnome wants to eat him, and spreads vicious lies about Malcolm that have the police coming to visit. Young daughter Emily likes to bite Reese every chance she can get, and Reese can't fight back because she's just a four-year-old girl. Lois takes an immediate dislike to Tina, the mother of the family, who refuses to admit that Emily has a biting problem and treats her Hispanic gardener like dirt. Only Hal bonds with new neighbour father Mike, but they have to carry on their friendship in secret. Malcolm enlists Reese's help in smearing Josh's name the way Josh did his. In the process of planting evidence under Josh's window they bust and draw attention to Tina having an affair, in the pool, with her gardener. The new neighbours move out. Commandant Spangler works his cadets hard to prepare for his hero, Oliver North's,
Malcolm becomes concerned with his future and his career. He takes an aptitude test, which doesn't help because he finds out that he is equally excellently qualified to do anything. Hal, after having a bad time at Dewey's class career day, quits his job and decides to paint. His family is amazed at the transformation: suddenly he's happy and more attentive to both his sons and his wife. However, he soon becomes obsessed and spends twenty-four hours a day painting, even stealing money from Francis for more paint. He becomes more and more frustrated until he's ready to give up, but Lois pushes him and he finishes his masterpiece... only to have the five hundred gallons of paint he slapped up fall down on his head. Francis gets a job over spring break at Lucky Aide, where Lois works, and loses his mind working for Craig in inventory.
Lois's nightmare parents, Victor and Ida, come for a surprise visit and throw the family into turmoil not only with their mere presence, but by promising to pay for a much-needed refrigerator and then reneging after Lois and Hal spend money they don't have. Lois and Hal are forced to ask Ida and Victor to stay longer to help take care of the kids while they work some crazy overtime. Victor treats Reese like a king while Ida tortures Malcolm for being a smart wimp. Victor gives Reese a live grenade, and when Reese inevitably arms it, Malcolm's quick thinking blows up the new refrigerator instead of the whole house. Hal extorts money out of Lois's parents to pay for the damage. Francis motivates his fellow cadets to break out for a weekend and go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but then spend the entire time there suffering from eating bad sushi.
Lois gets a traffic ticket and immediately blames Francis and makes him get the money to her. To do this, Francis stages a stunt for the other cadets' amusement. Malcolm finds evidence that Lois was wrong about the traffic ticket.
A hospital stay unsettles Malcolm, who's stuck in a kids ward with what may be appendicitis. Meanwhile, at military school, Francis leads a hunger strike.
A cooking class energizes Reese; a planned party irks Malcolm, whose brutal honesty hurts the hostess, Krelboyne Cynthia.
Malcolm and the Krelboynes tutor Reese, and uncover the real reason behind his failing grades.
Malcolm and Reese (Frankie Muniz, Justin Berfield) go to a bowling party where they vie for the attention of a cute girl. With Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston and Erik Per Sullivan.
Francis has an extra ticket for a wrestling event and it is the prize pitting Malcolm vs. Reese in a one-upmanship war; caring for Craig's cat is troublesome for Dewey.
Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) forbids the boys to ride a motorbike they found, but Reese (Justin Berfield) disobeys and breaks a leg.
Malcolm, Dewey, Stevie, and Reese hide out at a traveling carnival after hours and run afoul of a determined security guard and several members of the freak show.
Malcolm's family and scores of others are forced to relocate to a school gym because of a toxic-chemical spill caused by a derailed train. Seems it ran over an old couch that fell off Hal's car on his way to the dump. Amid the chaos, resourcefulness pays off for Dewey, who enlists sympathy by pretending his parents were killed in an enveloping chemical cloud; and for Reese, who schemes to make money off the calamity. As the rascal puts it, "When people are miserable and suffering, it brings out the best in me."
This freewheeling close to the series' second season recalls the tumultuous births and early years of the four rambunctious sons of Lois (and Hal. At the outset, Lois tells her hubby that she might be pregnant again. "We're not ready for this," ruffled Hal replies. "When have we ever been ready?" Lois snaps back. She's right. Take, for example, a flashback to the couple's wedding: an 11-hour ceremony during which a very pregnant Lois goes into labor. And then there's the birth of the obstreperous Reese, for which the delivering doctor isn't ready. "My God!" the physician exclaims. "He kicked me in the nose!"