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  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: After years of no DVD releases (besides season one), the entire series was released streaming on Netflix.
  • Base Breaker: Lois. She almost never loses any confrontation she's in, so the viewers love for her really comes down to whether they find that quality funny or not.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Candyman. as performed by Francis (who has a surprisingly good singing voice), and the other cadets.
  • Ear Worm: The theme song.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment / Harsher in Hindsight: In one of the episodes, Hayden Panettiere's character attempts to convince Reese and Malcolm that the other is gay as a means to manipulate them. Years later, in Heroes, her character Claire Bennet ended up having her sexual orientation inexplicably changed to becoming lesbian/bisexual in what turned out to be the final season for the series.
    • Lois is told that Malcolm has been heard using "the R word," in what is played as a joke about Political Correctness Gone Mad as there was no way to tell what the word was at the time. It's less funny these days now that "retard" and "retarded" are regarded as slurs against mentally-handicapped people (to the point that some channels will bleep the word out, like Comedy Central).
    • Commendant Spengler's multiple amputations are continually played for laughs. His actor Daniel von Bargen would later lose a leg to diabetes, and attempted suicide when it looked like he might lose the other one.
    • The scene on the last episode of season one where Dewey dances with his babysitter (played by Bea Arthur) is less funny now that she's dead.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The scene where a comic book geek teases Hal by making up a super hero named Mr Incredible.
  • Ho Yay: Plenty. Dabney has a pretty explicit crush on Malcolm. And Reese and Craig in the last episode. Even Reese and Malcolm have some of this.
  • Idiot Plot: Sunday Smuday. They could have easily avoided most of that plot had they simply destroyed the letter.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Malcolm. Sure he can be a big asshole, but he is an outcast at school, is bullied by his older brothers, separated from most of his friends in High School and his mother and father treat him like crap. It's pretty hard not to feel sorry for him when you realize the circumstances.
    • Iron Woobie: Despite these circumstances, he keeps on going.
    • Lois can qualify in her more humane moments.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The boys each have their moments. For example, Francis pits them against each other to compete for his spare wrestling ticket, and then spurns them all for a date. In response, the boys steal his driver's license, report the car stolen, and then tie each other up and climb in the trunk for when the cops inevitably pull him over.
    • Dewey (arguably the most devious of the brothers, but at the same time the least vindictive), at least, only uses his powers for good, or to get back at someone who mistreated him, like that time he puts his parents through the wringer while secretly making them plan an expensive birthday for his baby brother, to make up for all the times they didn't pay attention to him.
    • Lois has many moments like this too. See Karmic Trickster above for an example.
  • Moral Event Horizon: It's hard to say when Lois crossed it, if she ever did, although she had a few milestones.
    • In "Red Dress", she tortured the boys just to find out who burnt her red dress from her wedding anniversary. By the time she forces them to hear the song "Nice is Good, Mean is Bad", you can tell that she's gone too far.
    • In "Lois Strikes Back", after four girls in class pranked Reese with a fake date using a pig, the principal refuses to deal with it, and the prank was posted on the bulletin board, Lois puts a wad of gum in one of the girls's helmet, decapitated and multilated another of the girls's dolls, tricked another of the girls's parents that she booked a hotel for herself and her boyfriend, trick the same parents into believing a kid was stalking them (she was trying to not get caught), and paint balled the last girl with her boyfriend on their way to a date.
      • Not quite, since Reese was psychologically ruined by the girls. It was really when Malcolm tried to talk Lois out of pulling sociopathic pranks on the girls. Lois then ties Malcolm to the car.
    • In the series finale, Lois, along with Hal, may have crossed it when they forced Malcolm to work extremely hard in college to help him understand about financial struggles. To elaborate: As soon as Malcolm finishes High School, he is offered a six figure job working for a computer company. However, Hal and Lois refuse to let him take it, saying they have other plans for him. When he calls them out later on this, they reveal that they intend for him to work as a janitor while going through law school, to work his way up to become District Attorney, win a place on the senate, and then become President of the United States, while at the same time knowing that despite all of this, he will never be respected for any of it.
      • That said, Malcolm concedes and decides to go along with it when they tell him, both because he's forced to admit that he might actually be able to do it and because he seems to agree that a President who looks out for the lower classes is something America needs. In fact the whole family was in on it and according to Francis, they assumed he knew as well. The janitor thing was probably just the only job he could get, since he's obviously at Harvard on a scholarship, and not actually something they intended (expected, perhaps, but not intended).
    • Ida crosses it when she drugs a man with happy pills so that she can marry him in order to get his money.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Emma Stone appears in one episode and Jennette McCurdy appears in 2.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Malcolm spends the night in a college, Lois goes along for her own creepy reasons. Cut to confrontation with the RA, who calls Lois out on the exact reason why she's obviously come with Malcolm and you realise that while he's a git, he's awesome at the same time. Even Malcolm doesn't know who to root for.
  • Wangst: Malcolm has some genuine reasons to be complaining or feeling annoyed/angered at his family...but at the same time, he sometimes feels unsympathetic because of how much he whines, complains...he even gets called out on this in one episode.
    • This became a delibeate part of his character after a few seasons, with him becoming an Emo Teen.
    • Francis. Sometimes it seems he complains about everything. Even things that have nothing to do with his mother.
  • Wicked Cultured: Dewey is clearly the second most intelligent member of his family, the most cultured and sophisticated, and arguably the most devious.
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