51 Malcolm In The Middle Facts You Haven’t Read Before

Malcolm in the Middle originally aired from 2000 to 200 and revolved around the daily lives and misadventures of the chaotic Wilkerson family. At the centre is Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), a gifted teenager who frequently breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly. Our Malcolm in the Middle facts include why we never find out the family’s surname, how its visual style influenced other TV shows, and whether Hal and Heisenberg are the same person!

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Malcolm in the Middle originally aired from 2000 to 200 and revolved around the daily lives and misadventures of the chaotic Wilkerson family. At the centre is Malcolm, a gifted teenager who frequently breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly. Malcolm's unique perspective allows viewers to experience the ups and downs of his life as he navigates school, family dynamics, and the challenges of being a middle child.

Frankie Muniz portrays Malcolm. Jane Kaczmarek plays Lois, Malcolm's strict and no-nonsense mother. Bryan Cranston takes on the role of Hal, Malcolm's quirky and often clueless father. The show also introduces Malcolm's three siblings, each with their distinct personalities.

Malcolm in the Middle struck a chord with audiences due to its refreshing and relatable take on family dynamics. The show presents a humorous and unfiltered portrayal of the challenges and quirks of everyday family life, capturing the chaos and love that coexist within the Wilkerson household. 

Our Malcolm in the Middle facts include why we never find out the family’s surname, how its visual style influenced other TV shows, and whether Hal and Heisenberg are the same person!

1. Malcolm In The Middle Has A Total Of 151 Episodes

Created by Linwood Boomer, the series debuted on January 9, 2000, and concluded on May 14, 2006, after a successful run of seven seasons and a total of 151 episodes.

It was produced by Satin City and Regency Television in association with Fox 21 Television Studios, now known as Touchstone Television. The show achieved global syndication and gained significant critical acclaim. The series has been recognised as one of the greatest TV and sitcom series of all time and has received numerous accolades. 

2. Malcolm Has An IQ Of 165

Malcolm In The Middle revolves around Malcolm, an 11-year-old boy played by Frankie Muniz. In the first episode, it is revealed that Malcolm is a genius with an IQ of 165, which lands him in a class for gifted students known as the "Krelboynes." 

The early seasons primarily focus on Malcolm navigating the challenges of being intellectually gifted while coping with the eccentricities of family life.

3. Breaking The Fourth Wall Sets The Series Apart

Malcolm in the Middle sets itself apart from classic TV sitcoms of its time in several ways. The main difference is that Malcolm frequently breaks the fourth wall, by addressing the audience through voice-over narration and speaking directly to the camera.

4. Malcolm In The Middle Was Shot On Film 

The series also boasts a distinct visual and auditory style, relying on intricate post-production techniques, including fast-cut editing, sound effects, music inserts, extensive use of real locations, and unconventional camera work such as overhead, tracking, hand-held, and crane shots. Unlike typical sitcoms, it does not feature a laugh track or a live studio audience. Instead, it emulates the style of hour-long dramas by being shot on film rather than video.

5. Every Episode Begins With A “Cold Open”

Each episode of Malcolm In The Middle begins with an unrelated cold open, separate from the main story. The only exception is when episodes are part of a two-part storyline, which opens with a recap of the previous episode.

6. The Family Surname Is Never Explicitly Mentioned

The family's surname is never explicitly mentioned throughout the series. In early drafts, the script referred to them as the Wilkersons, but the creator, Linwood Boomer, decided to avoid any specific ethnic label for the characters and removed the surname. 

However, the name appeared in promotional material and on Francis' Marlin Academy uniform in the pilot episode. 

In the series finale, "Graduation," Francis drops his ID badge from his new job, which lists his name as "Francis Nolastname." Additionally, during that same episode, the principal announces Malcolm as the speaker, silently mouthing "Nolastname" as his voice is drowned out by microphone feedback. The show's publicist stated that the family's last name should be considered a mystery but in some foreign marketing and DVD descriptions, the last name "Wilkerson" was occasionally referenced.

7. The Malcolm In The Middle Setting Is Also Never Revealed

The specific location where Malcolm In The Middle takes place is never explicitly revealed. Various episodes suggest that the family resides somewhere in the American Southwest, given references to being within driving distance of Las Vegas. 

However, other details intentionally contradict the actual climate and nearby locations, leaving the show's setting open to interpretation so the family could resonate with all Americans.

8. Malcolm In The Middle Was Originally Developed For UPN

The pilot episode of Malcolm in the Middle was initially developed for UPN in the 1998-1999 television season. However, when UPN's interest in the project diminished, Gail Berman managed to save the pilot by bringing it to Fox. The show was then rescheduled for the 1999-2000 cycle and picked up by Fox.

9. The Theme Song Is Boss Of Me By They Might Be Giants

The opening title sequence of the show features brief clips from cult films and television shows, edited together with clips from the pilot and early episodes. These clips are set to the song "Boss of Me" by They Might Be Giants.

The song was honoured with the "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media" award at the 2002 Grammy Awards. In the first two seasons, the band also composed the majority of the incidental music for the show.

10. Malcolm’s House Has Been Rebuilt Since The Series Aired

A significant portion of the filming for Malcolm in the Middle took place on location in various parts of the thirty-mile zone around Los Angeles. 

The exterior of Malcolm's house was filmed at a privately owned home in Studio City, California, which was rented for a hefty fee. Although the property has since been rebuilt with a modern design, the house next to it remains nearly identical to its appearance during filming and is a popular spot for fans of the show. 

11. Most Locations Used For Malcolm In The Middle Were In North Hollywood

Some scenes set in high school were filmed at Walter Reed Middle School, and the Lucky Aide store was represented by a Drug Emporium located on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood.

In the episode "Stock Car Races," the race track entrance billboard shows Irwindale Speedway, a real racetrack in Southern California. 

The season one finale episode, "Water Park," was filmed at Wild Rivers, a water park in Irvine, California. While the show features palm trees and desert scenery, indicating a Western United States location, the specific state is never revealed, except for references to Francis' locations in earlier seasons, such as his military school in Alabama and his job in Alaska.

12. Malcolm In The Middle Was Filmed At CBS Studio Centre

Studio filming for Malcolm in the Middle took place on Stage 21 at CBS Studio Centre in Studio City. This included shooting the interior of the house and the backyard scenes. The middle school play yard, initially located at the northern point of the CBS studio property at the end of Radford Avenue, was redressed as the high school courtyard starting in the fourth season and was later demolished in 2006-2007.

13. Malcolm In The Middle Inspired Future Filming Techniques

Malcolm In The Middle introduced several distinctive filming techniques and structural elements that had a significant influence on later programs. These included:

  • A cold open featuring one or more family members in a bizarre situation unrelated to the main plot of the episode.

  • Quick whip pans as transitions between scenes.

  • Malcolm's frequent direct addresses to the camera.

  • Abruptly cutting to black at the end of each segment, accompanied by the sound of a slamming door.

Its single-camera filming style has been highly praised and went on to influence other popular series such as The Bernie Mac Show, The Office, Everybody Hates Chris, 30 Rock, and Arrested Development.

14. Chris Masterson Went On To Concentrate On Writing And Directing

Starting from Season 6, the character of Francis became increasingly scarce and practically disappeared from the show. Out of the 44 aired episodes in the final two seasons, Francis only appeared in ten, despite Christopher Masterson's continued inclusion in the opening credits. During this period, the character lost his seasonal storylines and instead made sporadic guest appearances. 

Masterson, on the other hand, took a greater interest in the production of the show, directing and writing for much of Season 6 and Season 7, rather than appearing as his character. As a result, the focus of the show shifted primarily to Hal and Lois, with Malcolm, Reese, and Dewey receiving side stories. Francis no longer had his own plotlines and instead became an occasional recurring character.

15. The Malcolm In The Middle Soundtrack Was Impressive

The music selection for Malcolm In The Middle was highly diverse and included artists such as ABBA, Basement Jaxx, Sum 41, Kenny Rogers, Lemon Jelly, Lords of Acid, The Getaway People, En Vogue, Electric Light Orchestra, Fatboy Slim, Phil Collins, Claude Debussy, Tears for Fears, Quiet Riot, Queen, and Citizen King. 

The song "Better Days" by Citizen King was played at the end of both the pilot episode and the series finale. 

Additionally, several episodes featured songs by the Southern California pop-punk band Lit, including songs that were never released as singles.

On November 21, 2000, a soundtrack titled "Music from Malcolm in the Middle" was released.

16. It Began With A Malcolm In The Middle All Night Marathon

On July 5, 2009, the show made its debut on Nick at Nite with an all-night marathon at 8:00 pm. However, due to content that didn't meet the network's standards, some episodes were either skipped or heavily edited. After Nick at Nite removed Malcolm in the Middle, it began airing on TeenNick from November 26, 2010, until December 2010. The show later returned to TeenNick's lineup on July 18, 2011.

17. Malcolm In The Middle Was Meant To Be On Disney+ For It’s Launch

It was announced on April 11, 2019, that the show would be available on Disney+, Disney's streaming service, upon its launch on November 12, 2019. However, for unknown reasons, the show was not available on the platform on the launch day. 

In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney sent a survey to Disney+ consumers inquiring about their interest in having content like Malcolm in the Middle and other "mature" shows such as Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Modern Family on the site. 

18. Only Season One Has Been Released On DVD In The USA

Currently, only the first season of Malcolm in the Middle has been released on DVD in the U.S. Plans to release the second season in the fall of 2003 were ultimately cancelled due to the high costs associated with obtaining music clearances.

19. The UK Also Struggled To Release DVD Versions Of Malcolm In The Middle

In February 2012, it was announced that Fabulous Films would be releasing the first season of the show in the UK in April, followed by each subsequent season the following month, with a complete series set scheduled for Christmas 2012. However, the release date was removed from retailer websites in late March 2012 due to technical issues with the masters. The release date was subsequently pushed back to June, and the remaining seasons were scheduled for release on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

The UK DVD releases maintain the original episodes as aired, including the original music, with the exception of one episode from season three, "Company Picnic." This episode was originally aired as a one-hour special but was re-edited and split into two parts for syndication. The DVD presents the syndicated version of the episode.

20. Malcolm In The Middle Has Been Parodied In Family Guy

Family Guy has parodied the series multiple times, showcasing its cultural impact and recognition within the television industry.

21. Malcolm In The Middle Inspired Disney+’s WandaVision

Malcolm In The Middle served as an inspiration for an episode of the Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe television miniseries WandaVision, with the show's intro paying homage to Malcolm in the Middle. In another episode, a DVD box of the first season can be spotted among DVDs of other shows, and the characters are seen watching an episode from season seven.

22. There Is A Breaking Bad And Malcolm In The Middle Crossover

An alternate ending to Breaking Bad, released on a DVD box set of the complete series, features Hal (played by Bryan Cranston, who also portrayed Walter White in Breaking Bad) waking up from a dream, revealing Breaking Bad to be a figment of Hal's imagination after eating a deep-fried Twinkie. This ending parodies the famous conclusion of the show Newhart.

When Comedy Central aired the entire series in 2015-16 in the UK and Ireland, the trailer played on the fan theory that Hal and Walter White from Breaking Bad (2008) are the same person.

23. The First Episode Has 23 Million Viewers

The first season of Malcolm in the Middle received critical acclaim, earning a Metacritic score of 88 out of 100 based on 26 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."

The show debuted to impressive ratings, with the first episode attracting 23 million viewers and the second episode drawing in 26 million viewers.

24. Malcolm In The Middle Air Times Were Regularly Changed

Fox frequently adjusted the show's airtime to accommodate other programs. On January 13, 2006, it was announced that the show would move to the 7:00 pm slot on Sundays starting January 29, 2006. The series finale, the 151st episode, aired at its original timeslot of 8:30 pm ET/PT on May 14, 2006. The finale was watched by 7.4 million viewers.

25. Malcolm In The Middle Won 7 Emmy Awards

Both Jane Kaczmarek and Cloris Leachman received Primetime Emmy nominations every year they appeared on the show, with Kaczmarek nominated as a leading actress and Leachman as a guest actress. Leachman won the award in 2002 and 2006. 

Frankie Muniz received one nomination for lead actor, and Bryan Cranston received three nominations for supporting actor. Overall, the show won a total of 7 Emmys during its six-year run and also received a Peabody Award. Kaczmarek received three Golden Globe nominations, Muniz received two, and Cranston received one.

26. Russia Created A Shot-For-Shot Adaptation Of Malcolm In The Middle

The show's popularity extended beyond the United States. The Russian channel STS created a shot-for-shot adaptation called "Супер Макс" (Super Max), which has completed one season so far.

27. The Whole Malcolm In The Middle Would Like A Reunion

In 2016, Bryan Cranston expressed his interest in a reunion. In 2021, Frankie Muniz revealed during an appearance on Steve-O's podcast that Cranston was working on a script for a movie reunion. The entire cast was reportedly ready to return, with only one undisclosed hurdle remaining.

28. Cranston’s Breaking Bad Co-star Auditioned For Malcolm In The Middle

During the auditions, Aaron Paul tried out for the role of Francis. However, he would later be cast in the critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad (2008), which also starred Bryan Cranston as Hal.

29. Bryan Cranston Performed His Own Stunts - Including The Bees!

Bryan Cranston showcased his skills by performing several of his own stunts. In addition to the cartwheel and headstand, he learned roller disco skating during the 1-1/2 weeks he had to prepare for the role. 

When a writer jokingly suggested that Cranston wear a suit of live bees, he enthusiastically agreed, leading to the creation of an episode centred around the idea ("The Bots and the Bees" 2000). Cranston ended up covered in 10,000 bees and was only stung once!

30. Krelboyne Was Inspired By The Little Shop Of Horrors

The name "Krelboyne," referring to the class of gifted students Malcolm belongs to, was inspired by the nerdy hero of The Little Shop of Horrors (1960).

31. Malcolm Was Originally 9 Years Old

The character of Malcolm was originally intended to be nine years old, causing Frankie Muniz, who was 13 at the time, to believe he was too old for the role. He even gave his mother a thumbs-down immediately after leaving the audition room. However, the producers adjusted the character's age to around 12 and ultimately chose Muniz for the part. When Muniz learned he got the role, he excitedly jumped on the hotel bed!

32. Reese, Hal And Dewey Appeared In Every Episode

Justin Berfield (Reese), Bryan Cranston (Hal), and Erik Per Sullivan (Dewey) are the only cast members who appeared in every episode of the series.

33. What Are The Film And TV Shows In The Malcolm In The Middle Titles?

The opening sequence of the show features clips from 11 movies and television shows. In order, these are: 

  • Three women fighting a giant turtle from One Million Years B.C. (1966). 

  • An anime character smiling in the rain from Jikû Tenshô Nasuka (1998). 

  • The Kraken emerging from the ocean from Clash of the Titans (1981). 

  • A woman being held above a nest of pterodactyls, also from One Million Years B.C. (1966). 

  • An anime character skateboarding, from Nazca (1998). 

  • A mud monster grabbing a woman away from her boyfriend from Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961). 

  • A skier jumping off a flaming mountain from The Color Of Skiing (1974). 

  • A wrestling match featuring Bret Hart wrestling Chris Benoit during the WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match at WCW Mayhem PPV. 

  • A robot head being assembled from Out of the Unknown (1965). 

  • A man beating a brain monster with an axe from The Brain from Planet Arous (1957). 

  • A boxer knocking out the referee, Pedro Cardenas accidentally KO'ing referee Bert Lowes instead during the 1982 North American Championships in Las Vegas.

34. Dewey’s Hamster Makes Another Appearance

In later episodes, the hamster that Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) sets free in a previous episode can be spotted rolling past the screen in its exercise ball in the background.

35. Justin Berfield Is Younger Than Frankie Muniz

Although Reese is portrayed as the second oldest brother of Malcolm on the show, in real life, Justin Berfield (Reese) is less than three months younger than Frankie Muniz (Malcolm).

36. Every Sibling Has A Skill Except Francis

Within Malcolm's family, each sibling, except for Francis, possesses a unique talent: Reese is an exceptional cook, Malcolm is a genius, and Dewey is a musical prodigy.

37. Cloris Leachman And Kenneth Mars Have Worked Together Before

Cloris Leachman (Grandma Ida) and Kenneth Mars (Otto Mannkusser) employ the same German accents they used in the film Young Frankenstein (1974). However, in the German-dubbed version, they are depicted as from Denmark.

38. There Is A CalTech University Connection

Two of the Krelboynes in Malcolm In The Middle, Dabney and Lloyd, derive their names from student houses at CalTech University in California.

39. Reese Was Named One Of TV’s Biggest Brats

Reese (Justin Berfield) earned the #9 spot in "TV Guide's" list of "TV's 10 Biggest Brats" (March 27, 2005 issue).

40. Malcolm In The Middle Features The Same Cigarettes As The X-Files

In a Malcolm In The Middle episode where Hal and the boys visit the race track, they return home to discover that Lois had rummaged through their belongings. Among the items in the pile was a pack of Morley cigarettes, the same fictional brand favoured by the Cigarette Smoking Man on "The X-Files" (1993).

41. Malcolm Was Named After A NASCAR Driver

Also during the race track outing with Hal and the boys, it is revealed that Malcolm was named after Hal's favourite NASCAR driver, Rusty Malcolm.

42. Emy Coligado Is 9 Years Older Than Christopher Masterson

Emy Coligado (Piama) is nine years older than her on-screen husband Christopher Masterson (Francis), despite their characters being portrayed as roughly the same age.

43. Jane Kaczmarek Was Actually Pregnant In Season 4

Jane Kaczmarek was pregnant during the filming of season 4 of Malcolm In The Middle, which led to the introduction of the fifth son, Jamie, on the show to account for her growing baby bump. This also resulted in her absence for a few episodes as Kaczmarek took maternity leave, with the in-universe explanation being that her character was staying with her sister Susan.

44. Patrick Bristow Plays Two Characters

Patrick Bristow initially appears in the episode "Ida's Boyfriend" (2004) as Phillip, the leader of the acting troupe hired for a Murder Mystery at the Grotto. Later, he returned to the show as Lloyd, Chad's father, in "Chad's Sleepover" (2005).

Several other actors played dual roles. For instance, in "Therapy" (2000), Ms. Gilbert, the school therapist, also portrays the administrator in "Day Care" (2003).

Rheagan Wallace, who portrayed "Jackie" in "Reese Drives" (2002), later appeared as "Raduca," Reese's wife, in the episodes "Bride of Ida" (2006) and "College Recruiters" (2006).

45. Kenneth Mars’ Declining Health Was Why Otto Did Not Return

Kenneth Mars' declining health was the reason for Otto's departure from the series starting from Malcolm In The Middle season 6.

46. Malcolm In The Middle Was Moved To Fridays Due To American Dad

After being a long-standing fixture on Fox's Sunday night lineup, the show was moved to Friday nights in 2005 for its final season. This scheduling change was made to accommodate the new animated sitcom "American Dad" and led to the creation of Fox's Sunday night Animation Domination, which included "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill," "Family Guy," and "American Dad." 

Unfortunately, the move resulted in low ratings and the eventual cancellation of the series. Additionally, by that point, the writers admitted they were running out of ideas, making it a fitting time for the show to come to an end.

47. Jane Kaczmarek’s Husband Starred In Malcolm In The Middle

In the two-part episode "Company Picnic: Part 1" (2002) and "Company Picnic: Part 2" (2002), several notable guest stars make appearances. Among them is Bradley Whitford, who was Jane Kaczmarek's husband at the time and known for his role as Joshua Lyman on "The West Wing" (1999).

48. Merrin Dungey Was Busy With Alias So Didn’t Appear Frequently

Merrin Dungey's commitment to the show "Alias" (2001) limited her appearances as Stevie's mother, Kitty Kenarban. She was written out of the series and only returned for one episode in season 6, with the explanation that she and Abe got divorced. Dungey also appeared in the pilot episode as Malcolm's teacher, although there is no indication that the two characters are the same.

49. There Is An iCarly Connection

Notable individuals who appeared on the show include Jennette McCurdy and Jerry Trainor, who later starred as Sam and Spencer in the popular Nickelodeon show "iCarly" (2007) for five years.

50. What Happened To Busey’s Class?

In season 7 of Malcolm In The Middle, it is implied that Dewey has either been removed from the Buseys class or that the class itself has been disbanded. This may be due to the events that transpired at the end of season 6. Dewey also develops a crush on a girl who appears to be in a regular class, suggesting that Dewey is now part of the mainstream student body.

51. Catherine Lloyd Burns Declined Returning To Malcolm In The Middle

Caroline Miller was written out of the show after season 2 because Catherine Lloyd Burns declined to return. 

Originally, her personality was intended to take a negative turn following the events of "High School Play." In season 3, Caroline would have sought revenge on her students for their reckless prank, becoming more mean-spirited. 

Due to her reluctance to portray a negative character, Catherine Lloyd Burns left the show, and Caroline's absence was explained as maternity leave. Lionel Herkabee (Chris Eigeman) was introduced as her replacement, ironically intended to be a good-natured character who would have reported Miller's behaviour to the principal.

Malcolm In The Middle Facts - 51 Malcolm In The Middle Facts You Haven’t Read Before

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