Synopsis by Josh Ralske
On the pilot of Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm (Frankie Muniz) introduces his family. Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) is first seen shaving the back of Hal (Bryan Cranston), his hirsute father. Lois gives Malcolm bad news at breakfast. She's arranged a playdate for him with Stevie (Craig Lamar Traylor), an asthmatic, wheelchair-bound kid from school. Lois admonishes Malcolm, Reese (Justin Berfield), and Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) not to take their good health for granted. "Every day is a lottery," she explains, "and first prize is that you don't have to scoot yourself around town on a skateboard with your hands." On the way to school, a friend asks if Malcolm's brother Francis (Christopher Kennedy Masterson) is really in jail. Malcolm explains that Francis, the one person in his family whom he actually likes, has been sent to military school in Alabama for his various misdeeds. At school, Malcolm has an unpleasant encounter with a bully, Dave Spath (Vincent Berry), and his teacher Caroline (Catherine Lloyd Burns) gives him an IQ test. After school, Malcolm unexpectedly bonds with Stevie over their shared love of comic books. Francis calls and tells Lois about the "simmering homoeroticism" of military school, and she actually hears him smoking over the phone. Later, Caroline drops by, and tells a shocked Lois that Malcolm has an IQ of 165. After a brief discussion over breakfast the next day, Lois decides, over his strenuous objections, that Malcolm will move into a "special" accelerated class. "Any kid who makes fun of you," she tells him, "is a creepy little loser who'll end up working in a car wash." "This shouldn't make me feel better," Malcolm tells us, "but it does." The next day, a newly ostracized Malcolm and Stevie improvise a way to turn Spath's cruelty against him.