View Full Version : Hal Grieves Reaction and Analysis

Feb 19, 2006, 08:25 PM
I'm a fan of MITM for two reasons: because it's entertaining and because I can relate to it. Tonight, both goals were met superbly well.

I found myself a bit bored with the Lois/Abe storyline, but generally laughing non-stop with Hal and the boys.

At the same time, after watching the ep, I realized that my life related to it in more ways than one. You can think about your parents dying as much as you want, but to actually have it happen--it's pretty weird. You don't know what you're going to do. It's like if someone asked what you would do if you were on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. Would you be one of the people who calls their loved ones to say goodbye, or one of the people who sacrifices the goodbye's to try and stop the terrorists, like the people on the plane that crashed in Philadelphia?

Sometimes you have to have something taken away to see how much it really does mean to you.

The fact that Malcolm realizes there was a bigger problem is huge. It's even bigger that he tries to do something about it (at first). It means that Malcolm is an incredibly mature and mentally healthy person. He was able to confront his father about this admittedly very serious problem. Ultimately, he gave in to the pressure of the car, but what teenager wouldn't? It doesn't show his true character--it shows that he's a teenager. What did show his true character is that he cared enough to try and interfere--to help his father. He had to confront him about some very serious issues indeed, sure, but he managed to do that. And that makes me look like a coward--I keep saying I'll try, but I can't.

The fact that Dewey and Reese want to milk Hal for all he's worth goes back to the ideas circulated in Family Reunion. Back then, the boys--Dewey and Reese especially--planned to try and become Grandpa's favorite and get the giant inheritance. When the inheritance is lost, the boys are forced to turn elsewhere. They realize their father is weak and decide to milk him instead.

Abe failed miserably, but he too tried to help his friend. We know that these sorts of things really twist Mr. Kenarban up inside, and although he wasn't able to talk to Hal himself, he was able to work up the courage to try and help him out. Sometimes that's a major first step.

To my count, we've seen the following people die in MITM:
Aunt Helen in Funeral
Victor, but the episode escapes me
And Hal's dad in Hal Grieves.

No one really knew Aunt Helen, but the event still managed to bring the Wilkersons together. And the same thing happened with the newest episode, albeit in a different way. This is what MITM does best: taking an ultra-serious issue and dealing with it in a comical way. This episode has affected me personally more than any in recent memory.

Feb 19, 2006, 09:12 PM
Deep, Sam. Deep.

I found this episode another "Kick-ASS" one.

Lois/Abe was pretty decent, but Hal+boys was BRILLANT! And intresting, too, for Chris Masterson's first time @ the camera. And you're right, Sam, Malcolm does show character for trying to intervene into the situation. Lord knows I try. But hey, when it's a car, all bets are off. All-in-all, 2 grest eppys down, 8 more to go.

Lois/Abe = **
Hal+Mal+Reese+Dewey = ****
and your summary, Sam = ****

Feb 19, 2006, 10:21 PM
Is my summary 4 out of 4 stars or 4 out of 5? :D

Feb 19, 2006, 10:43 PM
4 out of 4.

Feb 20, 2006, 07:31 AM
I liked everything but the Hal-Abe line. It's like Abe was there to be there, nothing else. But Nimoy was good when he camped out of the house "anticipating their return"

And something I can relate to is that knowing when the getting is good and getting the most from it. :D I do it all the time with my band director. (NOTE: band related, you don't have to read it if you don't want to: when he isn't there, his secretary takes over and the trumpet section goes crazy, knocking over stands, asking "where are we now?" right when she's beginning, saying that we don't like the song, loosening our valve caps so when we push them, they make loud clacking noises, ect.)

I don't feel like adding more then that, cause that's all I have to say about it. It wasn't an exceptional episode when it comes to MITM, but it was pretty good. 3.75/5

Feb 20, 2006, 03:48 PM
OK episode. Reese is the most insensitive character in prime-time EVER. I didn't expect Dewey to be so horrible too. I guess that's why it's all about "Malcolm" in the Middle. Hal sure knows how to come up with some serious cash when it comes to his boys. What a great DAD. Lois and Abe thing was not good at all. When Star Trek dude showed up I was like whatever.:rolleyes:

Feb 20, 2006, 04:09 PM
Yeah, I agree that the Lois/Abe story line could have used some work, but it was okay, and it got George Takai on the show, so Im not complaining!
The Hal/boys storyline stole the show, though. It's kinda sad near the end when Hal reflected on his father and realized how much he loved him. :( It just reminds all of us to remember great parents, even if were adults. Also, I know it's just a show, but it kinda angered me how the boys were using Hal. Why do they always have to screw him over?!:confused:
Anyway, great episode. Oh, and J, that wasn't Leonard Nimoy. That was George Takai. (he provided one of the funniest lines of the show right after Dewey closed the door-"Oohh, mushrooms!!" :D )


Feb 20, 2006, 05:06 PM
You copying my rating system, Tony? :p

Feb 20, 2006, 05:44 PM
To my count, we've seen the following people die in MITM:
Aunt Helen in Funeral
Victor, but the episode escapes me
And Hal's dad in Hal Grieves.

Victor's death was mentioned in a phone conversation between Lois and Francis in "Christmas" in Season 3.

And in Funeral, in a phone conversation between Lois and Francis, we also learned that Uncle Fred had died about two months before Aunt Helen.

Feb 20, 2006, 06:36 PM
That was it, thanks. I knew it was brief, but was indeed mentioned. So to complete illustrating my point: that also brought the family together, albeit in a different way. It brought Francis and Ida together in a way rarely seen before or since.

And Uncle Fred is rather a moot point since we can assume that probably happened before we picked up reading the journal of Malcolm's life.

Feb 20, 2006, 06:56 PM
I really enjoyed this episode. I loved the parts with Hal, Malcolm, Reese and Dewey. I thought it was funny in Hal's dream, when Reese was like, "Dad why are you hitting yourself?" Also, when Reese said, "That's Dad? I thought that was a math teacher." LMAO! Great episode, but, they could have done better with Lois's and Abe's part.

Feb 20, 2006, 09:05 PM
I share many of the same opinions as most of you on this episode. I agree that the Lois/Abe plot dragged a little and wasn't really that interesting. It was basically just filler material in my opinion. BTW, I had to look up who George Takai is (sorry Star Trek fans :D )

On the other hand, I found Hal and the boys' plot very entertaining. I experienced a mixture of emotions throughout the episode. I thought it was sweet that Hal was determined to spend more time with the boys (something that he never really got to experience with his dad.) The first day was hilarious. It was also nice to see them all bonding. Not only Hal and the boys, but the boys with each other to a degree as well. The second day, I felt angry because Reese and Dewey decided to take a good thing too far. I can see Reese doing it becuause he doesn't have much of a conscious to begin with, but I'm a little surprised at Dewey for encouraging him (as Tony mentioned). We all know that Dewey can be very manipulative, but usually he has a good heart when it counts. I found it unusually cruel of him to take advantage of Hal during his time of grief and vulnerability. Of course, I guess that most people would find it difficult to pass up an opportunity like that. Even Malcolm, who knew exactly what was going on, couldn't reisist the promise of a new car. We have to give him props, however, for at least trying to talk to Hal in an effort to help him understand why he felt the need to do these things. Dewey and Reese simply looked out for themselves without even bothering to consider Hal's reasons for behaving that way. Finally, I was touched at the end of the episode when Hal finally came to grips with reality and realized how much he really missed his father after all. It was brilliant how they managed to evoke such a wide range of emotions in only 20 minutes as well as deal with a very serious topic in a humorus manner.

I don't really consider this one of the best episodes, but it was good and certainly memorable. One lastthing--I found Reese's line "Why couldn't he have died before he lost all his money" a clever reference to the plot in Family Reunion where the boys compete for their grandfather's attention so he'll leave them all his money (as Sam mentioned.) I always enjoy little "insider" things like that that only people who watch the show regularly would catch. :)

Feb 21, 2006, 11:08 AM
I basically found this episode side-splitting hilarious, but I can see how the theme of personal loss could also affect other viewers at a deeper emotional level. This was a brilliant directing debut by Chris Masterson. He really made the story come alive. The scenes with Hal and the boys were full of zany energy; the staging of the open-casket scene was so funny it wasn't offensive (the Hal "cadaver" reminded me of PeeWee Herman!).

The reactions of the various boys to Hal's sudden spurt of generosity were all entirely in keeping with their individual personalities. Reese has a trademark mock-serious style of saying outrageously callous things in a way that's too funny to be disgusting: "I don't know what alien worm burrowed into Dad's brain, but I'd like to shake its hand!" Dewey has an extreme sense of deprivation, and a resulting exaggerated craving for the good things that he feels every boy has except himself; this makes him at times entirely self-absorbed--this is the same Dewey that hung up on Hal when Hal phoned for help from the artillery range in "Casino," because Dewey wanted to keep getting pampered at the spa.

Frankie Muniz's brilliance at expressing conflicts of emotions is what makes him so effective in portraying Malcolm in the throes of ethical dilemmas. Chris' directing of the scene at the car dealer's wonderfully showcased Frankie's talent--as Hal wavers over signing the contract, Malcolm's face vividly reflects an emotional rollercoaster ride, displaying greed, guilt, hope, fear, affection, guile, all in conflict with each other.

The rather tedious Lois/Abe scenes were needed to set up the very funny final scene with George Takei. Out of curiosity, I checked Takei out in IMDB to see if in real life he has been hard up for work since "Star Trek." Not at all! He has an enormous list of credits, many as cartoon voices; it's easy to see why, since he has a very comical voice: "Oooh, mushrooms! Can I help myself?!"

Feb 21, 2006, 01:57 PM
As much as some of us say we didn't like this episode or it was just mediocre, I think it was better than that, but for different reasons. It wasn't just laugh-out-loud funny the whole time, but there were other important aspects of the episode. Many of us have mentioned connections to real life. We've also discovered secrets such as Hal's age. But perhaps most importantly are the connections to previous MITM episodes. It's what makes MITM MITM. The most obvious in this case is Family Reunion, since that's the only other time we actually met Hal's dad. However, I think there's quite a few other excellent examples. This is not the first time that Hal has wanted to buy an expensive sports car. In season 1's Smunday, Hal spent an entire day debating whether or not to buy the car. In season four's Stupid Girl, he rented a pullverizer. Hal likes that sort of thing. What's changed now is that he suddenly feels like he needs to make sure his sons like it as well, before it's too late.

Feb 25, 2006, 06:35 AM
I very much liked the boys' part of that episode. Very entertaining and funny. The Abe plot, however, was more than weak. It was good to see Abe back, but the storyline was just crap. And they could have left out this guest appearance, too, i didn't like it. But these two parts didn't take much time, so all in all the episode was rather good. I'm still laughing about Dewey and Reese "skiing" :D

Feb 25, 2006, 09:45 AM
I'm still laughing about Dewey and Reese skiing.

I guess Hal wasn't kidding when he said they don't get snow too often, huh? :D