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Malcolm In The Middle - Season 5

The fifth season of Malcolm in the Middle premiered on November 2, 2003, on Fox, and ended on May 23, 2004, with a total of 22 episodes. Frankie Muniz stars as the title character Malcolm, and he is joined by Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan.

Malcolm in The Middle - Season 5

In April 2003, Fox renewed Malcolm in the Middle for a fifth season.[23][24] Main cast members Frankie Muniz, Jane Kaczmarek, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Kennedy Masterson, Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan return as Malcolm, Lois, Hal, Francis, Reese and Dewey respectively.[22] The season reveals that Hal and Lois' fifth child Jamie is a boy.[25] Though it was initially reported that the episode "Lois' Sister" would serve as the series' 100th episode,[26] that honor instead went to the episode "Reese's Apartment".[27]

When Fox's Malcolm in the Middle ran from 2000 to 2006 it was hard to fully appreciate just how great the show was. With its novel outlook on the working-class family and its narrative restructuring of the typical sitcom format by breaking the fourth wall, Malcolm gave viewers seven seasons of enjoyable television.

Despite its success, not all of Malcolm's seasons were equally good. As viewers watched Malcolm and his brothers mature, there were peaks and valleys in the show's quality. From the weakest to the strongest, here is every season of Malcolm in the Middle ranked.

Malcolm in the Middle's quality never degraded to the point of being bad. In fact, some of its strongest character moments and plot lines developed in later seasons. Nonetheless, Season 6's storyline fell into an awkward middle-ground where the series seemed to just tread water until the end.

While the show's zaniness could be part of its charm, starting the season off with Reese deserting the Army in Afghanistan, posing as a woman in a burka and legally wedding a local man were a clear sign things spun off the rails. Though the military seemed like a good direction for Reese, the character had little else to do once the plotline was gone, and the rest of the cast were in similarly dead water.

While Season 5 set up some interesting plotlines, it did little else. Kitty Kenarban leaving her family, introducing dysfunction to the functional foil to Malcolm's family, developed side characters who had little to do in the show up until that point. The greater role given to Lois' extended family fleshed out the cast as well. As the season progressed, many of these characters seemed bound for promising plots.

But as the next season proved, many of these storylines did not turn out as promising as they seemed. In retrospect, the season may have earned credit for being far-sighted, but it was not until the last season (Season 7) that any of those plans actually came together.

Jamie's introduction added a new dynamic to the show. However, possibly the character's greatest contribution to the series came in utero when his presence pushed Lois' stressed mother status to the next level. Lois' outrage and inconvenience created the backbone to plenty of episodes throughout the season. Lois finding out she was pregnant while her own mother sued her and delivering Jamie while the world crashed down around her are both highlights of the series.

Hal got into fewer whacky shenanigans, Reese's role as a bully had yet to fully form and the supporting cast was nowhere near as substantial. Despite this, Malcolm in the Middle's first season represented the heart of the show and cemented the themes it would carry through the rest of its run.

If Season 1 established the foundation for what the show would become and Season 3 proved it was willing to adapt, it's only natural Season 2 represented Malcolm fully coming into its own. The characters were more crisply defined, and the early episode, "Lois's Birthday," established a piece of the family dynamic that was not as clear in the first season -- Hal is as much of a kid as his boys.

Ultimately the characters were the heart of the show and no season better represented that than the capstone that ended their arcs. The storyline culminated in the final, "Graduation," with everyone getting the perfect ending. With Malcolm bound to become the greatest president in American history, the working class strife of the entire family gained a new meaning. Although the series may have stumbled getting there, the final season did an A+ job sticking its landing.

Brenton earned a college degree in the middle of a multi-decade pop culture binge he continues to this day. His interests range across philosophy, literature, and the arts to comics, cartoons, television, and Dungeons & Dragons.Follow him on Twitter @BrentonStewart6 or reach out by e-mail at if you have nice things to say!

There may be no such thing as a perfect sitcom, but the best episodes of Malcolm in the Middle definitely come close to this definition. Malcolm in the Middle released a total of 151 episodes from 2000 to 2006 - with every single one being a tightly-written, fast-paced, darkly comedic assault on sitcom traditions - a feat matched only by comparable shows like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family. Malcolm in the Middle followed the lower-middle class lives of boy genius Malcolm Wilkerson (Frankie Muniz), his mother Lois (Jane Kaczmarek), his father Hal (Bryan Cranston), and Malcolm's brothers Francis (Christopher Kennedy Masterson), Reese (Justin Berfield), and Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan).

Reese runs away to become a soldier after his girlfriend cheats on him with his younger brother, Malcolm. Unfortunately, Reese gets himself and his team captured during their training exercises in the middle of this three-episode story arc - eventually leading to Reese's worst moments in Malcolm in the Middle - when he deserts the army in the next episode. This episode, however, remains one of the best Malcolm in the Middle episodes for Reese's equally hilarious and compelling experiences at training camp. This is also when Malcolm proves that Hal was framed by his bosses - after Malcolm realizes that Hal was accused of committing crimes in the office on days he skipped work.

The family is thrown out of the water park and banned for life. On the drive back, Hal lets a car overtake them, only for it to be hit by a truck, causing a massive traffic jam. Lois harasses everyone to clear the accident so they can get back on the road and cannot accept that things are beyond her control. Hal has an existential crisis when he realizes how easily it could have happened to them. Reese and some kids battle a man in an ice cream truck who refuses to sell to them. Malcolm spends the time with a smart, funny girl and is devastated to find out she lives in Canada. She tries to give him her phone number, but a vicious dog that Lois freed eats it. At the military academy, Francis tries to eat 100 candy quacks to settle a silly argument. Meanwhile, Dewey ended up lost in the middle of a corn field and is escorted home by a variety of people, arriving just before the family returns.

If we look more carefully on the previous graph, for five seasons (out of six), we have a positive slope. Well, to be honest, it is not significantly positive most of the time, but still. Out of 80 shows, and a total of 583 seasons, the slope is postive 75% of the time (433) and negative 25% of the time (150).

The slope is increasing over almost all seasons. But a major drawback is that when we get back to our show, for a new season, we usually get disapointed. More specifically, we can quantify the difference in red below

If we loop again over all our series, we have 485 pairs of consecutive seasons. As expected, in 75% of the casse, from season t-1 to season t, we observe a negative rupture. As previously, in 70% of the cases, it is not significat (with linear models before and after), and when it is significant, it is negative in 96% of the cases ! But an alternative can be to use nonparametric models, on both sides.

Great joy tends to come with great sacrifice, and such is the case for next month's coming and going from Netflix list. (Maybe that's a little melodramatic, but this is TV we're talking about.) While we're excited October comes with the highly anticipated second season of Stranger Things, we wish a tearful goodbye to all (yes, all) seasons of some of our favorite shows, including 30 Rock and One Tree Hill. 041b061a72


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