10 Things You Didn’t Know About Malcolm In The Middle
Malcolm in the Middle was a Fox sitcom that aired for seven seasons from January 2000 to May 2006. The show, which followed Malcolm and his eccentric family, received universal acclaim and won a Peabody Award, seven Emmy Awards, one Grammy Award, and seven Golden Globe nominations. It’s been over a decade since the popular series went off the air, so reminisce about the show with these 10 things you didn’t know about Malcolm in the Middle:
The creator of Malcolm in the Middle, Linwood Boomer, based the family in the show off of his own family and Malcolm off of himself. “It’s a gigantically exaggerated and self-serving version of my life and childhood,” Boomer told The New York Times. “My mother was very no-nonsense. Who could blame her? She was working while trying to keep up with four destructive and always hungry boys.” Like Malcolm, Boomer also had a very high IQ, but it wasn’t as high as Malcolm’s.
9. Aaron Paul as Francis?
Aaron Paul desperately wanted to audition for the role of Francis, but producers weren’t even interested in having him come in. “The funny thing about that is a lot of people thought I auditioned for Francis, but in reality they never would see me. I read the pilot of ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ because it was sent to me, and I desperately wanted to audition, but they kept passing (on) me,” he said during his Reddit AMA session.
8. Reese Wasn’t Older than Malcolm
On the show, Justin Berfield played Malcolm’s older brother Reese, but in real life, he was really less than three months younger than Frankie Muniz. While Berfield was born on February 25, 1986, Muniz was born December 5, 1985.
7. Francis’ Disappearance
Francis – who was played by Christopher Masterson – didn’t appear in many episodes during season six and seven because the actor took more of an interest in the production of the show. Instead of appearing on-screen, he wrote and directed many of the episodes during the show’s sixth and seventh season.
6. UPN Bought the Show First
UPN was the first network that Malcolm in the Middle was pitched to and, while the network initially bought the show, it was let go after four months. “UPN bought it and it was over there about four months, where it went through the standard development process, which Larry Gelbart has likened to being pecked to death by ducks,” creator Linwood Boomer told TV Guide. “No one knows what’s going to be good or not, but it certainly didn’t fit UPN’s target demographic, so rather than try to force the show into being something it’s not, they let it go.” Once UPN left Malcolm go, Fox immediately picked the show up.
5. Frankie Muniz’s Audition
The character Malcolm was supposed to be nine years old, but Frankie Muniz was 13 when he auditioned. He initially thought he was too old for the role, but producers were so taken with him that they decided to make Malcolm around the age of 12 and gave Muniz the part. “We’d geared up for this gigantic nationwide search, but on the second day of casting we got a tape from New York, and Frankie was there. It was obvious [it would be Frankie] from the get-go,” Linwood Boomer told People magazine.
4. Bryan Cranston’s Audition
Hal’s character was so underwritten at the time of Bryan Cranston’s audition that all the part consisted of at the time was listening to a fight between Lois and one of her sons so, during his audition, Cranston pulled out a pipe and just pretended to watch Lois and his son fight. Linwood Boomer found it so funny that he fell out of his chair laughing. “People say that, but I literally fell off my metal chair,” he told GQ. “He just had this vast inner life going on. You realize, ’This guy looks like he’s listening, but he’s actually building a rocket ship in his head.’”
Although the family’s surname, Wilkerson, was seen on Francis’ name tag during the pilot episode, afterward it was decided that the family would not have a last name. On set, there was a running joke that the family’s last name was “Nolastname.” In the series finale, however, the family’s surname, Nolastname, is seen again when Francis drops his work pass.
2. Keeping Malcolm’s Real Age a Secret
For the duration of the show, Malcolm’s age was kept a secret for creative reasons. “We’ve decided not to say anything about his age on the show,” Boomer said. “It’s like the city they live in. We’re just saying he’s attending middle school, not the actual grade level. We don’t want to be locked into something. Kids are so protean with what they say, anyway. Sometimes they act like 9-year-olds and sometimes like 30-year-olds.”
1. Bryan Cranston’s Stunts
On the show, Bryan Cranston did a number of his own stunts. He did his own disco roller skating in the episode “Rollerskates” and in the episode “The Bots and the Bees” he wore a suit of live bees! “He loaded them on, and all of a sudden the bees are all over me. A hundred thousand bees. They weighed, like, 25 pounds,” he told Deseret News. “I had to have it on for an hour. So bees are crawling in my eyes and over my nose. It looked like I had armor on. It was amazing.” Although he was covered in more than 10,000 bees for that stunt, he was only stung twice!