Malcolm in the Middle

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Television series
German title Malcolm in the Middle
Original title Malcolm in the Middle
Country of production United States
original language English
Year (s) 2000-2006
length 21 minutes
Episodes 151 in 7 seasons ( List )
genre Sitcom
Theme music They Might Be Giants - Boss of Me
idea Linwood Boomer
production Linwood Boomer
music John Flansburgh ,
John Linnell ,
Charles Sydnor
camera Levie Isaacks ,
Michael Weaver
First broadcast January 9, 2000 (USA) on Fox
first broadcast
September 24, 2001 on ProSieben

Malcolm in the Middle (original title: Malcolm in the Middle ) is an American comedy - sitcom of the US transmitter Fox . Between 2000 and 2006, a total of 151 episodes were produced and broadcast on television in seven seasons.

It tells the story of a lower- middle -class American family ; Mother, father and four (later five) sons from the fictional suburb of Newcastle. In addition to a series of parallel plots, the main theme, especially in the first seasons, is how the third eldest son Malcolm deals with his giftedness and its impact on his life.



Malcolm is the protagonist of the series. At the beginning of the series, his teacher realizes that he has an IQ of 165 and is therefore highly gifted. So she sends him to the gifted class. At the beginning of the series he is portrayed as a gifted man who doesn't have many friends. As the series progresses, he increasingly resembles his older brother Reese. Malcolm is still extremely intelligent, but he and Reese spend a lot of time emulating their brother Francis by making nonsense and getting their family into trouble. He is the only character in the series who occasionally breaks the fourth wall by addressing the viewer directly and commenting on what happened. Malcolm also has a photographic memory , which is discussed in several episodes.


Lois is the resolute, irascible and strict mother of the boys and Hals' wife. She works as a shop assistant at Lucky Aide , a local supermarket. She is very strict about her upbringing, she is usually opinionated, controlling and the conviction that she has to win every argument. In a flashback one learns that she only developed these behaviors when Francis was a toddler and that she had a completely opposite character before that.


Hal is Lois' husband and father of the boys. He is in love with Lois and is repeatedly portrayed as obsessed with sex, which Lois likes. His character fluctuates between the types “immature youngster” and “hard-working father”. He is also very emotional and breaks down quickly and often in tears or screams very loudly. He is usually more tense than Lois, mainly due to the fear that some wrong decision will make a mistake. If he develops a hobby, he often puts all his skills into it, but usually breaks it off again quickly.


The youngest son until Jamie's birth, Dewey suffers most from Malcolm and Reese, who often beat him up. So he takes refuge in his own world, speaks to flies and plays with his imaginary friends and is more or less portrayed as a loner in the family and receives little attention. He has a very strong musical talent.


Reese is the second oldest son. He lacks intelligence, but he's a ruthless bully. Reese is also a very good cook. He temporarily finds a job as a meat packer, which he enjoys. After graduating from high school, he moves in with Craig and becomes a janitor at his former high school. Stupidity, athleticism and the consequences of Lois' upbringing make him the archetype of the youthful thug who places all hope in his physical abilities and has dubious ideas about the world.


Francis is the eldest son in the family, a role model for Reese and Malcolm in particular, but who is also adored by Dewey. He blames his mother Lois for most of the things that go wrong in his life. After attending a cadet institution in Alabama , he traveled to Alaska , where he met Piama and got married after just three weeks.


Jamie is the baby Lois gives birth to at home at the end of season four. He hardly speaks a word and - unusual for his age and family - hardly whines around.

The family's last name

The family's last name was shown only once on the series: In the first episode of the first season, Francis wears the words “Wilkerson” on his school uniform (best seen in the scene where he is on the phone with his family). There is also a joke in the original script of the first episode containing the name. In this script, Malcolm is about to go to school when a neighbor child comes running up and yells, "Malcolm, Malcolm, Malcolm. I spoke to my parents last night. And we ask ourselves, what's your last name? ”“ Wilkerson, why? ”Malcolm replies. "Ah, and then who are the pariah ?" The joke was eventually cut out. One theory as to why the family's last name is never explicitly mentioned is that the producers didn't want to set them up as a normal family, and hoped that only people who watched this episode repeatedly would notice Francis' nameplate. A trailer on British broadcaster Sky One in early 2006 advised viewers to spend their time with The Simpsons and "The Wilkersons" and pointed out the Sunday night episodes of the two series. Another trailer was shown promoting the final season of 24 and Malcolm in the Middle . It read: "Say goodbye to the Wilkersons." Bryan Cranston claims on his homepage that the crew regularly joke about the family name, so the last name is "Nolastname" at the moment. During the last episode, Francis drops an employee ID card on the floor shortly before the end. This clearly shows his name as "Francis Nolastname". This is either a nod to the film crew's joke or shows that the family was actually conceived without a surname. In the same episode, when Malcolm is called to deliver the high school graduation speech, his family name cannot be heard due to microphone feedback . In the Internet Movie Database , the last name is given as "Wilkerson".

Sequence of events

Every episode of Malcolm in the middle starts with a short intro , which rarely has anything to do with the actual plot of the episode, but is often only intended to depict the everyday life of the family. This is followed by an opening credits cut together from various scenes from earlier episodes of Malcolm in the middle as well as from films and older episodes of American programs with the theme song "Boss of Me" by the band They Might Be Giants . In addition, the theme tune varies slightly in the first two episodes of the first season.

In addition to the main storyline, most of the episodes have another one that is not related in terms of content. Usually it is a storyline with the actual family and one with Francis' experiences, such as B. his time at the military academy or the ranch.

Cancellation of the series

On January 17, 2006, the last episode of the series was broadcast in the United States. The main reason was the bad odds. 3.56 million viewers followed the series in its final season, while it was more than four times as much in the first with 15.23 million viewers.

However, there were also other factors that would have made production very difficult. Leading actor Frankie Muniz wanted to leave the series for a long time. Also Linwood Boomer , the director, producer and writer of the sitcom, announced after the sixth season. Another key producer ( Michael Glouberman ) announced that he would also be leaving the series after the seventh season. So the end of the series was foreseeable beforehand.


  • Frankie Muniz , who plays Malcolm and is the protagonist of the series, appears in 150 of the 151 episodes.
  • Muniz is older than Justin Berfield , who is Malcolm's older brother Reese.
  • Muniz has now had several strokes, which is why he no longer remembers the work or the series at all. Bryan Cranston visits him more often and often tells him about it.
  • The Mannkusser are Danish only in the German version, otherwise German. The fact that they are German in the original can also be seen in the German version, because when Francis speaks to Otto's nephew Björn in the episode Der Rauswurf (Season 4, Episode 12), he uses an English-German dictionary.
  • Sometimes the sound of a room door slamming can be heard between the scene changes.
  • A running gag in the third season is the appearance of Dewey's hamster in some episodes, who rolls away on the street in a hamster ball filled with food and can be seen repeatedly in the background over the course of the season. He'll make it to Alaska by the end of the season .
  • As a result, gang fight (Season 3) Hal tries constantly, the refined Domino - course knocking down of Dewey, but Reese prevents him, as he would otherwise be the culprit. Then Hal sets up his own dominoes course. The row of dominoes then falls because the door slams too hard. This sequence was recorded by several cameras without digital processing. However, in the 16: 9 format you can see how parts of the course were subsequently pushed by hand, e.g. B. when cutting the full shot of the flag of the USA for a close-up of this very same.
  • The song Better Days by Citizen King is played both at the end of the very first and the very last row. In the second season, several titles from the band Titan are played.
  • Merrin Dungey , who later played Stevie's mother, played one of Malcolm's teachers in the first episode.
  • The series was created in single-camera production, until 2000, multi-camera production was the standard for sitcoms.
  • When Hal takes office as neighborhood chairman, the name of the fictional city in which the series is set is revealed. It is "Newcastle".
  • The role of Jamie was initially played not by James and Lukas Rodriguez , but by other children whose name was unknown. Only from the episode Hal and the Bodybuilders (season 6) was the role of Jamie played by the two.

Cast and dubbing

Main cast

role actor Voice actor
Malcolm Frankie Muniz Wilhelm-Rafael Garth
Dewey Erik Per Sullivan Kevin Winkel
Reese Justin Berfield Nick Forsberg
Francis Christopher Masterson Sebastian Schulz
Hal Bryan Cranston Bodo Wolf
Lois Jane Kaczmarek Martina Treger
Jamie James and Lukas Rodriguez

Supporting cast

role actor Voice actor Number of episodes / info
Stevie Kenarban Craig Lamar Traylor Michael Verona 57, Malcolm's best friend
Craig Feldspar David Anthony Higgins Andreas Fröhlich 39, colleague of Lois and Malcolm
Piama Tananahaakna Emy Coligado Dorette Hugo 29 (since St. 3), Francis' wife
Eric Hansen Eric Nenninger Marcel Collé 28 (St. 1-3), Francis' schoolmate and later work colleague
Otto Mannkusser Kenneth Mars Stefan Gossler 27 (St. 4–5), German (Danish in the German version) rancher and Francis' boss
Abe Kenarban Gary Anthony Williams Reinhard Scheunemann 18, Stevie's father
Caroline Miller Catherine Lloyd Burns Irina von Bentheim 15 (St. 1-2), Malcolm's teacher
Edwin Spangler Daniel von Bargen Roland Hemmo 15 (St. 1-3), director of Francis Military School
Ida Cloris Leachman Hannelore Fabry 11, Lois' mother
Gretchen Mannkusser Meagen Fay Sonja German 11 (St. 4–5), Otto's wife
Lionel Herkabe Chris Eigeman Bernd Vollbrecht 8 (Levels 3–7), Malcolm's teacher in his junior high school and high school gifted class
Lavernia Brenda Wehle Kerstin Sanders-Dornseif 7 (St. 3), Francis' boss in Alaska
Richie Todd Giebenhain Simon hunter 6 (St. 1-3), Francis' school friend
Cynthia Sanders Tania Raymonde Adak Azdasht 5, Malcolm's schoolmate from the gifted class
Jessica Hayden Panettiere Catrin Dams 4 (St. 4, 6-7), Malcolm's schoolmate and neighbor

Guest appearances

Episode list

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. FOX discontinues “Malcolm in the Middle”. In: Retrieved February 23, 2012 .
  2. Rosanna Arquette as the shaman Anita in the episode Burning Man - on serial abc ( Memento from September 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive )