Five Times Malcolm Was as Big of an Idiot as Reese on ‘Malcolm in the Middle’

Even super geniuses can be stupid sometimes
Five Times Malcolm Was as Big of an Idiot as Reese on ‘Malcolm in the Middle’

Malcolm was a super genius, and his older brother Reese was an absolute dunce.

That’s how it was for all seven seasons of Malcolm in the Middle, but once in a while, Malcolm didn’t seem to be running at full capacity either. Whether it was when he was shortsighted about a crush or attempting to translate his smarts into song, some of Malcolm’s most questionable decisions would even put Reese to shame. 

To that end, here are five of Malcolm’s most Reese (read: dumbest) moments on the show…

When He Went to War with Mr. Herkabe

Episode: “Emancipation,” Season 3, Episode 2

Malcolm’s Mindlessness: At the start of Season Three, Malcolm’s gifted class gets a sadistic new teacher who decides to rank everyone in class. This causes the class to turn on each other with a particular bull’s-eye on Malcolm, who sits comfortably at the top of the heap. Malcolm tries to dismantle the system by being deliberately stupid, only for it all to backfire on him (if also inadvertently — and painfully — helping him reach his ultimate goal).

He tries to render the system useless by getting everyone to bomb a test. The rest of the class chickens out, though, making Malcolm look like the dumbest guy in class. Malcolm then crawls his way back to number one, driving his classmates crazy in the process. Eventually, everyone is so stressed that they can’t continue and Herkabe’s ranking system is removed.

When He Writes a Song

Episode: “Hal Sleepwalks,” Season 6, Season 7

Malcolm’s Mindlessness: Malcolm is a genius at pretty much everything — except music. In later seasons of the show, his younger brother Dewey is revealed to be a musical prodigy, which only makes Malcolm’s Achilles’ heel stand out all the more. The best example of Malcolm’s musical illiteracy comes when he writes an angsty teenage song that he plays for his family. They quickly realize, however, that it’s just a poorly rewritten version of the “Meow Mix” jingle.

When He Takes a Neighbor’s Car for a Joyride

Episode: “Old Mrs. Old,” Season 2, Episode 11

Malcolm’s Mindlessness: When Malcolm accidentally breaks the arm of a mean old lady in the neighborhood, he’s forced to help her out after school. But she’s so mean to him that Malcolm decides the best way to even the score is to take her car for a joyride after she passes out from her medications. Unfortunately, his mom Lois catches the tween Malcolm behind the wheel. 

When He Buys a Car

Episode: “Malcolm’s Car,” Season 6, Episode 9

Malcolm’s Mindlessness: Things go even worse for Malcolm when he decides to buy a car of his own. He spends his money on a beat-up muscle car that ends up being a complete money pit. But the most idiotic thing Malcolm does is run the car in a closed garage, nearly asphyxiating himself.

When He Shut Off His Brain for a Girl

Episode: “Stupid Girl,” Season 4, Episode 4

Malcolm’s Mindlessness: Malcolm’s absolute stupidest move came when he developed a crush on Alison, a classmate who barely had enough brainpower to breathe. Malcolm turned to Reese for guidance, and his older brother showed him how to shut his brain off. While this helped Malcolm with Alison, he began slacking off at school and making bad decisions. It all came to a head when Lois caught him ditching a school dance to go drinking with Alison. Malcolm quickly switched his brain back on, and Alison dumped him as soon as he used the word “paradox” in a sentence. 

Not long afterward, all was right in the world again: Alison became Reese’s girlfriend, two idiotic peas in a pod, and Malcolm reverted back to his miserable, overthinking — and ultimately, lovable — self.

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