If you didn't watch Malcolm in the Middle back in the early 2000s, we're sad to say you really missed out. This sitcom about a rowdy and somewhat dysfunctional family of lovable weirdos was a highlight of primetime television from 2000 to 2006. It starred Malcolm, played by Frankie Muniz, a middle child with an extremely high IQ who narrated the show. Malcolm's dad, Hal (Bryan Cranston) was a goofball, his mother Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) was a control freak who seemed to always be yelling about something, and his brothers were.... well, typical brothers.
Malcolm in the Middle still holds up today. However, you'll have to turn to Hulu to binge it in the United States. The show was so successful, Muniz was actually able to retire before the age of 20, with millions of dollars in the bank. With so much success, there are bound to be plenty of secrets mainstream audiences never realized. Here are some juicy ones.
The producers purposely never revealed the family's last name. It became a running joke for them throughout the series. Later on, Francis has an employee card that says "Nolastname," and during Malcolm's graduation speech in the finale a loud noise from the microphone covers up his last name.
However, if you paid close attention during the pilot episode, you would have seen the only hint to the family's last name. It was on Francis' name tag, which read "Wilkerson."
In season four, episode 10, "If Boys Were Girls," Lois is sick of the unruly boys and imagines life if all her kids were girls instead. The idea for this episode was actually created by 11-year-old Alexandra Kaczenski, who was the costume designer's niece.
She gave a full two-page story outline to Linwood Boomer, one of the show's creators, and he loved it. Kaczenski actually got a "story by" credit for the episode.
Cranston did the majority of his character's own stunts. There were only two that he didn't do, a cartwheel and a handstand. He learned how to roller skate and basically did everything else himself. In season one, episode 14, "The Bots and the Bees," he ends up wearing a bee suit that had thousands of live bees in it.
This happened after the producers asked him if he'd be willing to wear a bee suit, to which he agreed. Later, he admitted he only got stung once, in a very private area.
Boomer, who had starred on Little House on the Prairie before creating Malcolm in the Middle, was inspired by his own life. Growing up, he was a middle child in a family of all boys, and he also had a really high IQ.
The scene with Lois shaving Hal's hair at the breakfast table was inspired by his own parents doing just that. Like Malcolm, Boomer was also sent to a gifted program against his own wishes. You could basically say the show is a "loose biography."
According to a book about Frankie Muniz, the producers loved him so much that they changed the age of the character. When Muniz auditioned for the role of Malcolm, he didn't think he would get the part because he was 12 at the time, and Malcolm was supposed to be nine.
He actually thought he blew the whole audition for this reason. At first, after making this decision, the producers didn't even want to give Malcolm a specific age anymore. So they just didn't mention it on the show.
On the show, Lois is a mother of five. Each birth has been shown on the show at some point, which is a lot of birth acting. Kaczmarek has three children in real life, so you'd assume she'd know what it's like.
However, each of her real-life children was born through C-section, so Kaczmarek actually didn't have any natural birth experience. Instead, she watched a ton of scenes in movies and TV shows where women were giving birth and did her best to impersonate them. She definitely had us fooled.
While Malcolm was the genius of the family, with an IQ of 165 and a photographic memory, the producers made sure each brother had his own special gift or talent. Except for Francis. Reese is stupid and rather mean, but he has some cooking and baking talents.
Dewey is actually pretty smart and has musical abilities his brothers don't have. Jamie was too young to really develop a distinct talent. However, Francis, the oldest, didn't have any real talents. Instead, he just went from job to job and distanced himself from the family, not really maturing that much in the process.
Aaron Paul, who is arguably best known for co-starring with Cranston on Breaking Bad, desperately wanted to audition for the role of Francis. In a Reddit AMA session a few years back, Paul admitted that he was sent a copy of the script.
He desperately wanted to audition, but the producers wouldn't let him. They went with Christopher Masterson instead. In the same AMA session, he added that he probably wouldn't have been cast on Breaking Bad if he did end up being Francis, so we can be happy about that.
A DVD extra for the Breaking Bad series, which starred Cranston, showed an alternate ending to the massive hit series that crossed over to Malcolm in the Middle. In the clip, Hal and Lois are sleeping.
Hal wakes up terrified, and it's revealed that the entire story of Breaking Bad was a dream he was having. He describes the dream to Lois, telling her about being a meth dealer working with a "man child" (referring to Jesse). In true Lois style, she just brushes the whole thing off and goes back to sleep.
Malcolm is younger than Reese on the show by at least a few years. However, in real life, Muniz is older than Justin Berfield, who plays Reese.
Muniz' birthday is December 5, 1985. Berfield's birthday is February 26, 1986. That makes Muniz just a few months older than him.