Characters of Malcolm in the Middle

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The cast of Malcolm in the Middle as of season 5, (from behind, left to right): Christopher Kennedy Masterson as Francis, Frankie Muniz as Malcolm, Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey, and Justin Berfield as Reese. (In front, left to right) Jane Kaczmarek as Lois and Bryan Cranston as Hal.

The following characters had significant roles in the American television comedy series Malcolm in the Middle, which was originally televised from 2000–2006 on the Fox Network.

Main characters[edit]

Originally there were four brothers (although Malcolm's oldest brother attended a military school away from home, so Malcolm was still the middle sibling left at home). A fifth son was introduced in the show's fourth season, a boy named Jamie. The boys are, from eldest to youngest: Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie. In the final episode, Lois discovered she was pregnant with a sixth child. In the third season, Francis travels home (to celebrate his father's birthday) with an Alaskan girl named Piama, and reveals that they are married.

During the first season, the writers decided to keep the family's last name a mystery. In the fifth season episode "Reese Joins the Army (1)", Reese uses a fake ID by the name of "Jetson" to lie about his age. In the series finale, "Graduation", Francis' employee ID reads "Nolastname" (or "No Last Name", a joke referring to the fact that the family name was never spoken aloud). In the same episode when Malcolm was introduced to give the graduation speech, the speaker announces Malcolm's name, but microphone feedback makes his surname inaudible, even though he does appear to mouth the phrase "No last name".[1]

In the pilot episode, the name Wilkerson can be seen on the name badge of the uniform Francis is wearing at Marlin Academy. In the sleeve notes for the season 5 DVD released in Europe, the family is referred to as the Wilkersons in the description for the episode "Block Party". British television advertisements and some Fox promotional material also occasionally referred to the family as the Wilkersons, although this name was never spoken aloud in the series. In an early version of the pilot, Malcolm had an exchange of dialogue with a classmate, who claims to have overheard his parents talking about Malcolm's family and asks him what his last name is. When Malcolm responds, "Wilkerson, why?" the friend replied with the punchline, "Oh...who are the 'Pariahs'?"

Malcolm[edit]

Malcolm, portrayed by Frankie Muniz (150 episodes, all but "Clip Show 2" in season 4), is the protagonist of the series. He is five years younger than his oldest brother Francis, two years younger than his older brother Reese, four years older than his younger brother Dewey, and about 15 years older than his youngest brother Jamie. In the first episode of the series, he is discovered to be a child prodigy and immediately moved from his regular class into the 'Krelboynes', a class for gifted students. Despite his high intelligence, he still gets into mischief either alongside or working against his brothers (in particular, Reese), although he becomes more self-absorbed and egotistical in the later seasons as he goes through puberty. Malcolm, like Reese, is not very popular. However, he has had a number of girlfriends during the series run. Even though he is very intelligent, Malcolm has a short temper, can be easily manipulated and also has problems containing his opinion about himself. Malcolm also occasionally serves as the voice of reason, and does have a conscience, (for instance, despite emotionally manipulating a grieving Hal to buy him a car in the episode "Hal Grieves," when the time comes to make the purchase he finds he can't go through with it). In the series finale, it is revealed that Lois intended him to have a hard life, knowing that he is destined to assume the role of President of the United States; she wants him to remember where he came from to get there and try to help families like his own when he assumes the office. Malcolm eventually comes to terms with his future, after being unable to tell Lois he can't do it. In the series finale, Malcolm begins taking classes at Harvard University.

Lois[edit]

Lois, played by Jane Kaczmarek (147 episodes), is Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie's mother. She is an overbearing control freak despised by the neighbors to the point that they refuse to invite her to their gatherings, revealed in "Mono". Unlike Malcolm, Lois isn't bothered by it and tries her best to blend in with it. She was revealed to be a charming and a nurturing mother while Francis was little, but toughened up. She is also always stubbornly right, to the point of being unable to say that she was wrong. It was also shown that she is overbearing and mad as a result of her children's bad behavior, and not her pure hate. At the series finale, Lois is revealed to be pregnant with a sixth child. Her unfairness and behavior also come from her miserable childhood, living with a tough mother and an uncaring father. She also has a younger sister, Susan, who was the popular one and lead a successful life unlike Lois, and Hal almost married Susan over Lois. As a result, they have a very bitter relationship and rarely spend time with each other.

Hal[edit]

Hal, played by Bryan Cranston (151 episodes), is the father of the family. Though relaxed in his parenting when compared to Lois, Hal has shown that he can slide into a disciplinarian when confronted by the boys' bad behavior. He comes from a wealthy family who resent his choice to marry Lois over Susan. Hal has a hard time making good decisions, which he often deferred to Lois. Despite the fact many of the neighbors hate his family, Hal blends in well with them. He loves Lois more than she loves him, never even thinking about other women. He is also very scared of her, even more than the boys are, which is why he often bribes their sons to take the fall for his wrongdoings. He is very neurotic and has a slight obsessive-compulsive disorder, and also enjoys unusual hobbies. It was also revealed that he was a chain smoker before quitting the habit.

Reese[edit]

Reese, played by Justin Berfield (151 episodes), is the second oldest of the sons. He is three years younger than his older brother Francis, two years older than his younger brother Malcolm, six years older than his younger brother Dewey, and about 17 years older than his youngest brother Jamie. It was revealed in the episode "Flashback", in season 2, that Reese has been vicious from the womb, so vicious in fact that when he kept kicking Lois during labour, she pushed him out by force. A complete moron by birth, Reese is the worst-behaved of his brothers. Reese is inclined to beat up the Krelboynes. He is intimidated by certain students, including Ira, a dumb jock at school. Despite his violent, idiotic nature, Reese is a culinary prodigy, after finding that he has a talent and genuine love for cooking and baking. He is also the favourite grandson of his grandmother Ida, who taught him the importance of having patsies. In the series finale, Reese moves in with Craig Feldspar and is a janitor at his alma mater North High.

Dewey[edit]

Dewey, played by Erik Per Sullivan (151 episodes), is portrayed as being quieter and more inclined to the arts than his brothers. He soon finds he is a musical prodigy, and as the series goes on he becomes more caring and thoughtful especially in regards to his younger brother Jamie, whom he decides not to bully like he was by Malcolm and Reese. Lois remarks at one point that unlike Malcolm, who would have to work hard to achieve success, Dewey would have success handed to him. Dewey joins the Buseys, a class for the emotionally disturbed, by mistake and ends up becoming their unofficial teacher. He ended up caring for his fellow students so much that, when the mistake was uncovered, he feigned severe emotional problems so he could remain. In the last episode, he and Jamie (the only other remaining brother living at home) continued the tradition of causing havoc all over the house.

Francis[edit]

Francis, played by Christopher Kennedy Masterson (119 episodes), is the oldest of the brothers, whom Malcolm often looks up to. It's revealed in the episodes Sleepover and in The Bots and the Bees in season one that Francis was a breech birth, and in Flashback in season 2, that Lois was in labor with him during her and Hal's wedding. A rebel from birth, he was exiled to Marlin Academy by Lois for his behavior before he eventually emancipates himself to run away from the Academy to find work in Alaska, incurring his mother's wrath. Upon moving to Alaska, he marries a local woman named Piama (who is about one year older than him, and had previously been married briefly), whom Lois doesn't like. In the series finale, it is revealed that Francis has taken a job with Amerysis, which Hal knows about, and he admits he likes sitting by a desk sorting computer data. However, he also admits that he has no intentions of telling Lois about the job and enjoys torturing her by mentioning that he's still unemployed.

Jamie[edit]

Jamie was played by identical twin brothers James and Lukas Rodriguez (35 episodes). The youngest brother born who is the only brother to have beaten Lois in her own game, bordering to attacking her (though Reese was mostly responsible for feeding him soda). Like Malcolm and Dewey, Jamie is revealed to be intelligent, evident when he tricked Reese into taking a marker after he colored part of the wall. He was also the first brother to find Francis's secret stash, although it was in fact not the stash but their neighbor's stuff.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Stevie Kenarban, played by Craig Lamar Traylor (56 episodes), is Malcolm's best friend and classmate. He is wheelchair-bound and is missing a lung, requiring him to speak slowly and take deep breaths after saying a word. Though Malcolm is initially upset when Lois arranges a "playdate" for him and Stevie in the pilot episode, the boys find common ground, particularly their love of comic books, and become friends. His parents are very overprotective of him, although Stevie displays in many episodes that he lives very comfortably with his disability and even has a dark sense of humor about it.
  • Craig Feldspar, portrayed by David Anthony Higgins (39 episodes), is Lois' co-worker at the Lucky Aide. He is a hopeless romantic, and has strong feelings for Lois, which she does not return. He is very childish and is a coward. By the end of the series, Craig becomes Reese's roommate.
  • Piama Tananahaakna, played by Emy Coligado (29 episodes), is Francis' wife. Piama is about a year older than Francis, and before him, Piama had previously been married briefly. Primarily due to her being brought home under volatile circumstances, in which Francis (while still a minor, although emancipated) shocked the family with news of the marriage and thus disrupting Hal's birthday party, Lois disliked Piama from her introduction in the third season and into the fourth. However, after an embarrassing encounter with her wealthy in-law's, Lois has been much more respectful of Piama. She originally started off against having children, but by Graduation, Piama got over it after Reese's prank went awry and announced to Francis that she's ready to have kids ("We may as well go ahead and have kids now, I'm not afraid of changing diapers any more.")
  • Victor Welker and Ida Kenzel-Welker, played by Robert Loggia (1 episode) and Cloris Leachman (11 episodes) respectively, are Lois' parents. Victor dies some time before the events of the season two episode "Christmas", in which Ida is widowed. Ida harbors a strong dislike for both Francis and Lois, evident for the way she has been treated by them. She favors Reese, which allows him to love her. Ida belittles Malcolm for being weak in not standing up against his mother and largely ignores Dewey (although she did save him one time). Ida harbored resentment towards Victor's secret other family for stealing what was rightfully hers, until Lois discovered that she isn't blood related to Victor (and possibly Susan as well) and abandoned Ida.
  • Abraham "Abe" Kenarban, played by Gary Anthony Williams (19 episodes), is Stevie's father and Kitty's husband, and a close family friend of both Lois and particularly Hal.
  • Kitty Kenarban, played by Merrin Dungey (5 episodes), is Stevie's mother and Abe's wife. Because of actress Merrin Dungey's commitment to the ABC series Alias, Kitty remains unseen for much of the series before it is revealed that she abandoned her husband and son, briefly throwing Stevie into a deep depression. She returns briefly in the season six episode "Kitty's Back".
  • Cynthia Sanders, played by Tania Raymonde (4 episodes), is one of Malcolm's classmates.
  • Lloyd Jensen, played by Evan Matthew Cohen (25 episodes) is one of Malcolm's "Krelboyne" classmates who recurs throughout the series.
  • Dabney Hooper, played by Kyle Sullivan (24 episodes) is one of Malcolm's "Krelboyne" classmates who recurs throughout the series.
  • Flora Mayesh, played by Kristin Quick (15 episodes), is one of Malcolm's other "Krelboyne" classmates. Flora was mostly just a background character and rarely had dialogue and was therefore not in the credits for 12 of her episodes.
  • Eraserhead, played by Will Jennings (12 episodes), is one of Malcolm's "Krelboyne" classmates who recurs throughout early episodes of the series.
  • Kevin, played by Victor Z. Isaac (5 episodes)
  • Jessica, played by Hayden Panettiere (4 episodes), is a classmate of Malcolm and Reese's. In one instance, she babysat Malcolm and Reese despite being younger than them, embarrassing the brothers.
  • Caroline Miller, played by Catherine Lloyd Burns (15 episodes), is the primary teacher of Malcolm's "Krelboyne" class in the first two seasons.
  • Lionel Herkabe, played by Chris Eigeman (8 episodes), is Malcolm's teacher back in his time as a Krelboyne in "Emancipation". He still remains a teacher in North High, but tricked previous principal, Mr. Block, into letting him accept a vice principal position to keep his hated rival in line. Herkabe's downfall came in "Malcolm Defends Reese", when he made the mistake in admitting to Malcolm that he flunked gym and lied in not taking the course that lead to North High's current principal, Mr. Hodges (Steve Vinovich), in revoking his GPA award. He got his just desserts when an overly excited Reese and his friends tossed dodge balls at him.
  • Commandant Edwin Spangler, played by Daniel von Bargen (16 episodes), is the military veteran in charge of the cadets at Marlin Academy. He has a contentious relationship with the rebellious Francis throughout his entire stay at the Academy, although the two were shown at times to have a deep sympathy for the other's emotional scarring.
  • Cadet Eric Hansen, played by Eric Nenninger (28 episodes), one of Francis's friends and classmates from Marlin Academy. Francis accompanies Eric in his plan to abandon the Academy to find well-paying labor work in Alaska. At the end of season three, Eric is seen for the final time being left by Francis to hitchhike home, possibly as revenge for even suggesting to find work in Alaska.
  • Lavernia, played by Brenda Wehle (10 episodes), is Francis and Eric's malevolent boss who owns the logging site in Alaska. She has a debt book and presumably knows every dirty secret about her workers. Lavernia has a personal grudge towards Piama for blackmailing her to be nice to Francis using her pet parakeet as Piama's hostage.
  • Otto Mankusser, played by Kenneth Mars (13 episodes), is Francis' friendly and cheerful boss at the dude ranch, albeit a bit naïve at times.
  • Ed, played by Paul Wilson (5 episodes), is one of the many neighbors who despises Hal and Lois, along with Reese. He has shown some favoritism towards Malcolm for helping him set up his new computer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Malcolm In The Middle, Fox, "Graduation", May 14, 2006, Production #722, Episode #151

External links[edit]