Tiki Lounge...good episode. It was funny, once again I thought it had heart, it really reminded me of the older seasons, and it taught us a bit about the series as a whole.
For example, we learn that Hal and Lois generally have a better relationship if they just don't think about it. We confirm that Malcolm has high hopes for himself after high school, but we still don't know what they are.
He really had me fooled that he couldn't think of anything to raise money, but I loved the outcome of that, and for the first time, we see Malcolm not only realize he's a hated jerk with a big mouth, but also accept it, and I think that's the big surprise here.
I had more, but to be quite honest, I can't remember what else I was going to say. I need to start taking notes during the show. I look forward to reading your thoughts, I'm sure they'll sprark my memory.
Appanah, as always you pose interesting questions in your thoughts on the episodes. This analysis made me feel like I was watching the Discovery Channel: "The male figure is less dominant..." No offense, though, I really did enjoy reading it. (Reminds you of Reese in Krelboyne Picnic, doesn't it?)
I do feel the need to respond to several of the points you made.
First, I agree with your thoughts on the tiki lounge and its meaning, and the advantages and disadvantages that it gives the husband and wife.
However, I disagree with your thoughts on the baby and the cigarette. Maybe it was distasteful directly, but I was laughing. The baby-with-the-cigarette wasn't directly funny. It was funny that Reese was as dumb as his baby brother, which we saw in a cold open in the past, when he left his homework in Jamie's crib. I think that they may have come close to the line with the baby and the cigarette, but they didn't quite cross it, because they were able to make use of it in a beneficial way. For example, they used it to make an allusion to the old wild west films where everyone is smoking--"Jamie the Smoking Baby!" which is stretching the line, but is ironic and funny, which is a classic MITM moment.
I think we've also seen that people have changed through the generations. Grandma Ida is still evil. She always has been and always will be. I don't think Lois is evil, as much as she is a stressed out control freak. In episodes such as Victor's Other Family, we see her opening up to the ideas that her kids are growing up, despite her speech in Malcolm's Job. I think this shows that her kids are also different. While Reese may think that's what he wants to do to his kids--hell, that's what every kid wants to do to their kids, isn't it?--I honestly don't think he will. His IQ has been escalating, and I think he'll realize his mothers mistakes and his grandmother's mistakes, and I think that eventually the trend can be stopped. Reese isn't evil and he isn't a control freak, so I think he'll make a quality father figure.