The show has been off the air since 2006, and sometimes it seems like the only reason anyone talks about it anymore is because Bryan Cranston is widely considered to be awesome. And while Bryan Cranston’s awesomeness is undisputedly true, Malcolm in the Middle was also pretty awesome. Particularly the couple at the head of the fictional family, Hal (Cranston) and Lois (Jane Kaczmarek). Here are some of the reasons why:
1. They work together. When it comes to raising their five rowdy boys, Hal and Lois present a united front. They are rarely contentious about how to discipline their children properly and support each other every episode of the way. Doing that, especially with the children they have, is a lot of work, but clearly Hal and Lois understand the importance of supporting one another’s decisions as parents. If there is a disagreement, they discuss it in private. For such a famously dysfunctional fictional family, that’s a really functional tactic.
2. They’re completely in love. And it is so obvious. Hal and Lois are crazy about each other in a way that really only Rob and Laura Petrie from The Dick Van Dyke Show can compete with. When Hal sees Lois dancing (badly), he pulls her into his arms and they waltz (badly) around the floor. Because even though Lois’ dancing was terrible, Hal thought she looked beautiful. They see the best in each other, and it’s really cute to watch.
3. They’re sexy. And aside from all the mushy stuff, they’re also totally sexy. While for some viewers, Hal and Lois’ sexual relationship may seem a bit over the top, for fans of the show it is refreshing. How often are wives depicted as being annoyed or burdened with sex? Or husbands depicted as annoyed or burdened by sex with their wives? Hal and Lois still totally dig each other in a way that is a far better example of how monogamous couples relate or should relate.
4. They make their relationship a priority. Hal and Lois work together on their relationship as much as they work together on the kids. In the season 3 episode, “Dewey’s Dog,” when Hal accidentally calls Lois “guy,” they make it a huge priority that they do something romantic together. Obviously this falls apart in sit-com style ways, but the gesture is lovely to see. Most couples on television would handle that exchange with complaining about it to their same-sex friends. But Hal and Lois talk to each other about it and try to figure out the best solution. That’s just good relationship advice, and watching them is a good model of that.