Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Winning the Show: Malcolm in the Middle

With Godzilla out, I thought I would do Malcolm in the Middle, Bryan Cranston's old show. Cranston is the star of Godzilla, FYI. Anyway, I watched the show and liked it. There a quite a few great jokes from it that I quote and it was a show that did a great job with the call-back (like the gerbil in his plastic ball that would periodically show up). The two-shows-in-one (one about the family and one focused on Francis, with two rarely meeting) was, and still is, unique in television; it isn't talked about as much as one would expect and was never emulated, but I could see how it would make the writing easier.

If you were a fan of the show, then you probably expected Jane Kaczmarek, who played Lois the mom to break out. She got an Emmy nomination every year the show was on. But it hasn't worked out that way. Bryan Cranston landed on Breaking Bad one of the best shows of recent times, for which he won four Emmys and a Golden Globe. He's had steady work and shown up in several hit shows and the movie Argo. Clearly he has won Malcolm in the Middle. How do the rest stack up? It gets tough with child actors, but I'd rank them thus:

1. Bryan Cranston (4 Emmy wins and 3 other nominations, 1 Golden Globe win and 3 other nominations, 1 big hit show, 2 hit movies, and steady work)
2. Jane Kaczmarek (steady work)
3. Frankie Muniz (steady work)
4. Christopher Masterson (sporadic work)
5. Justin Berfield (1 role, some production work)
6. Erik Per Sullivan (4 roles)

It gets tough between Kaczmarek and Muniz, but the former has been on a few series and the latter has not.

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