It was a staple show of many people’s childhoods, sitting right on the terrestrial TV schedule during our formative years, but did you ever actually learn the last name of the family from Malcolm in the Middle?
Well, the idea was that no-one ever did, but it turns out that the family did actually have a surname, and it was revealed right at the start of the show before never being mentioned again.
Malcolm in the Middle ran from 2000 until 2006, telling the story of the hapless Malcolm, a kid born into a dysfunctional family but blessed with a huge IQ.
Malcolm, played by Frankie Muniz, was constantly hamstrung by the antics of his brothers Reese and Dewey – Justin Berfield and Erik Per Sullivan – his father Hal – Bryan Cranston – and mother Lois – Jane Kaczmarek.
Wonder what ever happened to Bryan Cranston after all of that, eh?
However, it’s his brother Francis who is of intrigue when it comes to learning what the family name was.
You see, Francis – played by Christopher Kennedy Masterson – was sent away to military school for his behavioural transgressions, and it was his uniform in the very first episode that gave the game away.
In the pilot episode, Francis makes a phone call home, but on the front of his shirt it reads ‘Wilkerson’ on a name badge.
Over the seven seasons that the show ran for, it became clear that the writers were having a joke at the audience’s expense by refusing to reveal the family name.
The kids went to school and Francis continued at the military academy without their surname ever being uttered, whilst other families and characters within the show had clearly defined surnames.
Off camera, it was even rumoured that the writers joked of the family being called ‘Nolastname’.
It even made it into the show on a couple of occasions.
During Malcolm’s graduation ceremony from high school, a huge amount of screeching microphone feedback obscures the announcement of his second name, but the mouth of the announcer seems to mouth ‘Nolastname’.
Furthermore, in that very same episode, they seemed to put the ‘Wilkerson’ issue to bed for good, as Francis was spotted wearing a shirt that bears another name badge, but this time it read ‘Francis Nolastname’.
Still, it’s these sorts of small details that make shows like this special, and clearly it was a joke that kept the writers laughing whilst they worked.
Also, it leaves a little easter egg behind for eagle-eyed fans to feel clever for spotting.
All in all, a great success, you'd have to admit.