|Season 4, Episode 9|
Boys At Ranch
If Boys Were Girls
Ida visits the Wilkersons and slips on a leaf, breaking her back. She then sues the family for being indirectly responsible for that happening.
Malcolm is outside sleeping in a tent explaining Ida came to visit at the same time Francis and Piama came to visit. Due to him being at the library when they needed a volunteer to sleep outside, he had no choice. Lois calls Malcolm in for breakfast but the zipper on his tent is jammed. Inside, Francis and Ida are arguing about the proper way to butter toast. Lois asks Ida to pass the potatoes, Ida only states she has had enough, and asked if her chair had to break before she stop eating. Francis whispers to Piama that his family is worse than hers, Piama then states that her grandpa chopped the pinky off their milkman for bringing them 2%. Hal tells Ida he's ready to drive her to the bus station, as it is her last day of her visit. Ida claims the bus won't be arriving for another 3 hour, Hal states that there might be a parade. Malcolm comes in to find little to no food left, Lois only says he should have come when she had called him. When Ida is headed out the door, Lois wonders why Reese didn't rake the leaves in the yard, Reese claims he's waiting for the rest to fall first. Suddenly, Ida slips on one unraked leaf falling to the ground, breaking her collarbone much to everyone Else's horror.
Later, Malcolm is back in his tent struggling to keep his books on his lap and having to hold up a trashcan lid to avoid being sprayed by a sprinkler. Francis comes in telling Malcolm to help Ida unpack, as she is now unfit to travel, with Francis claiming she did it on purpose just to make the entire family suffer. Malcolm only responds that he finds it unfair he continues to be punished for something that's not his fault. Meanwhile, in Hal and Lois' bedroom Reese is at the computer when Dewey walks in wondering what he is up to, punching himself in the face to ensure Reese can trust him. Reese then asks him to show him how to turn on the computer.
At dinner, Ida is having to be fed by Lois, due to a metal cage being used to help her heal, continuing to complain about the family's shortcomings. Francis asks Piama if she'll admit his family's worse, but Piama reiterates that her mother faked stomach cancer in order to avoid getting custody. After Ida goes to answer the doorbell claiming it's for her Malcolm comes in finding that they are eating witho even telling him, having scratches on his face due to an owl flying into his tent (claiming if he had known he was missing dinner he would've taken the snake out of the owls beak).
In the parents bedroo after learning Ida plans to sue them Hal is furious, Lois tells Ida to think about her actions and how she is suing her own child. Ida refuses to discuss further and suggests they get a lawyer, befo leaving the bedroom. Hal tells Lois, Francis and Piama he has had enough and he will toss Ida out on her cage, Lois argues they can't, Francis suggests killing her but his idea is shot down as well. During the argument Lois begins to feel sick and goes to the doctor with Hal. They find out that Lois is pregnant again, and much to their horror the doctor guarantees it.
They tell Ida the news and wonder if she'll reconside, but she tells them to settle since they can't keep her legs closed. Meanwhile, Reese and Dewey dwell deeper into the plan. Later at night, Malcolm says sleeping is the only thing that makes his life worthwhile so he can pretend he's somewhere decent. Francis and Piama come into Malcolm's tent telling him they need to borrow it for two hours for some "alone time", Francis punching him so he'll comply. Inside the parents discuss how they can't afford the baby and they won't even be able to feed it. Hal decides to go get Lois some of her favourite ice cream to cheer her up saying they'll make it through, he gets in the car and breaks down in tears, crying out "why" over and over again, Malcolm is in the backseat eavesdropping on his fathers breakdown.
Their problems become worse when Ida not only hires an unscrupulous lawyer, but also their house insurance is cancelled. Without any insurance, Ida will be able to evict them out of the house. When the boys find out, they are furious with it along with Lois' pregnancy and leave. Piama senses what they're about to do and goes after them.
In the master bedroom, the boys' plan for revenge against Hal and Lois for making their situation worse with the pregnancy. While the boys argue in what to do, Reese wants to stay with Ida as she's the only one who understands him. Francis refuses the notion, wanting to kill the old woman for what she's done with their family. Dewey wanting to runaway to start a new life away from the family. Malcolm stops it and suggests that they should let Ida sue their parents. The boys can testify in court claiming Hal and Lois were very abusive to them. That way when Ida wins the lawsuit, their parents would likely end up in jail and the boys would be free to live their own lives. Despite hating Ida, Francis agrees to the plan. He mentions that he and Piama can take custody of Dewey and bring him to the Grotto Ranch. In turn, Francis can get a legal document that'll allow Reese and Malcolm to be emancipated and free to live their own lives. Overhearing this, Piama reprimands the boys for being selfish and pointing out that they're wrongly taking their anger out on their parents. She wisely mentions this isn't just about a lawsuit that could destroy their family, but also tells them to think about their actions. Piama points out the consequences of what could happen if Lois gives birth to a living and breathing sibling while being imprisoned. This brought some sense back into the boys and they realize their actions are selfish.
While going through what she will need, the boys and Piama band together against Ida. Having learned about the financial trouble with the potential lawsuit and cancellation of the insurance, they show their support for Hal and Lois. Francis promises to send them money to help, Reese and Malcolm promises to get jobs and Dewey is willing to give up his bed for the baby, Lois thanks the boys for their generosity. Lois and Hal tell Ida they no longer have insurance and if Ida continues with the lawsuit they'll be financially ruined. In that moment, the lawyer has an epiphany and willingly abandons Ida's case, mainly due to his services not coming cheap, since they don't have insurance no money can be gained, the lawyer further explains that the family's entire house would fit inside his own as a garage but he would have to park his Porsche in the driveway, further stating he has no problem throwing innocent people into the streets but he refuses to do it for free, before going home. With no authority over Lois and Hal, she tries to make peace with them. Hal and Lois doesn't buy it and orders her to leave at once. Ida says she now feels well enough to travel.
In the end, Malcolm explains everything worked out for the best. He got his room back, Francis and Piama are back in New Mexico and the best part is that Ida is back in her own apartment in Canada. However, Hal told the boys that women can become more volatile during pregnancy. Hal then runs in telling the boys someone left the cap off the toothpaste, all four of them run away in fear.
- Jane Kaczmerek as Lois
- Bryan Cranston as Hal
- Christopher Kennedy Masterson as Francis
- Justin Berfield as Reese
- Erik Per Sullivan as Dewey
- Frankie Muniz as Malcolm
- David Rasche as Lawyer
- Mark Chaet as Doctor
- David Weisenberg as a man
- Lois and Hal find out they're pregnant with Jamie in this episode.
- In previous episodes, Malcolm technically wasn't the middle child, given that he's the second youngest of 4 kids. However, due to there being a 5th child in this episode, there are two younger than him, officially placing "Malcolm in the middle".
- This episode first aired on Valentine's Day.
- Malcolm and Dewey hear that Reese has never seen Charlie Brown before and take advantage of it by pulling off the infamous running gag from the show, where Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie before he kicks it.