- “Malcolm in the Middle” ran for seven seasons and introduced viewers to the dysfunctional Wilkerson family while exploring the extended family dynamic.
- The show featured guest appearances from Hal’s father, Walter, and his two sisters, Claire and Amelia, providing insights into Hal’s family relationships.
- Bryan Cranston portrayed Hal, the laid-back patriarch of the family, while Jane Kaczmarek played the strict and commanding Lois, creating a unique dynamic in the household.
Malcolm in the Middle starred Frankie Muniz as the titular character — Malcolm Wilkerson — and revolved around his dysfunctional family, which consisted of his parents and three (four later in the television series) brothers. The Fox sitcom premiered on January 9, 2000, and ran for seven seasons and 151 episodes before the network canceled it in 2006. Although the show was quite popular at the beginning, viewership started to steadily decline toward the end of its run, leading to its cancelation and fans having to say goodbye to the Wilkerson family.
Over the course of Malcolm in the Middle‘s seven seasons, the series mainly focused on the nuclear Wilkerson family members. However, some episodes introduced the audience to the extended family, including Hal’s father and two sisters. The show also added a new Wilkerson toward the middle of its run, bringing the total number of important family members (who either appeared in at least one episode or were mentioned) to 12 characters.
The eldest Wilkerson family member in Malcolm in the Middle was Walter Wilkerson, played by the legendary Christopher Lloyd. Lloyd only appeared as Walter, Hal’s father and Francis, Reese, Malcolm, and Dewey’s grandfather, in season 4, episode 3, “Family Reunion.” The episode featured Hal, Lois, and their children traveling to Walter’s house for a big family reunion, where Hal confronted his issues with his father (and the rest of his family). Although Lloyd never returned to the series following season 4, his character was killed offscreen in Malcolm in the Middle season 7, episode 14.
Even though Sharon Wilkerson was never a part of the Malcolm in the Middle cast, it would be remiss not to mention her. Sharon was Walter’s wife and Hal’s mother, and it is implied that she died prior to the beginning of the sitcom. She was mentioned a handful of times throughout the series, and it seemed as if Sharon was the only one who supported Hal’s decision to marry Lois, while Walter, Claire, and Amelia were against it.
Like Walter, Claire Wilkerson, played by Jeannine Jackson, only starred in one episode of Malcolm in the Middle — season 4, episode 3, “Family Reunion.” Claire was Walter and Sharon’s eldest child, making her Hal’s older sister. Since she was only featured in one episode, not much was known about her, aside from the fact that she was married to a man named Tom. Additionally, Claire hated Lois and wasn’t afraid to make her dislike towards her sister-in-law known.
Amelia Wilkerson, played by Brenda Strong, also only appeared in “Family Reunion.” She was Claire’s younger sister and Hal’s older sister, making her the middle child (just like Malcolm). Like her father and sister, Amelia was not a fan of Lois’ and was against Hal marrying her.
Bryan Cranston portrayed Hal, the patriarch of the Wilkerson family, in all seven seasons of Malcolm in the Middle. Hal was Walter’s son, Lois’ husband, and Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie’s father, and he was known for his clumsy, awkward tendencies. His wife was undoubtedly in the driver’s seat in their relationship, as he was the more relaxed parent when it came to disciplining their kids. Hal would always easily fold to Lois and was generally not the best father.
Lois Wilkerson, played by Jane Kaczmarek, was the matriarch of the central family in Malcolm in the Middle on Fox. As mentioned above, Lois was the designated strict parent since she was often the one punishing her and Hal’s children — Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie. She was the boss in the Wilkerson household, and everyone knew it. Like her husband, Lois had a complicated relationship with her side of the family, including her parents and sister, which made her into the parent she was in the sitcom.
Christopher Masteron’s Francis Wilkerson was the eldest of the Wilkerson siblings in Malcolm in the Middle. Hal and Lois’ oldest son was 16 years old when the Fox television series began, and due to his rebellious nature, his parents sent him to Marlin Academy, a military school. Francis spent two years there before he became emancipated from his parents and moved to Alaska, where he met his future wife, Piama. Francis eventually returned home, turned into a responsible adult, and made peace with his parents.
Piama Wilkerson (née Tananahaakna), played by Emy Coligado, dated Francis for a month before marrying him at 19 years old in Malcolm in the Middle season 3. Piama moved with Francis back to California following their wedding, and at first, Lois was not accepting of her daughter-in-law. However, over time, the two women grew to love one another, and Piama became a part of the Wilkerson family.
Justin Berfield portrayed Reese Wilkerson, the second-oldest child in the family, in the Fox sitcom. Reese was undoubtedly the most immature and reckless among his brothers, seeing as he rarely second-guessed his delinquent behavior and often picked on his younger siblings. Malcolm and Reese had a strained relationship because they were polar opposites, both at school and at home. But at the end of the day, they loved one another. By the series finale of Malcolm in the Middle, Reese moved out of his parents’ house and became a janitor at the high school.
Frankie Muniz starred as the protagonist, Malcolm Wilkerson, in all seven seasons of Malcolm in the Middle. As the title suggests, Malcolm was the middle child of the Wilkerson family. He learned he was a genius in the pilot episode and joined a class for gifted students, kickstarting his character arc in the television series. He often butted heads with his brothers, given his stubborn nature, and Malcolm frequently broke the fourth wall and spoke to the camera. In the series finale, Malcolm graduated from high school and started attending Harvard University.
Dewey Wilkerson, played by Erik Per Sullivan, was Hal and Lois’ youngest child (before Jamie was born in season 4) in Malcolm in the Middle. Dewey fully embodied the role of youngest sibling in the Fox sitcom since his brothers constantly bullied him and his parents often neglected him. When the show began, Dewey was only six years old but was also one of the most mature characters.
The final Wilkerson family member in the comedy series was Jamie, played by James and Lukas Rodriguez. Hal and Lois did not plan on having Jamie, but he was born during the season 4 finale anyway. His birth meant that Dewey was no longer the youngest child in the family. But Jamie never had a significant presence in Malcolm in the Middle, given that he was only three years old by the time it ended.
Malcolm in the Middle is available to stream on Hulu.