I don’t know about you, but I feel that this is one of the best TV shows ever made. Bold statement, I know, but justified. I am yet to find a show that so perfectly encapsulates the typical family dysfunction in an amusing, exaggerated- yet impressively plausible- way.
It makes me feel incredibly old to thing that this show started in 2000, and while I don’t remember that, I do remember when it finished in 2006. When I originally read that I thought “was it really that recent?”, before remembering that it is now 7 years ago. To put that in context, I was 2 years away from starting my GCSEs – I’m now doing a degree. To emphasise it another way, actor Erik Per Sullivan, who played Dewey, is now 21. It’s one of the few times I remember the whole family sitting and watching something on TV. I think we even ordered takeout…
Although almost every show was self contained (excluding a few multi-part arcs), you do get a sense of chronology. More importantly, you follow the main characters as they age, deal with interactions between each other and society, graduate, marry and everything else that regular humans have to go through. It was so grounded in realism yet obscured with a layer of amplified and exaggerated scenarios. Despite this, I think that many families could relate and see similarities between the on screen characters and their own families.
One theme that I feel was very well covered was the feeling of isolation. I may be analysing into it too much (I’ve just come out of exams), but at many points during the show’s life you can see the characters struggle with the feeling of being left out, different, or “in the middle”. I think the thoughts, feelings and questions regarding their identity were played out exceptionally well and again probably mirror that of real life.
It is one of those shows that you can watch again and again; it never gets old. It is gutting to think that the series will almost certainly never be released to disc or to download legally, apparently due to They Might Be Giants not permitting their songs to be used in that manner. Boo TMBG!
I am seriously torn between wanting to say I wish they made more episodes and being grateful they stopped before it just became long in the tooth. I think, ultimately, I sway towards the latter: it is awful to see great shows go on past their prime.
Malcolm in the Middle – the family starring TV show that knew when to stop… yes I’m looking at you Simpsons!