Characters of Malcolm in the Middle
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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".
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'?"
Out of the show's six leads, Cranston, Muniz, Berfield and Sullivan were the only ones to appear in all 151 episodes.
Hal, played by Bryan Cranston (all 151 episodes), is the angry 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 (an action also shared by Victor and Ida). 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. Hal is also a sex addict, this was revealed in the episode "Forbidden Girlfriend" when Lois is taking medication and is unable to have sex for an entire week, it is mentioned again in the episode "Poker 2" when Hal tells his friends he has sex 14 times per week. It was also revealed that Hal was a chain smoker before quitting the habit. Hal's best friend is Abe Kenarban.
Francis, played by Christopher Masterson (119 episodes), is the oldest of the brothers, whom Malcolm often looks up to. It is revealed in the episodes "Sleepover" and "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, showing signs of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder, he was exiled to Marlin Academy by Lois for his behavior before eventually emancipating himself to run away from the Academy to 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, and whom Lois doesn't like. In the series finale, Hal discovers that Francis has taken a job with Amerysis, and Francis admits he likes sitting at 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 telling her that he's still unemployed.
Malcolm, portrayed by Frankie Muniz (all 151 episodes), is the protagonist of the series. He is four years younger than his oldest brother Francis, one year younger than his older brother Reese, five 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. Throughout the series, Malcolm frequently breaks the fourth wall and talks to the viewer about either the current situation or giving exposition about past events.
Lois, played by Jane Kaczmarek (146 episodes), is Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie's angry and temperamental 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 (actually twins). Her unfairness and behavior also come from her miserable childhood, living with a tough mother and an uncaring father (both of whom favored her younger sister, Susan).
Reese, played by Justin Berfield (all 151 episodes), is the second oldest of the sons. He is two years younger than his older brother Francis, one year older than his younger brother Malcolm, six years older than his younger brother Dewey, and about 16 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 labor, she pushed him out by force. A complete moron from birth, Reese is the worst-behaved of the 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 favorite 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, played by Erik Per Sullivan (all 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 final few seasons, Dewey becomes increasingly bitter towards his parents due to them overlooking him throughout his childhood and neglecting his interests. Because of this, he forces them to give Jamie the childhood he never had. 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.
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.
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- 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 immediately 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 unrequited feelings for Lois. He is very childish and is a coward. He plays the ukulele and the banjo, and he sings in a countertenor voice. By the end of the series, Craig becomes Reese's roommate.
- Piama Tananahaakna, played by Emy Coligado (29 episodes), is Francis' wife whom he met and married off-screen during his year in Alaska. 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 ("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 of a Croatian background. 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, on one occasion, save him from being hit by a car, causing her to lose a leg). 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. Abe is initially depicted as cowardly and dependent on Kitty's guidance (which he attributes to his upbringing, having been raised by his grandmother and four spinster aunts). However he ultimately becomes more self-reliant after Kitty's departure. Despite this, Abe is more than willing to take Kitty back after her return, going as far as to harbor resentment towards Lois after she criticized Kitty's deciscion to leave.
- 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".
- Caroline Miller, played by Catherine Lloyd Burns (15 episodes), is the primary teacher of Malcolm's "Krelboyne" class in the first two seasons. She is shown to be overly-ernest as well as to adore Malcolm, who might possibly have been her favorite student. In season 1, she is included as part of the main cast, but in season 2, is a recurring character. In season 2, she is shown to be pregnant until she gives birth to her baby in the parking lot. After her baby was born, she quit teaching. She was never seen or mentioned again after season 2.
- Cynthia Sanders, played by Tania Raymonde (4 episodes), is one of Malcolm's classmates. She has a very extensive vocabulary, but has a difficult time making friends. Depicted as relatively cheerful, Cynthia becomes one of Malcolm's earliest crushes on the show, although a relationship never develops. Cynthia is last seen claiming to never have sex with Malcolm again (which never happened in the first place) to snap him out of a recent funk and keep him from pulling a prank meant to get him sent away like Francis.
- Lloyd Jensen, played by Evan Matthew Cohen (25 episodes) is one of Malcolm's "Krelboyne" classmates who recurs throughout the series. He frequently worries about random small things, gets hurt, and falls victim to bullies. He also has an effeminate personality.
- Dabney Hooper, played by Kyle Sullivan (24 episodes) is one of Malcolm's "Krelboyne" classmates who recurs throughout the series. Often depicted as the weakest and most cowardly of the group, Dabney's life is almost completely controlled by his overbearing mother, although in his last appearance his ability to release his anger towards his mom results in him immediately developing a tougher persona.
- 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.
- Mr. Herkabe (first name Lionel), played by Chris Eigeman (8 episodes), is introduced in Season 3 as the Krelboynes' teacher after Caroline leaves. A Krelboyne himself in middle school, he was forced into a teaching career after losing his millions in a failed dot-com company. He is portrayed as an evil and conniving man who thrives on psychological warfare and making children suffer. He is especially threatened by Malcolm and quickly becomes his nemesis at school, even blackmailing North High's principal, Block (before Hodges took over), into hiring him as vice principal when Malcolm enrolls there. For some reason Mr. Herkabe also intensely enjoys humiliating Reese to antagonize Malcolm more. However, Herkabe's arrogance in confessing that he had failed gym and lied about not taking the course, was brought to light that led to his GPA Award being revoked by Mr. Hodges. He was last seen being humiliated by Reese during dodgeball.
- 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' 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, who blackmailed her to be nice to Francis by holding her pet parakeet 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.
- Malcolm In The Middle, Fox, "Graduation", May 14, 2006, Production #722, Episode #151