|Season 03, Episode 03|
|Air date||November 18, 2001|
Lois attempts to escape the boys' nightly misbehaviour by joining a women's book club, but she soon realizes that it's merely an excuse for the women to socialize—and to plot against a wealthy PTA mom who seems to handle her children and all other motherly duties with ease. Meanwhile, Hal struggles to keep the boys in order, and Francis hitches a ride with a trucker who requires that Francis humiliate himself in exchange for the ride.
Lois decides to take some time away from her family and joins a womens' book club. She diligently reads the book and shows up ready to talk about it, but it turns out that the women just use the book club as an excuse to get together, drink wine, and complain about their families. Lois gets into the spirit of things, and soon the women are drunk and bitching about one particular neighborhood house-wife who is so perfect that she makes them all sick. In their drunken state they decide to go vandalize perfect-woman's car and end up getting chased off her front yard by a shot-gun.
Meanwhile, A naive Francis has set out hitch-hiking to Alaska and gets picked up by a truck-driver who can get him most of the way there. At first the trucker seems friendly and even helps Francis with some of his mother issues, but soon the trucker is getting Francis to do more and more ridiculous things in order to stay in the warm truck. Francis starts out wearing a red wig, then hangs his head out the window and sings a song.
Hal, left alone with the boys for the night, stresses about making sure they behave so that Lois can have her well-deserved night off and not feel like she can never do it again because the boys got up to mischief while she was gone. Meanwhile, Malcolm and Reese plot to dig up the fireworks they hid in the back yard so that they can sabotage a party the following night that they weren't invited to. Hal starts the night by locking all three boys in their room. He then second-guesses himself and decides to bring them ice-cream. He then second-guesses himself again and decides to get them to do calisthenics with him... which only makes Dewey throw up after the ice-cream.
Lois finds herself hiding from the cops in a dumpster with another sad mom, Karen, and crying about how all she wanted to do was discuss the wonderful book she read. The other mom wonders how Lois found time to read the book when her family sounds so awful and demanding. Lois admits that they're not as bad as she made them out to be, she just said awful things about them to fit in with the other moms. The mom Lois is trapped with decides to sacrifice herself to the cops so that Lois can get home to her wonderful family.
As Hal gets more and more stressed, he starts seeing smaller versions of himself around the house giving him contradictory advice about how to keep the boys out of trouble. The boys, by the this time, are thoroughly confused by their multiple-personality father, who has left them watching a TV documentary about salt. Hal freaks out when too many miniatures start giving him too much advice and retires to a relaxing bath. Before doing so, he warns Malcolm, Reese and Dewey to behave themselves so Lois can go out again for another ladies night.
By the time they stop for dinner at a diner, Francis is wearing a stuffed bra, huge ears, flippers, and make-up. He tells the truck driver he should write a book about the various ways to handle stressful situations with moms. Once inside the diner, Francis is disgusted when he finds the driver getting ready to enter him into a pageant with another truck driver and a hapless victim.
The boys beeline for the back yard to get their fireworks. Just as they were preparing to fire them as revenge against a popular classmate who refused to invite them to a party, Lois comes running into the backyard having managed to get away from the cops. She busts the boys for hiding their fireworks in the backyard as a police helicopter arrives and orders her to lie down on the ground with her hands over her head. Lois gets on the ground and continues punishing the boys, while Hal hides in the bath tub.