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July 19, 2024, 07:54:31 PM

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Cabsensus: Malcolm in the Middle

Started by bgmnts, May 08, 2024, 05:16:39 PM

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bgmnts

Long story short, I watched a few episodes of Malcolm in the Middle on telly for the first time in 15/20 years, and I was pleasantly surprised by how funny it was.

Bit dated in some places but big laughs in places. Retroactively, quite groundbreaking too...?

Wotdowereckon?

Matthew Dawkins Jub Jub

I found it insufferable when it was new. I've rewatched clips a fair amount over the past few months and I think it's aged bloody well. Or maybe only moments of it have.


Toki

I really love the first two seasons, third I'd love more without the Alaska stuff, fourth has some brilliant moments but they really lean into the bleakness. Mixed bag from five onwards but there's normally great stuff in every episode. Loses focus nearly entirely in the last couple of seasons and gets a bit too quirky and busy for its own good. Craig is brilliant.

That is my consensus.

Absolutely hate it when the person in the wheelchair runs over Malcolm's legs, though. Too much OTT-nasty stuff like that sometimes.

madhair60

it's good. the thread is now over .

Kelvin

Peak Malcolm is up there with Peak Simpsons. It's an amazing show with over 750 wonderful moments! 

Midas


McDead

Additional data: the show's creator has the most American name I've ever heard in my puff.

thr0b

Quote from: McDead on May 08, 2024, 06:28:34 PMAdditional data: the show's creator has the most American name I've ever heard in my puff.

It's the show Red Dwarf USA could have been.


JaDanketies

All the seasons are good. Even if I remember some ropey plots
Spoiler alert
(Burning Man virginity loss?)
[close]
then on rewatching them the episodes were still very good and very funny.

I was talking about Malcolm in the Middle today because I said 'the property line' and thought that I'll never be able to say those three words without thinking of Lois; Jane Kaczmarek is obviously a great actress just like her fictional hubby


The only sour note is that the actor who plays Dewey now seems to shun the limelight. I hope he doesn't feel exploited.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

It's okay, Boomer.

Actually, I rewatched it all a few years ago and it's a lot better than okay. It seems to be a bit overlooked, which I suspect is because it starred a bunch of kids.

Magnum Valentino

Yeah the last thread we had on it realllllly made me want to watch it and I still haven't got round to it.

How do you organize a watch along? Is it an episode a day or something?

Thosworth

Quote from: JaDanketies on May 08, 2024, 07:38:14 PMThe only sour note is that the actor who plays Dewey now seems to shun the limelight. I hope he doesn't feel exploited.

That and Frankie Muniz not remembering most of it due to concussions and strokes.

lauraxsynthesis

#14
I've only seen that sketch Brian Cranston did after Breaking Bad ended. It did make me want to watch it a bit because I like the intertextual silliness and willingness to make that happen.

Midas

Quote from: Thosworth on May 08, 2024, 08:14:56 PMFrankie Muniz not remembering most of it due to concussions and strokes.

This is actually somewhat overstated

Quote"...it was claimed on Dancing with the Stars that [Muniz] suffered significant amnesia, theorized to be caused (at least partially) by multiple concussions; the TV show gave the impression that he could not remember the majority of his time on Malcolm in the Middle, and that his former co-star Bryan Cranston often called him to remind him about the good times they had.

In 2021, as a guest on the Steve-O's Wild Ride! podcast, Muniz revealed that the mini-strokes were a misdiagnosis and he was instead suffering from migraine auras. He also clarified that the story of his memory loss was largely misinterpreted by media sources. In the same podcast he also clarified that reports of his amnesia were false, that they were based on a throwaway sentence: "Man, I don't remember what happened in 2001." Individual gaps in his memory occurred due to a large number of concussions as a teenager."

Gulftastic

Loved it when it first aired, love it now.

Bryan Cranston suddenly being a great actor wasn't a shock to everyone. He's amazing in MitM.

It also has one of my favourite trope busting things as Hal is the sole white guy in his group of friends.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

I've said it before but I consider Malcolm in the Middle to be the spiritual successor to The Simpsons - lower working class family struggle to make ends meet, older trouble-making brother (x2), gifted middle child, the forgotten youngest child. Parents with two very different parenting styles (one of them ridiculously abusive for comedic effect) who love their children dearly and want what's best for them. And yet a bleak thread all the way through because the reality is that with four kids - one in military school to keep him ending up in jail - and two incomes, Malcolm and Dewey have to share a bed, in a room that they share with Reese (and it's unclear where Francis slept/sleeps, the subject of him having a room that's left vacant never comes up). More than once Lois underlines to Malcolm that as much as he may hate his genius intellect and the pressure that comes with it, it's a way for him to escape the life that she and Hal (and Francis and Reese) have to lead. (Dewey gets to be rich and have fun.)

What I like most is how, as the series goes on and the kids grow up, we see Lois and the boys grow to understand each other better. I love the scene where she admits to Francis that she was wrong to send him to military school, and that she blamed him for things that weren't his fault because she was struggling. It's beautiful and heartbreaking and immediately, hilariously undercut by Francis having a meltdown because even though he dreamed of this moment, it hasn't made him feel any better. Or the episode where Lois takes advantage of a long car ride with just her and Malcolm to tell him all about sex, something he finds excruciating and embarrassing at first but by the end of the episode, they're both sitting in the driveway after dark while he asks her questions about dating and feelings. Or the one where Lois sets out to get revenge on some teenage girls who humiliated Reese, only to realise that maybe he gets his destructive tendencies from her side of the house.

I love the last episode. I don't care if you think it's cheesy. "You actually expect me to be President - no I'm sorry, you expect me to be one of the best Presidents in the history of the United States?!" "You look me in the eye and tell me you can't do it."



I would dearly love a 25ish year reunion in which Governor Malcolm (PLATE SMASHING SOUND) is gearing up for a Presidential run.

DreadedScotsman

Quote from: Midas on May 08, 2024, 08:54:47 PMThis is actually somewhat overstated


I'd always assumed it was more a story he told to stop the constant questions about it and to try to move on from it

Oh, Nobody

Quote from: madhair60 on May 08, 2024, 06:03:32 PMit's good. the thread is now over .

But I didn't even post this yet!


BritishHobo

I always big it up, but Lois in particular is such a great character. As a kid she was joyous as the terrifying mom figure, but the older I get the more I appreciate every detail of her character. She's an absolute all-time great in sitcom history. Standing up for her snooty neighbour's gardener, always fighting the corner for working people, standing up to shithead power-hungry cops.

It's that rare show that gets kids and adults completely spot on. I think the thing that makes it age well is the fact that every character and every storyline is written with some degree of empathy, so even when it's broad, there's always a truth underneath, and a fucking funny one. I have a different favourite moment every time, but my current one is the end of the episode where Reese panics and steals the school driver's ed car during a lesson, leading to an ever-escalating police chase:


That ending is perfect, but there's also a really lovely moment earlier on during the car chase where the stock popular girl character (who has been treating him with contempt, and who he's inadvertently kidnapped) takes a call from her shitty, self-interested father, who we can tell doesn't care about her and just throws his money around to solve any problems. A lot of shows wouldn't bother giving that character that moment of depth, but it comes very naturally to Malcolm in the Middle.

Snrub

Always loved this show, rewatched it bleary eyed in covid not long after my son was born, and agree it not only holds up but to me is also an absolute all-timer. Bryan Cranston should absolutely get way more credit for MITM than Breaking Bad, and I love BB. Comedy is harder to nail IMO and he absolutely knocks it out of the park in this show every single time.

It does get a little sillier as it goes on but there is something worth watching in almost every single episode and there was a lot in those later series I really loved that I'd just dismissed when I was a lot younger.

Also really enjoyed the Francis storylines a lot more, in part because he had good characters around him. Spangler and Otto particularly (think I've mentioned on here before that when Francis basically leaves as a main character and Otto is done a bit dirty by the writers implying he leaves Francis high and dry which just wouldn't have happened). In fact the whole series has just fantastic secondary characters they never overplayed - Craig (another one loads better on the rewatch compared to at the time), Mr Herkabe, Stevie's Dad and his group of friends, Lois's Mom.

The only one who never really worked was Malcolm's original teacher, and it's very odd she's one of the main cast in Season 1 before she gets shuffled off

Noodle Lizard

I think more or less everyone agrees it was very good and holds up surprisingly well today.

That's what I reckon. I'm always happy to throw an episode on, there are relatively few obvious clunkers.

kalowski

Obviously the roller skating episode is up there with the best sit-com episodes ever made.

frajer

Seldom a working week goes by where I don't think of Hal's "I wish I was a bird."


Gulftastic

Quote from: Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse on May 08, 2024, 09:39:00 PMI've said it before but I consider Malcolm in the Middle to be the spiritual successor to The Simpsons - lower working class family struggle to make ends meet, older trouble-making brother (x2), gifted middle child, the forgotten youngest child. Parents with two very different parenting styles (one of them ridiculously abusive for comedic effect) who love their children dearly and want what's best for them. And yet a bleak thread all the way through because the reality is that with four kids - one in military school to keep him ending up in jail - and two incomes, Malcolm and Dewey have to share a bed, in a room that they share with Reese (and it's unclear where Francis slept/sleeps, the subject of him having a room that's left vacant never comes up). More than once Lois underlines to Malcolm that as much as he may hate his genius intellect and the pressure that comes with it, it's a way for him to escape the life that she and Hal (and Francis and Reese) have to lead. (Dewey gets to be rich and have fun.)

What I like most is how, as the series goes on and the kids grow up, we see Lois and the boys grow to understand each other better. I love the scene where she admits to Francis that she was wrong to send him to military school, and that she blamed him for things that weren't his fault because she was struggling. It's beautiful and heartbreaking and immediately, hilariously undercut by Francis having a meltdown because even though he dreamed of this moment, it hasn't made him feel any better. Or the episode where Lois takes advantage of a long car ride with just her and Malcolm to tell him all about sex, something he finds excruciating and embarrassing at first but by the end of the episode, they're both sitting in the driveway after dark while he asks her questions about dating and feelings. Or the one where Lois sets out to get revenge on some teenage girls who humiliated Reese, only to realise that maybe he gets his destructive tendencies from her side of the house.

I love the last episode. I don't care if you think it's cheesy. "You actually expect me to be President - no I'm sorry, you expect me to be one of the best Presidents in the history of the United States?!" "You look me in the eye and tell me you can't do it."



I would dearly love a 25ish year reunion in which Governor Malcolm (PLATE SMASHING SOUND) is gearing up for a Presidential run.

Dewey, famous musician, hint of a drug problem
Reece, celebrity chef, known for his Ramsey style outbursts
Jamie, Ladies man on his fourth marriage
Francis, his Dad.

Wezzo

Quote from: kalowski on May 09, 2024, 06:32:35 AMObviously the roller skating episode is up there with the best sit-com episodes ever made.

That's a stone cold classic. I'm also very partial to Bowling, which is probably the all-time best sitcom spin on Sliding Doors.

cliggg

It's good but has too much shouting in it, not all dialogue has to be yelled.

AliasTheCat

Some great posts and I have little extra of worth to add, except that I enjoyed it at the time and re-watched it a year or two ago and enjoyed it just as much. Sure it has its ups and downs, but at its heart it has strong main characters, some great writing (Usually at least a couple of really great jokes per episode) and some wonderful performances.

druss

Quote from: cliggg on May 09, 2024, 10:11:28 AMIt's good but has too much shouting in it, not all dialogue has to be yelled.
As a counter point...


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