From Modern Family, to Family Matters and all the way back to Family Ties, it’s safe to say that some of the best comedy material comes from inside the family home. But when it comes to portraying the eccentricities and dysfunction of a lower middle class family, look no further than multi-award winning Malcolm in the Middle.
Premiering in 2000, the show starred Frankie Muniz as the eponymous Malcolm, the middle of four (and later five) sons to parents Hal and Lois, and the best word to describe the goings on in this family home is – chaos.
While Malcolm has a genius IQ level, his brothers are all smart in their own way, ranging from juvenile delinquents to evil geniuses to the musically gifted kind.
They’re trouble makers who are constantly fighting and pulling pranks, but they band together if an outsider picks on one of their own.
Just as hilarious are parents Hal (Brian Cranston before he broke bad) and Lois (Jane Kaczmarek).
Hal, a loving but somewhat immature husband and father with an extremely high sex drive, takes his kids out for fun activities (like running over dead stuff) behind Lois’ back, and doesn’t turn up for work on Fridays.
And while Lois’ fierce temper and propensity for yelling frightens everyone from her husband to their neighbours, she is the family’s matriarch, their protector, their sage.
Together, Hal and Lois are your relationship goals.
Irreverent, satirical, at times wonderfully weird. This family has a lot of kids and, as a result, not a lot of money. They scrimp and sacrifice in order to get by and give their kids the best opportunities. But, as the lyric in the intro song goes – life is unfair.