|Season 03, Episode 16|
|Air date||March 10, 2002|
Hal decides to coach Dewey's soccer team and turns them into monsters. Meanwhile, when Malcolm and Reese get a computer from their neighbor Ed, they discover his big secret and Reese blackmails him into doing things for him.
Malcolm gets addicted to The Virts. In Alaska, Piama kidnaps Lavernia's precious parakeet and demands better treatment for Francis, or else. When Francis finds out he must rescue and return the bird before the cops find out.
The weight of carrying the episode is wisely distributed four ways, giving Hal, Francis, Reese and Malcolm each an amusing scenario. The strongest, obviously, is the title subplot, in which Hal takes the reins of Dewey's failing soccer team and attempts to inject some team spirit among these snivelling whiners. He discovers that encouraging the boys to liken themselves to the X-Men--a team bent on vanquishing evil--elicits a genuinely positive response from them. The Litmus test comes when the team is scheduled to play the Blackhawks, a rough-and-tumble bunch of lads spurred by a hissable hard-ass of a coach. Cranston shines wonderfully during his pre-game pep-speech. Hal revs up the boys, and instead of beating the Blackhawks at soccer, they simply....beat up the Blackhawks.
Meanwhile, Francis is puzzled by Lavernia's sudden pleasant demeanor towards him. He puts two and two together and deduces that Piama has blackmailed, threatened or done something similar to Lavernia in order to shut off her bitchiness to him. After much deliberation, Piama finally confesses that she has kidnapped Lavernia's beloved parakeet, demanding that she treat her new husband fairly. Francis is upset that she would make such a decision without talking it over with him, and he makes haste to return the bird to its rightful owner. Upon arrival, however, the parakeet has apparently died during the trip. A horrified Francis bolts hysterically from the lodge before the wrath of Lavernia can fall fully upon him.
Back at home, Malcolm and Reese now have their own computer. Thanks to an arrangement set up by Hal, the boys have acquired Ed's old laptop in exchange for doing a few chores for him. Malcolm is to set up his new laptop, while Reese must do odd jobs around Ed's house. When the boys discover some of his un-deleted emails on the hard-drive revealing him to be a neighborhood philanderer, Reese puts the information to good use by confronting Ed for the deal. He admits that it wasn't his fault but the women in the neighborhood are desperate and he can't help himself. Reese agrees to keep it quiet between them, providing that Ed becomes his personal servant. However, when a case of mistaken-identity lands Ed in the guidance counselor's office, where he must pose as Hal, he gleans enough dirt on Reese to turn the tables.
Besides the emails, there's also a game on the hard-drive which piques Malcolm's interest. It's called 'The Virts,' and it is a plug-in-the-values program designed to create a cyberfamily. Naturally, Malcolm uses his own family as the template and assigns specific negative attributes and situations to everyone except himself, who he gives only maximized positive attributes. With Stevie watching over his shoulder, Malcolm is shocked to find that because he spent so much time guiding them, his cyberfamily is excelling phenomenally (Lois elected to the Supreme Court, Hal as a millionaire, Reese as a super-stud and Dewey achieving the Papacy). Meanwhile, the cyber-Malcolm, positive properties notwithstanding because Malcolm didn't see the need to control him seeing him as perfect, becomes an overweight Scotch-guzzling drunk given to self-mutilation and suicide. Needless to say, the laptop ends up getting chucked out the window.
- [Ed has just learned about Reese reading his undeleted emails from his affair with the other women.]
- Ed: Oh my god, how much do you know?
- Reese: Everything. You might want to formulate your megabytes next time you get rid of your old computer. Oh, and by the way, Mrs. Swanbeck? You are sick!
- Ed: Keep your voice down.
- [Malcom is going through Ed's undeleted emails with Reese and Stevie and learns about his affair with half of the women in their neighborhood.]
- Malcolm: Here's one from old Mrs. Swanbeck.
- Stevie: Open the picture attachment.
- [Malcolm opens the picture attachment and he is disgusted along with Reese and Stevie.]