Malcolm In The Middle was that rare sitcom about children where the children actually acted like... you know, children. The show followed the exploits of the titular character Malcolm, a boy genius, and his exasperating family. There were his often reckless and irresponsible brothers Francis, Reese, Dewey, and Jamie. His tyrannical mother Lois, and kind but often-ineffectual father Hal.
Most of the tension in the show came from the brother's frequent flouting of the rules set by Lois to carry out one outrageous hi-jinks after another. While the boys had genuine affection for their parents, it did not stop them from often inflicting some truly horrible grief on them on occasion. Here are the 10 worst things the boys ever did to Lois:
10 Making A Mess Of Lois's Birthday
To be fair, this wasn't a case of being deliberately cruel so much as simply being thoughtless and selfish. When Lois gives the boys money to buy her a present on her birthday, they immediately run off to buy themselves comics and candy and gave Lois a rotten little gift with the leftover money. Francis forgets about her birthday altogether, as does Hal, leading to Lois storming out of the house to spend her birthday alone at the carnival's batting cages.
9 Telling Her She Embarrasses Malcolm
Another instance of thoughtless cruelty on Malcolm's part. One time he received a big award from the Mayor of the city for wining an important scholarship. When Lois kept badgering him about why he had not told her so she could have attended the ceremony, Malcolm finally snaps and tells her she is a source of embarrassment to him.
While Lois can usually brush off anything the boys throw at her and give back just as good, you could tell from her expression and subsequent silence that Malcolm had truly hurt her feelings for once.
8 Throwing Out Her Back
One time Reese was roller staking in the house with a bunch of gunk stuck to his wheels, which he proceeded to smoosh into the floor of the house. Neatfreak Lois was so enraged that her resulting yells caused her to throw her own back out. It was a rare case of one of the boys making Lois so mad that she actually harmed her own self while screaming at them.
7 Deliberately doing The Worst Possible Thing To Enrage Her
Lois's tribulations did not end after Reese caused her to throw her back out. In another episode, the boys decide the only way to take the heat off of Francis for his latest giant screwup was to take the blame on themselves. Their plan? Throw a trolley filled with explodable material directly onto the car in the driveway.
The plan worked so well it caused Lois was angry beyond her usual yelling, instead she stood guard over the boys all afternoon as they sat perched on top fo the roof, grimly sipping on fluids and telling them repeatedly to come down and take their punishment in an ominous voice.
6 Entering Her In A Beauty Pageant
One time Lois found out the boys had entered her in a beauty pageant and was genuinely touched by what the boys had written in her application form, calling her a warm and loving mother and beautiful human being.
Little did Lois know that the words had been written completely ironically by the boys as a joke. They had never seriously considered entering her for the pageant. If Lois had ever found out about their actual intentions, she would have been devastated.
5 Discrediting Her Story About The Car
One time Lois bad-mouthed a cop to his face, and in retaliation, he fined her for turning her car illegally on the road. Nearby security cameras appeared to corroborate his statement, even though Lois insisted till the end that she was innocent.
After everything was said and done, it was revealed that Lois had been right all along. But her spirit had been broken by that point, and the boys and Hal was so happy with the new, submissive Lois that they even threatened Craig against ever letting her know the truth.
4 Covering Her In A Toxic, Stinking Ooze
This physical assault on the senses and clothes was not aimed directly at Lois, but she was caught squarely in the crosshairs, along with the rest of the family. Plotting a way to stay on as a janitor beyond his first month, Reese hit upon the idea of making a barrel of sludge so gross, filthy and pervasive that it could not be cleaned up in less than a month.
The mother-of-all stink bombs was an unqualified success, with the slight hitch of it going off in the family car instead of later on at the school premises. Lois and everyone else in the car were covered in the unbelievably noxious goo, whose stink took several days to clear out.
3 Turning Her Into A Monster
Francis was the first of Lois's children, and the one responsible for turning her into the hard-hearted monster she became later. When Francis was a toddler, as seen in a flashback, Lois was a doting mother who gave him everything he wanted and never scolded him. This led to Franchis's increasingly more deranged antics.
After seeing Francis playing with a matchstick, something in Lois finally snapped. From that day on, she stopped being a doormat to Francis, and instead became the hard-as-nails parent that he always complained so bitterly about.
2 Not Telling Her About Francis's Job
Francis shares the definition of a love-hate relationship with his mother. For the longest time, his primary motivation was to do everything she told him not to do, just because. This behavior carries over into adulthood. When Francis gets a job in an office like his father, complete with a steady paycheck and health insurance, his first instinct is to hide the news from his mother and let her continue to believe he was still the good-for-nothing wastrel subsisting on his wife's income.
1 Making Her Think She Had Cancer
By their own admission, this was the worst thing that Malcolm, Reese, and Dewey ever did. At a young age, to hide their poor grades, the boys made Lois believe she had cancer. The trick worked at the time, but the secret of the truth behind the incident remained the most dangerous piece of information the brothers had on each other, preventing any one brother from going too far in screwing over the others, otherwise, the secret comes out and everyone is equally screwed.