You’re Not the Boss of Me Now!

And you’re not so big!

Is there a show with a better theme song than Malcolm in the Middle?  That repeated refrain perfectly encapsulates what the show is about.  It is about never accepting authority, no matter who wields it.  About no letting anybody tell you who you are.

You’re not the boss of me now!

Any character in the show could be intoning that phrase. It could be Malcolm or one of the other kids fighting against the unfair strictures of Lois (and Hal).  It could be Dewey raging against his sadistic elder brothers.  Or Francis thumbing his nose at Commandant Spangler at the military academy.  It could be Lois herself refusing to back down from the realities of the world.

You’re not the boss of me now!

I’ve been watching Malcolm on netflix since I finished Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  I watched it for years in syndication, but I haven’t seen it much over the last couple of years.  In that time I had forgotten just how good it was.  It is a continual struggle between Lois and her children.  But the majority of the problems she has with them are of her own creation.  Her and Hal constantly reinforce in their children the value of standing up for yourself and doing what they believe is right, no matter the cause.  She seems to never realize that they will turn those lessons back at her.  It makes for a very entertaining show.

You’re not the boss of me now!

I’ve only made it through the first 2 seasons, but already the show has shifted from focusing on Malcolm and more on the family as a whole.  A family, nameless as far as I know but netflix calls them the Wilkersons, that is more relatable than any one TV.  They fight constantly among themselves, but as soon as an outside threat presents itself, the band together.  Fighting with family is tolerated, fighting for family is a sacred duty.   Of course, they do not always live up to this ideal, but more often than not it holds true.

And you’re not so big!

Malcolm is a show smart enough to shake it up before the status quo grows too stale, but not to change the heart of the shows relationships. Especially Francis.   Francis stays at the military academy until they run out of stories to tell there.  So they find a new place for him to go.  He goes to Alaska, but that only lasts one season.  There wasn’t much there, so they dropped it, and he left.  But his relationship with Piama was good, so it stayed.  He stopped obsessing over his mother so much.  He didn’t stop, but early on that was the sole focus of his character.  By the end of season 2 it is just a part of it.  It is actual, genuine character growth in a sitcom.  Amazing, I know.  I am excited to watch the rest of the series and see if it all holds up.

Life is unfair.

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