Synopsis and review of Reese's Party
First-time scripter Andy Bobrow makes an impressive writing debut with "Reese's Party," an episode that hits a few flat notes but is an overall winner.
Hal and Lois decide to take a weekend vacation while they still have a chance, but their plan involves splitting up the boys: Malcolm is to stay with Stevie, Dewey goes with Craig Feldspar, and Reese is on a bus to Canada to visit Grandma Ida. Yeah, that works long enough for Reese to ditch his bus and return home, where Malcolm has also double-backed and is preparing for a romantic evening with classmate Kathy. Meanwhile, Dewey's agenda remains on-track, and he manages to bond with Craig over games of Battleship, hide-n-seek and pinata.
Problem is, Reese has distributed fliers advertising a "Giant Par-tay" at their address (12334 Maple Road, we finally learn). And one of those fliers lands in the hands of a teenaged cretin named Donnie, who accepts the invitation and sets up a crackhouse operation in the family garage. Now it's something short of a hostage situation, especially when Malcolm's date Kathy arrives and promptly endears herself to Donnie's crackhead buddies.
The romantic weekend for Hal and Lois is anything but, naturally. Due to her pregnancy-related frequent bathroom stops, they arrive late and the hotel has given away their reserved suite. Now stuck in an undersized crackerbox room, their mutual irritability gradually takes its toll. When Hal lets slip that he didn't really have the vasectomy which he promised to have recently had, the argument reaches its pinnacle.
Back home, Malcolm and Reese attempt to thwart the crackhouse operation by calling on the only person they can: Francis. Their eldest brother arrives, prepared to use force to oust these miscreants, until he realizes that they're all friends of his. Francis' buddy-talk to "take it somewhere else, guys" is ineffective, so his involvement is rendered useless. Meaning that it falls to Dewey to save the day.
The next morning, when Dewey and Craig happen upon the aftermath of the failed "par-tay," Craig attempts to roust the ruffians from the house, only to be accosted and hazed by them instead. Quick-thinking Dewey turns the tide by privately phoning the moms of the principal offenders and tattling, resulting in a hilarious confrontation sequence between angry moms and deflated crackfiends. As Dewey memorably puts it at the end of the act, "I forgot how good it feels to tell."
Determined to cut their losses, Hal and Lois decide to check out a day early and return home. Nonetheless, prior to the "afterglow breakfast," they agree to make the weekend getaway worthwhile by doing "one nice thing" for each other. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that the scene will shortly transition into the bellhop banging on the door for them to vacate while the couple have wild (off-screen) sex.
For the most part, "Reese's Party" succeeds. There's an unusual bit of raunchiness to Hal and Lois' story which nearly reduces it to typical sitcom fare, and crackhouse plot is essentially a one-note joke. Nonetheless, in the hands of the Malcolm company, even the lesser material is rendered funny, and the outing is sufficiently rewarding. Francis' near-cameo and Dewey's "telling" bits are the highlights. To paraphrase rock singer Pink, let's get Reese's party started.