Malcolm in the Middle I didn’t really have any pictures of my own family, so when thinking of a family to analyze the family from the show “ Malcolm in the Middle”, immediately popped into my head. In the show it never once mentions the families last name so I am simply going to refer to them as the “Malcolms.”
Story Line An offbeat, laugh track-lackingsitcom about a bizarrelydysfunctional family, the center ofwhich is Malcolm, the middle of thetwo brothers who still live at home.His eldest (and favorite) sibling,Francis, boards at military schoolbecause his parents believe it willreform him and keep him out oftrouble. Malcolm often has a hardtime coping with his family life, buthe has more troubles to contendwith when he starts receivingspecial treatment at school afterbeing diagnosed as an intellectuallyadvanced genius.
CharactersMalcolm- The “middle” geniuschildReese- The moronic olderbrotherFrancis- rebel type oldestbrother sent away to militaryschoolDewey- Youngest brother whois a free spirit and marches tothe beat of a different drumLois- Crazy, short temperedmother who does her best tokeep the family intactHal- Clueless Dad who is justtrying to make his way throughlife
Family Type The Malcolm’s are an example of a two parent biological family. I would guess that the parents (Lois and Hal) have been married anywhere from 15-20 years and have 4 biological children. Galvin, Bylund and Brommel (2008) state that this is no longer the most common type of family
Economic Issues Having to support 4 kids and working sub par jobs, the Malcolm’s definitely suffer from some economic issues. “Economic pressures add significant stress to the lives of poor family members, and this stress affects the ways family members relate to each other.” (Galvin, Bylund and Brommel 2008, pg. 15). This is definitely true for the Malcolms and it portrays it in the show in comical ways.
Communication Functions The communication in the Malcolm’s household is very open. A lot of the time it consists of Lois freaking about something and yelling at the family, or a single person for what they did or did not do. I believe that this develops a meaning with the kids along with Hal realizing that Lois runs the show
Continued Another communication process in the family is Malcolm calling his brother Francis (who is away at military school) and talking secretly on how to beat his mother. Francis being the not afraid to stand up for himself rebel child has never been afraid to go right back at his mother and I think this displays another meaning.
Family-of-Origin Family-of-origin influences refers to the family or families in which a person is raised and is generally be the earliest and most powerful source of influence on ones personality (Bochner & Eisenberg, 1987). This is definitely true in the show in the case of Francis, the oldest brother. Although him and mother clash, they are really the exact same person.
Family Rituals “Rituals contain a variety of meanings and messages in patterned and emotionally powerful forms; they serve to remind members of who they are and they reflect a family’s relational culture.” (Galvin, Bylund and Brommel 2008, pg. 116). Although there are not really any set rituals in the family, the younger brothers all look up to Francis immensely. He teaches them all kinds if different things, and they try to mimic what he has done in the past. It is kind of portrayed in the show as passing down knowledge to another generation.
Continued One tradition that the family does have is that they always have meals all together as a family. Although it is usually filled with fights between the boys, or Lois yelling about something it is a tradition nonetheless.
Family Typology “Consensual families are high in both conversation and conformity strategies with their communication characterized by pressure and agreement although children are encouraged to express ideas and feelings.” (Galvin, Bylund and Brommel 2008, pg. 177) This type is family is definitely the case for the Malcolm’s. They talk about everything but at the end of the day Lois usually has the last word. This, however is not without backlash from the kids.
Family Conflict Types The conflict in the Malcolm family, usually occurs by Lois catching the boys doing something wrong and then punishing them. Sometimes however she does practice compromise in cutting the boys deals to get them out of trouble
Works Cited FamilyCommunication: Cohesion and Change (Seventh Edition) by Kathleen Galvin, Carma Bylund, and Bernard Brommel, Pearson. 2008.