Characters of Malcolm in the Middle

Characters of Malcolm in the Middle
The cast of Malcolm in the Middle in season 1. (From upper left to upper right) Christopher Kennedy Masterson as Francis, Jane Kaczmarek as Lois and Bryan Cranston as Hal. (Middle) Frankie Muniz as Malcolm. (Bottom left to bottom right) Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey and Justin Berfield as Reese.

The following characters had significant roles in the American television comedy series Malcolm in the Middle, which was originally televised from 2000-2006 on the Fox Network.


Main characters

Originally there were four brothers (although Malcolm's oldest brother attended a military school away from home, so Malcolm was still the middle sibling left at home). A fifth son was introduced in the show's fourth season, a boy named Jamie. The boys are, from eldest to youngest: Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie. In the last episode Lois discovered she was pregnant with a sixth child. In the third season, Francis travels home (to celebrate his father's birthday) with an Alaskan girl named Piama, and reveals that they are married. It is implied in "Hal's Christmas Gift" that the popularity order with the brothers is; Dewey, Francis, Reese, Jamie, then Malcolm. The family is shown to be greatly hated by their neighbors.

During the first season, the writers decided to keep the family's last name a mystery. However, a last name had already been revealed on the show. In the pilot episode, as Francis speaks to his mother on the phone, his name tag says 'Wilkerson.' There was also a joke in the original pilot script that was cut – Malcolm, walking to school, is confronted by a boy who says "Malcolm, Malcolm, Malcolm. I was talking to my parents last night – I was listening to them talk, and what's your last name?" "Wilkerson, why?" Malcolm replied. "Oh. Who are the Pariahs?" said the boy.[1] In the fifth season episode "Reese Joins the Army (1)", Reese uses a fake ID by the name of "Jetson" to lie about his age. Also in one episode when Hal is on the phone he tells the person on the other line that he is Hal Green. Malcolm said that his name was Malcolm Green also when he was on the phone. In the series finale, "Graduation", Francis' employee ID reads "Nolastname" (or "No Last Name" a joke referring to the fact that the family name was never spoken aloud). In the same episode when Malcolm was introduced to give the graduation speech, the speaker announces Malcolm's name, but microphone feedback makes his surname inaudible.[2]

Most recently, the name Wilkerson has been more or less confirmed by the series' description when selected for instant streaming through Netflix[3].


Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) is the main protagonist of the show.

Malcolm is a genius with an IQ of 165 as revealed in the pilot episode Pilot. Malcolm's lack of friends and unpopularity is mostly due to his own egotistical behavior, smug arrogance, and constant complaining. When he was first on the basketball team he obnoxiously stated everything wrong with the coach's game plan and got booted off. Trying to keep his thoughts to himself he listened to what people had to say and kept his mouth shut (while angrily berating them in his mind) resulted in a peptic ulcer.

Malcolm blames his family for everything wrong in his life. He is constantly embarrassed by them and often tries to disassociate himself from them as much as possible. When Hal did something humiliating in a department store while he was talking to a girl, He denied any relationship with him and Hal got arrested.

Malcolm's apparent selfishness causes him to always put himself first. He has been shown to abandon his best (only) friend Stevie more than once and has often ditched his Kreylboyne friends in favor of a more popular crowd(though the Kreylboynes have no true problem selling Malcolm out themselves).

Malcolm has a rather unjustified superiority complex and often believes he deserves a much better life than the one he has, Even though much of his misfortunes he brings upon himself.

Malcolm's relationship with his brothers is one of animosity at best. Though he had felt great guilt after having stole a girl from Reese which caused him to join the army, Even though the following season he compiled a list of things Reese did to him that he insisted were much worse. While he enjoys making Dewey miserable he sometimes tries to help him out though it's usually in the worst way possible. An example of this was when Dewey's IQ was starting to make it's self known and their parents wanted him to take an IQ test that would qualify him for the Kreylboyne class. Malcolm was horrified tried to keep Dewey from suffering the same fate he did. Convinced Dewey to fail the test (with answers Reese thought up) however this got Dewey sent to a worse class for emotionally disturbed children.

Malcolm has had five jobs in the series. His first was as a babysitter for a rich family to earn money to buy a robotics kit, but he quit after learning that the family's parents were spying on him. Later, in the middle of the series, Lois forced Malcolm to take a job with her at the Lucky Aide to have him under her control. He hated the job and tried to quit many times but Lois would not let him. He finally quit at approximately the time he graduated. In the final episode he gets a job as a janitor at Harvard to help with his tuition. At some point, he also worked as a tutor (this is when he met Nikki). He also had a job betting on horses which he shared with Reese.

In the final episode it is revealed that Malcolm's parents do not plan for him to be happy in life. Because Malcolm consistently exceeds his parents' expectations, by the time he graduates from high school, they have the highest of expectations for him: that he will become President of the United States. Pursuant to this, instead of letting Malcolm take a six-figure job out of high school, his parents force him to follow through on plans to attend Harvard as part of an elaborate plan for his future. Lois says that at Harvard, Malcolm will have to work harder than his classmates and will accomplish more than they do, but they will continue to look down on him. When Malcolm argues that he could have taken the job and "bought (his) way into office", Lois concludes that Malcolm "wouldn't have suffered enough". Because of the struggles he's forced to endure, Malcolm will realize that there is more to life than showing off how smart he is. After college, the plan provides for him to channel his energies into a political career, and after starting off as a district attorney or running a foundation, he will be elected governor of a mid-size state and then President. Lois and Hal envision that he would then become one of the greatest Presidents ever because he would represent, understand, and, more importantly, show empathy with the interests of people like his family (Though with Macolm's selfishness this seems unlikely), which, his parents say, no other President has. It appears that his brothers and grandmother are aware of these plans, as when Malcolm looks around at his family after being told this, they all nod at him, and Francis says simply, "Thought you knew." After hearing this Malcolm ultimately understands that even if he does leave the house he will never truly be free of his family, will never know happiness and will be forever cursed by his genius. Although Malcolm recognizes that his parents' plans are outlandish and improbable and complains that they are making decisions for him that are rightfully his to make, he signals that he has accepted their vision for him and will carry it in his valedictorian speech at his high-school graduation. The series ends quite unhappily for him as he is shown to be working as a janitor while attending Harvard and living in the janitor's closet.

The character was originally written to be nine-years-old, and Frankie Muniz was sure this would prevent him from getting the role, as he himself was thirteen at the time. However, the makers of the show liked his acting so much that they bumped up the age of the character to twelve.


Malcolm in the Middle character
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance Graduation
Portrayed by Jane Kaczmarek
Occupation Cashier
Family Ida (mother)
Victor (father)
Radu Gogorsky (biological father)
Susan (sister, possibly half-sister)
Spouse(s) Hal (husband)
Children Francis (first son)
Reese (second son)
Malcolm (third son)
Dewey (fourth son)
James (fifth son)

Lois, played by Jane Kaczmarek, is Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie's mother. Described as hard-nosed, manipulative, crazy, and a complete embarrassment to her five sons and devoted husband, Hal.[4] She is very rarely cowed by authority figures and has faced down Edwin Spangler, the extremely strict commandant of the military academy to which she sent Francis. Although she has a great sense of morality, she has a tendency to impose it on others, more often than not complete bystanders, leading her to be disliked by many but revered by some due to her outspokenness, like the other cadets at Marlon Academy. She and Hal celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary in the second episode of Season 1.

Lois had a very miserable childhood due to her hateful parents. They bullied and ignored her her entire young life. As a teenager she had a lot of dreams that never came to be. Her controlling and abrasive behavior and short temper soon grew from this. Lois has an extremely unhealthy need to control and win every argument, no matter how outlandish or petty.

Despite the sacrifices she has made, her sons are not grateful, because as far as they are concerned (particularly Francis and Malcolm) she is to blame for everything that is wrong in their lives. Indeed, Lois often appears unsympathetic to her sons' problems.

One of the main reason for her controlling Malcolm's life is because, despite loving Hal, she is greatly aware that their own poor decisions ruined both their lives.

While she was having Jamie, Malcolm, Reese and Dewey felt sorry for her and while they were at the hospital, they tried to learn how to take care of babies so they could help. However their resentment towards Lois came back when Malcolm says "MOM NEVER DID ANY OF THIS".

Lois' birthday reveals she turns 40 in 2000. She went into labor with Francis in the middle of her wedding to Hal. Lois had Reese in the hospital and pushed him out hours before he would have come out naturally, because he kicked her so hard. Malcolm was born on the lawn when Francis locked her out of the car. Dewey was presumably born in the back yard, because the family had to exit the house after Malcolm, in a failed attempt to make invisible ink with a chemistry set, created chlorine gas. Jamie was born in her bedroom and Francis delivered him because the paramedics did not come due to taking a coffee break.

Lois at times can even be abusive towards her children, usually for when they refuse to do something important or when they are punished, or even for selfish desires. She kicked Francis out of the house for refusing to fix the roof, eliminated Reese's basic needs (such as food, using the bathroom, clean clothing and ultimately being kicked out of the house but still being forced to live in the backyard with no shelter or heat whatsoever) for refusing to find a job, humiliated Malcolm in public every chance she gets when he was grounded, and forcing Dewey to shower outside in the cold while she takes a warm bubble bath.

Despite the family's rather poor life style, Lois often tells her sons they should be thankful for what they got, Though the reasons she states are quite outlandish and demeaning.

Lois hates being screwed over or ripped off, even if it was years ago. When a blender they bought 10 years ago broke and it was still under warranty she demanded he money back and tore the garage apart trying to find the receipt.

Lois has been a major reason for Malcolm's humiliation and misery. Several major points were when she humiliated him on the first day of high school, and when she made him wear a ridiculous costume with stilts out side the Lucky Aid.

It is very common for the boys to retaliate for her hostility by playing tricks on her. It was referenced that the worst thing they ever did to her was make her believe she had cancer in order to put perspective on their terrible report cards. (The Nuclear Option) When stressed by her children Lois would often have a sudden explosion of anger usually involving insane erratic gestures, an array of swears, the occasional banishment from some location, and a cruel and unusual threat towards her sons. Jane Kaczmarek described Lois as 'a great mother';[5] this is probably because, although she is often portrayed as a villain, she really does love her children and what they sometimes see as hostility is merely an example of extreme parenting. In the episode Lois Battles Jamie, it is revealed that when Francis was born, Lois was a very soft mother; upon seeing her son attempt to light a bear on fire, however, she realized she would have to toughen up to stop her children getting hurt and morphed into the person she was by the time the show began.

Lois has a very poor relationship with her oldest son Francis, and while they state they love each other, neither of them can truly forgive the other for all the misery they have caused each other over the years.

Lois is intensely disliked by Hal's wealthy and snobby family, as seen in the fourth-season episode "Family Reunion". They consider her low-class, and refer to her as "Lois Common Denominator." She, in turn, took a strong and immediate dislike to Francis's wife Piama. Both of them take every opportunity to back-bite each other, but by the end of the series they have developed a much more cordial relationship.

In addition to being a full-time mom, Lois works at 'Lucky Aide', a local drugstore (motto: "The L stands for Value"[6]). Craig, one of her co-workers, clearly has a crush on her, which she does nothing to encourage. He often makes inept attempts to impress her. She prefers to shop at Value Village.[7]

Lois is of Eastern European descent as we know from the episode "Ida's Dance" in which it is implied. Lois and Hal continue to be sexually attracted to one another and seem eager to expand their brood. In the series finale it is hinted that she is pregnant once again. Her original plan was to have all girls.[8]

In the episode "Tiki Lounge", she states that she does not believe in an afterlife, but later has to pay lip service to Hal by claiming she believes in heaven. The episode "Dewey's Opera" reveals that she suffers from severe flatulence every night as she goes to sleep.

She rarely sees her sister Susan (Roseanne's Laurie Metcalf), who only appears in the episode "Lois's Sister". Despite Susan's comfortable life, she is extremely resentful of Lois; their politeness to each other barely masks a simmering hostility that apparently once came to a boiling point over "the apple turnover incident." When Lois discovers that Susan is dying of kidney failure, she is shocked to find out that her sister would rather die than ask for a donation from her (Susan finally begrudgingly and ungratefully accepts a donated kidney).


Malcolm in the Middle character
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance Graduation
Portrayed by Bryan Cranston
Occupation Systems Manager
Family Walter (father)[deceased]
Sharon (mother)
Claire (sister)
Tom (brother-in-law)
Amelia (sister or sister-in-law)
several unnamed nieces and nephews
Spouse(s) Lois (wife)
Children Francis (first son)
Reese (second son)
Malcolm (third son)
Dewey (fourth son)
Jamie (fifth son)

Hal, played by Bryan Cranston, is married to Lois, and is father to Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie. He is more relaxed in his parenting than Lois, mainly because he is afraid to make the wrong choice. However, he does discipline his boys; most of the time when Lois is disciplining them to back her up, and sometimes even when she is not around. Several episodes refer to him as a former rebel and troublemaker, much like his sons. The episode Hal's Birthday reveals his birthday is in March and it is assumed he is born in the same year as Lois. He ran a pirate radio station in college under the name of Kid Charlemagne. Despite all that, Hal blends well with his neighbors, sharing similar interests. His indecisiveness supposedly stems from a childhood incident in which he accidentally caused a snake to strike a clown (as an adult he is afraid of both snakes and clowns). When Lois is away, he quickly loses self-control and indulges in his baser enjoyments, such as smoking, gambling, loud music, and building "killer robots" (as explored in one episode). Even with Lois with him, in one episode, he steals a car that was speeding up and down the street in front of his house (subsequently pushing it into a lake with her help). In another episode, Hal is seen to love domino toppling and in the episode Bowling, he is seen as a skilled bowler (he almost bowls a perfect game, but Malcolm accidentally knocks down the pins, causing the results to be inconclusive). Hal has been revealed as a talented hairdresser and roller skater. There are also hints that he has a foot and fatness fetish. In "Hal Sleepwalks" it is implied that Reese is his favorite son and that Malcolm's intelligence scares him.

In the episode If Boys Were Girls when Lois imagines what her life would be like if she had four daughters as opposed to four sons, she imagines Hal as overweight, most likely because of all of the stress of having five women in the house, and overprotective. He is also blamed by Frances, the oldest daughter, for none of her marriages working out. Although he does not show it much, he has a high temper, and usually flies into fits of rage over petty annoyances, frequently engaging in self-destructive vendettas against those who cross him. In the second-season episode Convention, when he and Lois go to a convention, he keeps getting into fist-fights with a man who stole a great idea from him long ago. Also when a clown at a batting cage insults Lois he immediately strikes the clown and continues to get the whole family involved when other clowns join the fray. Another example of his high temper is in the fifth-season episode Reese's Apartment, when he gets furious and starts speaking angry gibberish after hearing the horrible, outlandish thing that Reese did (which is never revealed). He is also very squeamish, and is terrified of cartoon characters like Rosie the Robot and "evil puppet" movies.

Because he is nowhere near as mean and intimidating as Lois is, His own sons are always quick to take advantage of him.

Hal is very devoted to his wife Lois. He likes the fact that he is "the only one who really understands" her and believes her to be his "special treasure." He also believes that both his happiness and the well-being of his sons depend largely on her. As a result, Hal supports Lois on most things and allows her to handle disciplining the boys. However, as a man, he often understands what his sons are going through better than Lois, and helps them accordingly, sometimes behind Lois' back. (For example, he drives Francis back to military school when he runs away, preventing Lois from finding and punishing him.) Although he usually defers to Lois, he also knows when to disagree with her; he calms Lois down when she starts going overboard, as she tends to do, and provides a balance to her abrasive and intense personality. In the episode "Mono" he believes her to be the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful woman in the world. It is also said that he loves her more than she loves him.

Hal has sunk to some great lows during the course of the show. He stole money from Francis to pay for paint, and stole Malcolm's new credit card to pay for a ski trip while trying to outdo the boys on Christmas, and lies to Dewey constantly. He even stole a present for Lois from someone in the mall. He is shown to be quite cowardly; when he and an idiot friend knocked down his bedroom wall in a drunken haze he tried to think of some way to blame it on the boys. When he ruins something he often bribes his sons to take the blame. While he and Lois blame a lot of their misfortunes on the boys, a lot of it seems to stem from Hal's own poor work ethic. He has also been shown to be criminally negligent with his children, he almost drove off with baby Jamie on the roof of the car, and once stated that he left Dewey in Mexico. He has also shown to be quite hypocritical, such as when he scolded Francis for lying to his wife Piama that he was on vacation when he was in fact fired from his job, while at the same time Hal was lying to his children (particularly Reese, Malcolm and Dewey) that he had a spectacular Christmas gift for them when he fact did not, which was caused by his jealously of his boys' presents. Hal even nearly sent Malcolm to a university not of his choice for an expensive ring offered to him by the university's recruiter, granted that Malcolm would certainly be sent to that university. He has even said out loud that he hates having children.

When he tries to help his sons, Hal usually only succeeds in humiliating them and himself horrendously.

Hal is not above throwing tantrums, or falling into complete despair. An example of this was when Lois's hateful mother Ida sued them and with a new baby on the way, and already hopelessly in debt, while he put a brave face on for Lois, he assumed no one was watching when he fell into a horrendous, wailing, sobbing fit (with Malcolm watching).

Hal fears Lois more than anything else (even more than the boys do). A great example of this was when he forgot to renew their health insurance (which was overdue for months). He madly tried to keep the boys from hurting themselves, only to ironically have a section of the roof fall on top of him breaking his leg. When Dewey called Lois for help, Hal ripped the line out, preferring to deal with great pain than face his wife.

Hal (like everybody else in his family) is intensely disliked by almost everyone he knows, especially with his co-workers. When his company was facing scandal, his co-workers set him up to take the fall.

He is quite passionate about a range of activities, such as roller-skating, painting, pirate radio and race walking. He also has a passion for electronics and listening to old music. Many subplots involving Hal are that he becomes obsessed with a single topic (usually an activity or errand) that he hopes to do or finish, which usually (but not always) ends with failure and frustration. He comes from a large and rich family, all members of which have various (repressed) problems. They rarely visit because of their intense friction with Lois. Hal's family believes that Hal deserved a high-class woman, instead of Lois, who has a lower-class background. His father (Christopher Lloyd) never listened to him, and so he always made jokes or tickled Hal before they both could speak about Lois. Even though his father only appeared once, his mother is mentioned, but never actually appeared.

Hal works as a low-level, cubicle-bound, white-collar worker in a large, scandal-ridden corporation. He was used as a scapegoat for much of the company's shady business practices, a charge that would have resulted in a lengthy prison term. However, with the help of Malcolm, Hal proved that he could not possibly be the guilty party because all of the incriminating evidence against him took place on Fridays, and Hal presented inarguable proof that he had been skipping work on Fridays for 15 years. He stated in the sixth-season episode Motivational Seminar that he works in systems management. In another episode Hal's company head stated that Hal was one of the best systems managers he ever had, however in the seventh-season episode College Recruiters (2) Hal says he could be replaced at his job in an hour.

Hal gives each of the boys "one free pass". He does so when they do something so horrible that he can't tell Lois about it. They don't get to choose when to use it, Hal decides by how bad it is, and how Lois would punish them if she found out. Each of the boys used their pass at a fairly young age apparently. In a flash back, Hal remembers all the times he gave them their "one free pass". Francis used his when he got handcuffed to a pole at a strip club, trying to get his money back from the stripper. Reese's was when he strapped roller skates to a horse and accidentally killed it in the driveway. Malcolm mixed the wrong chemicals in his chemistry set and blew/burned his and Hal's hair off leaving their scalps red, with some smoke trailing off. Hal caught Dewey smoking some of his ten year-old hidden cigarettes, which he had hidden all over the house when he was smoking, but had since forgotten. When he caught Dewey he had already become addicted to them, to the point of going in to the "crawl space" under the house to find more. However Lois found out and Hal had to find all of his hidden cigarettes. "Mom made Dad get rid of all of his old cigarettes. He's pretty motivated; she said she would make him eat any she found tomorrow morning," Malcolm said as his dad opened an air vent, letting a pile of cigarettes come falling out.


Malcolm in the Middle character
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance Graduation
Portrayed by Justin Berfield
Occupation Student, Fast-food cashier, Soldier, Exterminator, Meat packer, Telemarketer, Janitor, Bully
Family Hal (father)
Lois (mother)
Francis (older brother)
Malcolm (younger brother)
Dewey (younger brother)
Jamie (youngest brother)
Unborn sibling (brother/sister)

Reese, played by Justin Berfield, is the second oldest of the sons, and also appears to be the least intelligent and most destructive, although at some times has appeared as the main antagonist in a couple of episodes he shows even more intelligence than Malcolm when devising fiendish plans. He also has scored high on tests, when he set his mind to it, and had nothing to do but study, as shown in the episode in which he is kicked out and is alone, in which he is referred to as the "most improved student ever seen" by his teacher. Reese is often too tied up in violence and laziness to try to learn, and appears to have immense problems focusing. He even had a mean streak in the womb; while Lois was in labor, he kicked her so hard and so often that she forced herself to deliver him several hours ahead of schedule. Immediately following his delivery he kicked the doctor in the nose. His obsession with violence horrifies the family and leaves him with few friends, partly as he is a bully at school. He bullies the "Krelboynes" in Malcolm's class, (except Stevie who, because of being paraplegic, is "off limits" except in certain situations), as well as his younger brothers, especially Dewey. Reese is often seen exercising, to build his muscles. He is apparently the favorite grandson of both Ida and Victor, and in "Hal Sleepwalks", is implied to be Hal's favorite as well, Though most episodes show that both Lois and Hal have very little to no hope for Reese and just want him gone.

Reese has very little (if any) empathy with virtually no sense of right and wrong, and seems to enjoy doing bad things for the fun of it, despite the trouble he gets into. When he first showed a talent for cooking, he entered a cooking contest and despite being a clear winner sabotaged all of the other contestants, and when confronted about ruining an obese woman's quiche, he shows no regret on calling her fat. Reese has also been shown willing to sell out his own family to save himself. When Hal was trapped under a collapsed room while they were grounded, he was all for abandoning him and making a break for it. When Malcolm was doing badly at bowling, Reese led the whole bowling alley in making fun of him. Reese bought Dewey a new toy plane but then smashed it in front of him just to see the look on his face. Dewey said he was the worst brother ever, Reese said (excitedly), "I know, isn't it great?!".

Reese has been shown to be cowardly and is often quick to run when things turn against him.

It is very rare that his family is ever proud of him, When he was on the school wrestling team Malcolm states "We're still getting used to this whole proud of Reese thing". It even gets to the point where Hal and Lois openly admit that he is hopeless.

Because of his bullying and destructive nature he gains all lot of contempt from everyone around him, including his own family (especially Malcolm and Dewey). Both Malcolm and Dewey take great pleasure from whatever befalls Reese knowing full well he deserves it. Reese has been outsmarted and manipulated by Dewey many times.

Reese takes great pride in what victories come his way no matter how petty or meaningless, He was inadvertently an integral part in an experiment with a new enzyme Malcolm and Stevie were working on for a contest a local company was working on. But while the enzyme won and would go on to make millions of dollars, The company kept all the patent rights and cut the boys off completely, and because they were minors there was nothing they could do about it and all they won was a pencil case, while Malcolm put on a happy face for the audience he was actually infuriated, but Reese was delighted at the prize.

Reese seems to find life easier the lower he keeps everyone's expectations.

During his teen years, Reese ran off to join the army (after discovering that his girlfriend was cheating on him with Malcolm) without telling his family where he had gone. He was underage at the time, but managed to enlist using a fake ID. He was successful in completing Basic Training and was praised as one of the most brilliant soldiers in his platoon after he learned to "turn his brain off" and surrender his will to his superiors. He "turned his brain back on" during a war game and utilized his past experiences with his family to allow his side to win. After being sent to Afghanistan in combat conditions, Reese immediately deserts and starts trying to make his way home, unwittingly marrying an Arab man in the process. When Lois discovers what he has done, she informs the recruiter that he is underage, gets implicit permission to bring him back, then flies halfway around the world to do just that. Late in Season 6, he deliberately fails all of his final exams so that he will have to repeat his entire senior year of high school, thus making sure that he can live at home for one more year.

Despite Reese's outwardly unintelligent facade, he discovered a gift for cooking in his early teen years. He is gifted at gourmet cooking and enjoys it; the only effective way his parents can find to punish him is banning him from the kitchen. He finds success in a meat-packing job, but is fired after setting all the cows free (trying to impress a girl).

Reese is depicted as a virgin with limited sexual knowledge, although he manages to go several dates with girls. In the episode "Morp", a girl named Jeanie pays Reese to take her to the senior prom because she had been too focused on getting into college and can't find a date by normal means. Reese turns out to be a gentleman and sweeps her off her feet. Although Jeanie did not initially plan to do anything with Reese after the prom itself, she invites him to go to the beach with her and tells him, "I really want you." Before Reese can accept, his watch alarm goes off, indicating that he is "off the clock" and leaves, revealing that he was only nice to "satisfy his customer". At one point, Reese's grandmother Ida makes Malcolm and Reese fight over a teenage girl friend named Raduca, who comes from the same village as Ida. The winner is supposed to marry Raduca. Reese ends up being together with her and subsequently moves into the family's garage with her. Raduca immediately cheats on Reese and ends up getting deported, because Reese wasn't able to answer simple questions about her, even claiming that she has a tail. He starts dating a girl named Alison in the episode "Forbidden Girlfriend", who is as intelligent as he is, although he considers her to be smarter than he is. They keep dating until the prom, since Reese originally planned to have a fight with her before it and make up with her afterward, so he wouldn't have to pay the expenses for going to the prom. She makes him go anyway, but announces that she will break up with him immediately after the prom.

After graduating high school, Reese moves in with Craig Feldspar and finds success as a janitor. In a telephone conversation with Malcolm in the season finale, Rease says that when the principal found the peepholes in the bathroom, the head janitor was fired, and his job was given to Reese.


Malcolm in the Middle character
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance Graduation
Portrayed by Erik Per Sullivan
Occupation Student, Special Student
Family Hal (father)
Lois (mother)
Francis (oldest brother)
Reese (older brother)
Malcolm (older brother)
Jamie (youngest brother)
Unborn sibling (brother/sister)

Dewey, played by Erik Per Sullivan, is portrayed as being quieter and more inclined to the arts than his brothers, at least until Jamie was born. It was noted in one episode that Dewey was exposed to radiation from a cracked microwave while in the womb. In Funeral, Malcolm mentions that Dewey's birthday is next week. He was almost born on the lawn of the family house after everyone had to evacuate due to toxic fumes from an accident with Malcolm's chemistry set. He hides his intellect from Malcolm and Reese, in many cases cleverly taking advantage of them. But for much of the series he is frequently beat up and picked on by Reese and Malcolm. In one episode he fools Reese into believing he is forwarding instructions from their mother when in fact he is making them up while talking to a telemarketer, Francis, a time and temperature lady, or even no one on the phone ("Hal's Friend"). Despite being a genius like his older brother Malcolm, Dewey is the opposite in terms of personality. There is a chance that Dewey downplays his intelligence where the rest of his family are concerned, perhaps so that Hal and Lois would not try to invest time in influencing his personal life, much like they do with Malcolm. He is also perhaps the favorite child because he always gets the best out of everything as evidenced by the line from Lois "There are no favorites in this family" to which Hal wonders out loud "Where is Dewey?" in the episode Forwards Backwards.

In the earlier seasons, Dewey was shown to have a very poor grip on reality. Often from his point of view when he asks his parents nicely for something while in reality throwing a horrendous tantrum. He had often been shown biting heads off his toys, eating parts of a teddy bear, marbles, coins and even underwear. His memories and fantasy also deviated away from reality or the current situation greatly as when he remembered a car incident HE was driving while Lois was saying his name, and while Malcolm and Reese were fantising on how cool they would look on a motor bike, Dewey was imagining himself with six arms.

Dewey is sometimes abnormally calm and stoic in dangerous situations, as in "Zoo" when he and Malcolm are trapped in a tiger pit and the show almost ends. Dewey assures Malcolm that they will be all right even as the tigers start to close in; he is proven correct when Reese and a goat he has been fighting fall into the pit and distract the tigers. In "Bowling" when he was sent to his bedroom as punishment, for killing the neighbor's parakeet, in one version of the scenario (the episode shows what happens when Hal or Lois take the boys bowling) he gets Hal to fall asleep then has fun all night, and when Lois is the one who stays at home, he acts calm enough for her to let him watch TV (though suspicious if this is a new tactic she only lets him watch C-SPAN).

While Dewey holds a great deal of animosity for his brothers, the one he despises the most is Reese, and takes great delight in what pain comes his way.

Dewey longs for attention, especially in Future Malcolm, where he tries to convince his parents that the baby is talking to him from within the womb and forcing Dewey to do crazy things such as painting a wall green, driving the family car and breaking a stack of crockery (however, Dewey might have been telling the truth, when he says that the baby wants Lois to turn around, Lois sees Hal, who has a fatness fetish, and has been fattening her up all episode, pouring maple syrup into her tea). As the series progressed, most episodes involving Dewey would have him viewed as a manipulator when dealing with his brothers or parents. Examples of this are the episode Stevie in the Hospital, when he made Lois think she was losing her mind by messing with her clothes and daily routine, and in Dewey's Opera, when he fueled a fight between Lois and Hal so he would have better material for the opera he was writing based on their fight. In Baby Part One, Dewey was angered to learn that his parents, or possibly just Hal, had completely forgotten that the day they planned to induce labor on Jamie was his birthday. He got back at Hal when, at the Bridal Expo they were attending, Dewey went around collecting sympathy from people who were working at the expo by telling them his story. They then set it up so Dewey could reveal what Hal did to the entire convention in order to publicly shame him.

In the fourth season, Dewey begins to exhibit a high degree of intelligence, seen mainly in his talent of playing the piano and composing music. The episode "Humilithon" reveals his start on the instrument: he has a piano delivered to the garage and teaches himself in a series of 15-minute daily lessons. In "Malcolm Visits College," Dewey even builds a fully functioning organ out of various appliances and objects, simultaneously driving Hal insane with the disappearing items (Hal had previously refused to buy Dewey a piano to play). Dewey is perhaps more intelligent than Malcolm, in one episode it shows that Dewey has memories from when he was a baby and dropped by his grandparents. Dewey is about to follow his brother into the gifted class, only to have Malcolm help him stay in normal classes. Malcolm has Reese complete Dewey's test, which accidentally gets Dewey thrown into the "Special" class, which is full of kids considered lost causes. Students in this class are known as the "Buseys" (a reference to actor Gary Busey). Dewey has since organized the class to desire more normalized expectations, and taught them standard lessons. He has been trying to show that they are just as capable as others, and has organized them to do things such as performing an opera he wrote based on his family. Unlike Malcolm, his parents intend for Dewey to be rich and happy later in life. Lois even once told Malcolm that "Dewey is a flier; he'll just drift and float through life and things will turn out for him. But you and I, Malcolm, are burrowers. We are at our best when our heads are down and we're grinding through a mountain of drudgery."

By the seventh season, it seems that Dewey is no longer in the "Buseys" class; however, it is not specified whether Dewey had been restored to mainstream classes, or if he had been transferred to the Krelboynes.

Dewey spends much effort making sure his brother Jamie does not feel neglected as he did. Jamie once showed Dewey a pearl necklace, as a result Jamie and Dewey went on a treasure hunt looking for the "stash" (where Francis' hid Lois' jewelry) as part of a back story, in the end it turned out that Jamie was stealing jewelry from their neighbor's house. In Morp, Dewey learns that his parents have practically no baby photos, or photos of him growing up. He then stages an elaborate scavenger hunt for his parents to complete, after Lois and Hal kicked him out of the house so that they could have sex while Malcolm and Reese were at their prom and Hal gave him his wallet. Dewey had the two collecting party supplies and food, and then spent the rest of Hal's money renting out a video arcade. Lois and Hal learned he did it so Jamie could have his own private party, and to give them an opportunity to not ignore him growing up like they did Dewey. While Lois still punished him, she admitted it was a nice thing he did for his brother.


Malcolm in the Middle character
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance Graduation
Portrayed by Christopher Kennedy Masterson
Occupation Vandal (young age), Cadet, Student, Kitchen worker, Rancher, Band manager, Office Clerk
Family Hal (father)
Lois (mother)
Reese (younger brother)
Malcolm (younger brother)
Dewey (younger brother)
Jamie (youngest brother)
Unborn sibling (brother/sister)
Spouse(s) Piama

Francis, played by Christopher Kennedy Masterson, is the oldest of the brothers and the biggest troublemaker. Francis is a regular character on the show for the first five seasons, although he has lived outside the house from the series' beginning. His mother, Lois, was in labor with Francis in the middle of her wedding to Hal. Francis was a troublemaker from a young age; he broke curfew, drank, smoked and slept around. Lois exiled him to a military academy after he was caught in bed with his girlfriend, and crashed the neighbor's car (which proceeded to burn up), and got four nose rings (Lois warned him he would go to military academy if he got so much as one). From afar, Francis provides fodder for many subplots. Francis is shown (in frequent flashbacks) dating girls of which his parents did not approve, although he claims to be in love. He also once attempted to light a teddy bear on fire. He has been shown to be obsessive and going out of his way to prove Lois wrong (such as getting his nose pierced multiple times just in order to spite his mother who forbade him to do so). Francis did not feel guilt for the things he did and believed his actions were justified, no matter how horrendous they were.

Francis blames his mother for most of his problems and, at one point, even pretends to be an alcoholic in a ploy to make her feel guilty. Francis has a very poor relationship with his grandmother Ida, as they are often seen arguing and they both attempt to make each other miserable and even try to hurt each other (In the episode "Baby" Ida seriously hurt Francis by squeezing his crotch, and in "Graduation" Francis attempted to kill Ida by grabbing a fireplace poker)

During the first two seasons, at the military academy, rebellious Francis finds a formidable adversary in Commandant Edwin Spangler, whose hook-for-a-hand proved a valuable comic device as Francis sows insurrection in the student ranks. In his time there it is shown that Franicis' vandalism at school is caused (at least in part) by his desire to stand up to Spangler after the Commandant's cruel treatment of other cadets. At the beginning of the third season,Francis heard about a supposedly lucrative logging job in Alaska from his friend Eric and tried to convince Lois to let him go. Lois refused, and in a rage, Francis slammed phone off the wall, landing on his foot, and while hopping around in pain caused a display case to fall on him. Despite the 9 inch gash in his leg, Spangler insisted Francis rebuild the case himself immediately despite his injury. This was the last straw, and at only 17 years old, he legally emancipates himself with the help of forged signatures and an unscrupulous Alabama lawyer. He then leaves the academy, accidentally cutting off Spangler's remaining hand in the process, and heads to Alaska to work in the kitchen at a logging camp.

While in Alaska, Francis finds that the job is anything but what Eric described. Once there he is under the employ of the malevolent Lavernia, a cruel and brutal woman who works him to the bone at extremely little pay. Despite clearly ruining his life, Francis prefers this than proving Lois right. After several misadventures he marries a local woman, Piama, whom he had dated for one month. Lois reacts hysterically and continues to be somewhat hostile toward Piama for some time. Piama, like Lois, is hot-tempered and does not shrink when Lois goes after her. By season 4 Francis and Piama have left Alaska (due to the closure of the logging camp) and Francis finds work as a farmhand at a New Mexico dude ranch owned by a German couple. Here, Francis becomes more of a responsible adult: he even begins to discipline his younger brothers, who always regarded him as a rule-breaking role model. A little over two years after he begins working at the ranch, however, he is fired because the ATM he used to deposit the ranch's funds was not actually an ATM (it is not told what it was, though it's hinted to be a food trough).

For the remainder of seasons six and seven, Francis makes only occasional appearances, yet he is still credited in each episode. While visiting Francis, Dewey discovers that he has regressed and reverted to his old ways, living in a cheap apartment without getting a job. Here, he briefly takes a job as the manager for his friend's band and attempts to start his own business.

In the final episode, Francis and his mother fight over the fact that he remains unemployed. Later, his father discovers that Francis has been working at a large corporation called Amerisys Industries for two months. He explains that he enjoys his job of sitting in a tiny cubicle entering data into computers all day immensely, but he kept the job a secret from his family because he equally enjoys frustrating his mother by telling her that he is unemployed. Francis' final scene shows him taunting his mother over the phone with his non-existent unemployment by yelling, "You just can't stand that your son is still a free spirit!" He then picks up his briefcase, makes plans to come home right after work for dinner with Piama, kisses her, and happily heads to the office.


Malcolm in the Middle character
First appearance Baby (2)
Last appearance Graduation
Portrayed by

James and Lukas Rodriguez

Kara and Jessica Sanford (earlier episodes)
Occupation Daycare, Lois' bane of existence
Family Hal (father)
Lois (mother)
Francis (first sibling)
Reese (second sibling)
Malcolm (third sibling)
Dewey (fourth sibling)
Unborn sibling (brother/sister)

Jamie was played by identical twin brothers James and Lukas Rodriguez in his later episodes.[9] In his earlier episodes when he was a baby, he was played by twin sisters Jessica and Kara Sanford.[10] The character first appeared in season four of the show on May 18, 2003.[11] Jamie is the youngest of the family for almost all of the series, but that changes on the series finale's Epilogue where it is revealed that Lois is pregnant again. Like his older brothers, in the episode "Lois Battles Jamie", Jamie proves to be more than a handful for Lois; refusing to eat his peas, getting himself banned from Gymboree and being able to slip away from his chair numerous times. He is also the first of the boys to attempt to kill Lois by pushing a huge shelf on her, but is unsuccessful, as Lois rolled away just in time. (However, it was revealed that Reese had been giving him three cans of Kapow soda per day, which is why Jamie had been acting so crazy. According to Reese, "half a can made him nuts.") Jamie was the first to ever actually break Lois' spirit, forcing her and Hal to call Francis so he could remember what made her the mother she was. Though Francis was in extremely emotional pain he managed to remind Lois what made her the parent she was. Jamie has managed to remain silent for a vast majority of his time on the series. The only words that he ever said were "shut up," when Lois, in an effort to get Jamie to start talking, filled every second with thoughts about her day and early life, most notably about her miserable adolescence and "Francis" in the episode "Blackout". In the character's first appearance, Jamie's gender was left ambiguous. But in "Vegas", Hal tells Jamie "Nice try, Mister," after his attempts to urinate on him. "Ida's Boyfriend" Lois points out to Ida that Jamie is her grandson. Thereby, confirming that Jamie is a boy.

Recurring characters

  • Caroline Miller, played by Catherine Lloyd Burns, Malcolm's teacher, appears in most of the first-season and two of the second-season episodes. She was very passionate about her job and had Malcolm's best interests at heart. She disappeared from the series after giving birth in the school parking lot, the result of a mis-programmed model rocket launch intended as a prank by the Krelboynes.
  • Victor Welker and Ida Kenzel, played by Robert Loggia and Cloris Leachman respectively, are Lois's dysfunctional parents, introduced in the episode "The Grandparents." Ida is depicted as greedy, chain-smoking, manipulative, racist, and quick to take offense. The only good deed she has ever done is saving Dewey from being run over by a truck; this resulted in her suffering the loss of one of her legs. Victor's background is obscure, except for mention that he left home at a young age and that he was in "the war." Ida often refers to a hard life growing up in "The Old Country" and going through "a camp." While they speak with Slavic accents and appear to be from somewhere in Eastern Europe, their exact nationality is never specified, and may be intended to be fictional. However, an episode which centers on a fictitious "St. Grotus Day" feast appears to take place in a Croatian community center, with a Croatian flag and a poster of Zagreb Cathedral on the wall. Victor, who had died by the time Ida made her second appearance on the season 3 episode "Christmas," had been keeping his second family a secret from Lois and her sister, Susan, (Laurie Metcalf)[12]: He had run off and married a good-natured Canadian woman, played by Betty White. In the episode "Victor's Other Family," it was further revealed that Victor was not Lois's biological father and its unknown if Victor is really Susans father.
  • Piama Tananahaakna, played by Emy Coligado, is Francis' wife; she appears for the first time in "Hal's Birthday" during the third season. She was 19 when she married Francis, and had been married before. Her mother moved away long ago, and her father kicked her out when she was 14 for throwing away his liquor. After Lois is mistreated by Hal's family, Lois treats Piama better, seeing that the actions against her by her husband's family reflect how she is acting towards Piama. Their relations change permanently after Hal and Francis take a motorcycle roadtrip against their wives' wishes. She later comes to work for the Mannkussers (who own the dude ranch where Francis works). She mostly serves as a voice of reason between Francis and his family. Although it has never been directly stated (Francis says she is "fiery" in "Hal's Birthday"), the series hints that both her attitude towards Francis and others, and her mannerisms, are very much like Lois'. As shown in the final episode, she supports Francis' new job as a programmer, and his decision not to tell Lois about it.
  • Craig Feldspar, portrayed by David Anthony Higgins, is Lois' neurotic, though well-intentioned, co-worker at the Lucky Aide. It was made obvious on numerous occasions that Craig is in love with Lois, and he even told her so when he thought he was going to die. He is generally depicted as an indolent, unpopular, and bumbling character, although on occasion he shows flashes of apparent greatness. He is seen in several occasions to be extremely fussy and obnoxious. In Episode 512 - "Softball" - Craig, nicknamed "The Satin Hammer", plays for the Lucky Aide softball team and remarks to a disbelieving Malcolm that he had been scouted by the "Kyoto Crazy Phantoms". He then makes a diving play on a seemingly unplayable ball to prove his ability. He appears frequently in the show, especially during later seasons, as his character becomes more entwined with Lois and her family. After entrusting his house and cat ("Jelly Bean") to Dewey's care while he is away, and the resulting fire that destroys it, he lives with Malcolm's family for a short time until the boys' scheme to cover their tracks ends up getting him out. As pitiful as his life is, Craig much prefers this over being under the rule of his fitness minded father who owns a successful chain of gyms. The series ends with Reese moving out of the house and becoming Craig's roommate.
  • Abraham "Abe" Kenarban, played by Gary Anthony Williams. Abe is the devoted father to Stevie and husband to Kitty. He is also Hal's best friend and enjoys playing poker with him and his other friends: Trey, Brian, Malik, and Steve. When sufficiently scared or unnerved, he is prone to asthma attacks.
  • Kitty Kenarban, played by Merrin Dungey. Stevie's mother and Abe's wife. At first, Kitty didn't allow her son take part in many activities, due to her fear that he would get hurt. Kitty was generally soft-spoken, and was shown to be quite repressed, and avoided all forms of confrontation. However, after getting to know Lois, she began to express her anger more vocally. Kitty disappears from the series after the third season premiere, and Abe later confides in Hal and Lois that she left him, but he was unable to tell Stevie. It is revealed that she becomes a porn star, among other things. She returns in season six, claiming that she had to be bad after being good for so long, but is 'done'. She makes no further appearances in the show after her return, although she was mentioned by Abe a few times after her final appearance. (In the pilot episode Dungey plays a different character: Malcolm's teacher, before he transfers to the Krelboyne class.)
  • Stevie Kenarban, played by Craig Lamar Traylor. As Malcolm's best friend, Stevie first meets him in the pilot; they are in the same accelerated class through middle school and most of high school. They originally met on a play date and took a liking to each other through a mutual interest in comic books. Stevie is a wheelchair user and has severe asthma, and only one lung; as a result, he speaks softly and can only say one or two words on each breath. However, despite these handicaps, Stevie seems to be a normal teenager and does not let his physical disadvantages keep him from having a relatively normal life and even uses his handicap to his advantage. He is seem in several episodes milking his handicap to get favors from others, guilt his parents into buying him things, flirt with girls, and even pulling pranks or getting other kids in trouble. Stevie has a sarcastic side, has outsmarted Malcolm and Reese numerous times, and has even managed to get the better of Reese physically on occasion. He has been shown to be a far stronger person than both his parents.(Even Abe admitted he was a weak small man).
  • Cynthia Sanders, played by Tania Raymonde, is a new and outgoing Krelboyne girl who joins Malcolm's class in the episode "Krelboyne Girl." Cynthia is one of Malcolm's first crushes throughout the series but quickly takes on the role of a caring and compassionate friend. She knows Krav Maga, which she promptly uses to subdue Reese when his behavior becomes too annoying to her. She is cited as also having very large breasts for her age. In season three her prolonged absence is explained by stating that she has returned from Europe. After sharing a brief romance with Reese (in which he is only trying to take advantage of her to see her breasts) she returns in the season four episode "Humilithon," she saves Malcolm from making a horrible mistake by saying they had sex; destroying her own reputation in the process. After this episode she is never seen again and there is no explanation as to what became of her.
  • Lloyd and Dabney Hooper, played by Evan Matthew Cohen and Kyle Sullivan, are Malcolm and Stevie's Krelboyne classmates and best friends for the first four seasons of the show. As Krelboynes (gifted students), Lloyd and Dabney are often bullied by their classmates (including Reese), and they often suffer the consequences of schemes with which they help Malcolm. However, even though they're Krelboynes, they actually do get into trouble like the time in the episode "High School Play", they built a rocket as their "secret project", the rocket went out of control and wreaks havoc throughout the school. Like Malcolm's other Krelboyne friends, Lloyd and Dabney appear less frequently during the show's fourth season, eventually leaving Stevie as Malcolm's only friend by Season 5. Interestingly, Lloyd and Dabney are two of the undergraduate houses at Caltech, a university well known for its emphasis on the natural sciences and engineering.
  • Eraserhead, played by Will Jennings, is one of Malcom's other Kreylboyne classmates, he is seen less frequently than the other Kreylboyne students but is shown to have a talent for playing the piano, and often gets involved in class theatre productions. It is known he has an older brother who beats Reese up in the episode "Krelboyne Picnic" after he is caught tormenting Eraserhead.
  • Jessica, played by Hayden Panettiere, is a teenage girl who first made an appearance as a babysitter that Hal hired so that he could take on a second job while Lois was away tending to her pregnancy. Proving to be more of a threat than initially thought, she turned out to be as scheming, conniving and manipulative as any of the boys. In later episodes she was a frequent visitor as a neighbor who would come over to escape a negligent father. Working again for her own benefit she proceeded to create uncomfortable situations including convincing the family to see Mamma Mia! and convincing both Malcolm and Reese that the other was homosexual. In season seven she replaced Stevie as Malcolm's best friend and, though manipulative, did her best to look after Malcolm during that time. In one of the final episodes she convinces Malcolm to end a detrimental relationship claiming that she has feelings for him. After he returns to her once he ends his previous engagement, she confesses that she had once again lied. When Malcolm is upset that he has once again fallen for one of her tricks she kisses him, responding next with 'Yeah, nothing.' With Stevie's return Jessica is no longer seen; even during graduation. Much like Cynthia, her character has frequent breaks in between episodes, but unlike Cynthia, Jessica is given much more of a back story and her absences are fewer in the later season, making her more of a central guest character. In one episode it is revealed that she dates a very large and muscular Asian named Mike, whom Dewey uses to his advantage, in order to get Reese beaten up.
  • Lionel Herkabe, played by Chris Eigeman, Malcolm's dry, stuffy, selfish, uptight, and somewhat competitive teacher and later principal for 8th grade and much of High School, is divorced and in debt though he used to be a dot-com millionaire. He was a Krelboyne like Malcolm and manipulates him for his own purposes. The relationship between Malcolm and Herkabe is somewhat strained since Malcolm considers Herkabe to be his least favorite teacher and also thinks that he has been out to get him since the day they met, since Herkabe actually told him that, as revealed in Humilithon. In the same episode, Hal also displays a dislike for Herkabe since he makes him and Lois sign up as parental volunteers because of uncivilized behavior on school property for the first week of school. Hal refers to him as "Jerkabe", the name that he calls him behind his back. Hal eventually apologized to Herkabe the next day, but does not accept the apology and verbally expels Hal from the volunteer program. However, he casually shows up the next day and is seen mopping the floor. Herkabe angrily notices this and after some angry wordplay between the two, they then engage in a gladiator-type fight with mops. Even Malcolm's classmate dislike him, to some degree, because of his competitiveness. During his appearances on the show, Malcolm always wound up being the guineapig for many of Herkabe's carefully planned schemes, only for them to be defeated by Malcolm at the end of each episode, such as in Academic Ocathalon where he tricked Malcolm into joining and encouraging the Academics team to cheat at the quiz event and then reporting it to the moderator, causing Herkabe's team to get disqualified. In Malcolm Films Reese Malcolm is assigned by Herkabe to videotape Reese for a class, but finds out it was nothing more than a trap for Herkabe to blackmail Reese and his permanent record. At the end of the episode, Malcolm triggers a fight between two seniors and when Herkabe goes to break it up, Malcolm locks himself in his office and announces everyone's permanent records over the loudspeaker. Herkabe's last official appearnace was in Malcolm Defends Reese where he had Reese transferred to his "special" class and humiliates him every day until he passes. Malcolm, angry and tired of Herkabe humiliating Reese too many times, exposes his deep personal secret. He flunked gym at a young age and the principal strips his teaching award off Herkabe and winds up as a student in gym class, where a devious Reese continuously assaults him with dodgeballs.
  • Commandant Edwin Spangler, played by Daniel von Bargen. The strict and hard-nosed military veteran in charge of the cadets at Marlin Academy. He suffers from dozens of injuries and has lost his right eye, his left hand, and his right ring finger; ironically none of these are combat-related, as he has never served in wartime. For the first two seasons and beginning of season three, Francis was Spangler's most rebellious student and clashed with him on many occasions. Halfway through the third season, Spangler reveals that he was about to quit his job from boredom, but Francis gave him a purpose in life in trying to discipline him. He affectionately presents a ceremonial sword in recognition to Francis, who then accidentally cuts off his one remaining hand. Afterward Spangler's life goes downhill as Francis stood out as his only failure. Spangler is fired from the academy, tracks Francis to Alaska, and attempts to kill him at first. Taking pity on Commandant Spangler, Francis attempts to get him a job but he fails his interview by showing up drunk. Eric and Francis realize that 'the only thing that ever made him remotely happy was tormenting and bullying helpless students.' They quickly find him a job at the Snow Haven Retirement Home where he has the freedom to bully the elderly. After this he is never seen again.
  • Cadet Eric Hanson, played by Eric Nenninger. Francis' fellow cadet at the academy, and friend for the first three seasons. Eric was Francis's reluctant sidekick and normally suffered the consequences of the antics caused by Francis. On several occasions, Eric has mentioned that he has two fathers. At the start of season three, Eric turns eighteen, drops out of the academy, and goes to work in an Alaskan lodge. Francis emancipates himself and follows soon after, but both of them learn that their job is not as great as they hoped. Francis eventually gets a job at a ranch, but Eric is left behind to hitchhike on the highway, possibly as revenge for suggesting Alaska in the first place. His fate is unknown.
  • Cadet Drew, played by Drew Powell. A minor character in the first and second season. He is physically the strongest of the cadets, but emotionally the weakest. As with other recurring characters from Marlin Academy, he is never seen again after Francis left to work in Alaska.
  • Cadet Stanley, played by Karim Prince. A cadet at the academy, and Francis' friend & informal body guard during the first season. Cadet Stanley is shown to have a hard core appreciation for the military lifestyle. He is shown doing pull ups whilst having Francis hold on to him to add extra weight. When the majority of the school leaves on an outdoor survival trip, Stanley claims he believes strongly in the trip and threatens to break Francis' clavicles if he does not attend. Later when cadets are showing off their survival skills based on how little equipment they are bringing, Stanley enters the room completely naked except for camouflage paint over his entire body.
  • Richie, played by Todd Giebenhain, is Francis's best friend before military school, and Francis often visits Richie on his trips back home during the first two seasons. He is a vagabond and delinquent who was eventually shipped off to military school with Francis. He was Reese's boss in a fast-food restaurant called "Circus Burger", where he stole hundreds of dollars from the cash register and framed Reese for the theft. It is never explained why Richie disappears or why Francis never sees him again after the third season. He once gave Francis an injury by clipping his nasty toenails and hitting Francis in the eye with it. He is last mentioned in the season 6 episode "Stilts" by Francis, claiming he tried to dry off Reese in the oven after he had taken several different pills at once.
  • Lavernia, played by Brenda Wehle, is Francis' cruel, heartless boss at the Alaskan lodge. Lavernia rules over her workers with an iron fist, charging them so much for everything that they end up owing her money. Eventually she closes down the lodge and fires her workers after they cut down all the trees on the company's land and a mining operation buys it.
  • Otto Mannkusser, played by Kenneth Mars. Francis' German boss and sidekick for the fourth and fifth seasons. He meets Francis while he had a 1974 broken car at the highway coming down from Alaska. Otto is in charge of The Grotto, a dude ranch (named after the two in the episode "Zoo,", Otto says "She is Gretchen, I am Otto - Grotto"). Otto is married to Gretchen and has an estranged son. Otto is gullible and a bit of a pushover; he hires too many employees and gives them extra vacation days. However, after Francis works on the ranch for a little over two years, Otto fires him when the ATM that Francis was depositing his funds into was not really an ATM. His last name might be derived from the ill-formed German expression "Mannküsser", literally meaning "man kisser." In the German version of the show, the Mannkussers are Danes and speak with a very heavy Danish accent.
  • Gretchen Mannkusser, played by Meagen Fay, is the wife of Otto and the co-runner of the Grotto. She is a kind and caring woman. As Otto explained to Francis, their marriage was by deceit: Gretchen was actually the girlfriend of Otto's best friend, but Otto loved her as well. When they were planning to elope, Gretchen's intended arranged for her to meet him at a rendezvous point, but he lied about the actual location and said he would meet her at the train station in Berlin. When his friend did not show up, Otto came and comforted her and they married. They had a son named Rutger.
  • The Poker Players, played by Dab Martin (Malik), Jonathan Craig Williams (Steve), Edward James Gage (Brian), Alex Morris (Trey), play poker with Hal and Abe. They are all African American and have high-class careers. They are also seen in a band with Hal and Abe in the episode Long Drive.
  • Polly, played by Julie Hagerty, is Jamie's slightly insane hippie babysitter. She usually gets people involved in her own problems, such as the time when Malcolm had to keep a secret about Polly stealing back her ashes. She also dated Abe and Craig at the same time but in the end admitting they are more of a distraction to her career. She refers many times to family issues such as court cases. Polly disappears by the end of season 5, and by season 7, it is revealed that they have a new babysitter for Jamie.
  • The Buseys are Deweys classmates in the special class, although only three make recurring appearances and have speaking roles. They are educationally and socially looked down upon by their students and peers.
  • Hanson, played by Danny McCarthy Jr., is a Busey who thinks he rides a motorcycle and has an occasional stutter. In "Hal Sleepwalks", it is implied that he became class president after breaking down at a debate and started cursing rampantly. In "Election" it is revealed that he has Tourette Syndrome.
  • Zoe, played by Amy Bruckner, is a Busey who thinks she can talk to animals. She has an imaginary alter ego she refers to as "Bad Zoe" She plays Lois in Dewey's Opera and runs for class president in "Hal Sleepwalks".
  • Chad, played by Cameron Monaghan, is a very aggressive Busey whose shirt always has a sheet of paper on it with some kind of warning, such as "Seizures may be a trap" or "Do not corner". He is also usually seen wearing oven mitts. Chad has an overactive imagination, shown when he believes there are four of him and when he thinks he can make a teacher burst into flames by staring at him. In the episode Chad's Sleepover he is seen to be obsessively neat and organized, as he rearranges everything in Malcolm's house according to factors such as color and texture, at one point stating "Rough can't go next to smooth."


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