Ida's Dance


Retired Administrator
I too feel that we have seen too much of Ida lately. During the scene where Lois had arrived and Ida felt she was being embarrassed, I wanted to turn off the TV. That scene dragged on far too long, and Ida's voice grew to sound like nails against a chalk board. I horribly disliked that storyline, and therefore could take nothing further from it than an increased hate from Ida.

But maybe we can work to evaluate Ida and Cloris Leachman's portrayal of her. We've seen this "witch" since season 2's The Grandparents, and she was instantly established as a cruel character. She is not your typical grandmother, and she doesn't want to be. The boys don't try to make her be. Hal would like his mother-in-law dead. But I'm off-topic; what I'm trying to say is, why is it that we hate Ida so much? What about her has led us to hate her?

At first I thought, Dewey's deafness would be a permanent addition to the show, and I think it would have been entertaining to see it last a bit longer, but we need to work with what we have been given. I am quite surprised appanah did not try to decode the symbolism of the deafness. In an earlier thread, nearly everyone agreed that everything can be analysed, even if it is not intended to be. Therefore, I want to pose the question: What does the deafness symbolize? (or for you Europeans (that was for you TJ), symbolise?)

I think it could be any number of things. Before going deaf, Malcolm was purposely deaf to the world and music and its opportunities; Dewey was purposely deaf to other things, as appanah mentioned. Maybe, however, it represents society's deafness to people who are different than us. Ida is not a "normal" grandmother and people decide that they dislike her. We see no sympathy--no human qualities--in Ida until Ida Loses a Leg. If we had been listening, maybe he had seen it in earlier episodes, as well.

Ahh, but Boomer intended for us not to hear it; thus, he assumed the position of the typical audience member, and wrote what he wanted us to hear. We are deaf to Ida because society is deaf to Ida.

Or, maybe that was all too deep, and it was just another annoying Ida episode. No emmies here. I hope I was politically correct enough for everyone.


Retired Mod
I think Malcolm deserved to be deaf for a while. I know a bit about music, being a trumpet player but, sometimes it's diffucult to understand the music, Tocata in Fugue, for example is easy to understand, Mozart was dying, he thought he was writing his own death song, there is a lot of unhappiness in this song. While Pachabelle's Cannon (anyone hear of the "we remember" graduation song, it's a direct derritive) that song is diffucult because there is a almost mournfull part and it kinda makes you reflect on the past. Tequilla on the other hand has a beat that is hard not to understand. It is full of celebration and happiness.

And not being able to appreaciate music, in a way is being deaf, in not using music to it's fullest.

If you are willing to do it, I will suppport you.


J, All the pieces you mention above are amongst my favourite works of classical music.

I love Barber's Adagio for strings - a piece that was referenced by Dewey. It has to be one of the most mounful, yet at the same time energetic pieces of music I've ever heard. How could it make Malcolm happy? Even the William Orbit version puts me in a certain state of mind.


Retired Mod
I have Pachabelle's Canon an Tequilla memerized for trumpet. Pachabelle: D, D, D, E, D, D, B. It's that spike(the E) that gives it the mournful sound. it increases in intensity over time, you really have to fource the air out of your gut, not lungs in this song. and it kills the lips after playng it too many times at once (believe me, i know :) )


Retired Administrator
Well, I now feel like I know about as much as Malcolm.

@appanah, I hope that you don't stop writing your analyses, because I really enjoy them. What is this self-imposed word limit you were referring to? That seems a tad goofy.

It will be interesting to hear your studies, but to be quite honest, I don't think I could ever do that; I want to see the complete ep ASAP. Good luck!


New member
The part where Malcolm gets his first F was thought provoking. It showed us something that is naturalistic to this genius, that nobody can perfect every field.

I was disappointed that the writers let this angle fall at the end when Malcolm actually does appreciate the music. I thought the ending could have been done better. It was important to the show but should have been placed towards the middle. After all, it is supposed to be a comedy (emotional stuff is just fine (even good in fact) as long as it ends with a joke)

At first I thought, Dewey's deafness would be a permanent addition to the show

At first, I actually thought he was lying and trying fooling malcolm. But that would have been too similar to the Ida's Boyfried plot.
Question: Did Jamie go deaf too?


Retired Mod
I don't think so. Jamie was close to the ground, probably startled by the air horn itselt and ran under the bed to protect himself, he probably just got that annoying ringing in his ears.


New member
In the Voting Community entery, someone asked what nationality Ida is, when I saw the episode where Francis spends Christmas with her a while ago, I assumed that she was Russian.


Retired Mod
Not nesacerairly Russia. Ida grew up durring the cold war, meaning the Soviet Union, at that time the Soviet Union held many countries,like:

Ukraine, Afganistan, Uzebeckastan, Algeria, half of Germany, Poland, ect., ect.

Possibly in my opinion she came from the Ukraine.


New member
Wow, a really strange episode!

I guess the end would have been funnier if he had turned off the radio angrily. ^^

At first I also thought that Dewey was fooling him, but when I saw the blood coming out of his ears, I really startled. What the?!? Is he really deaf now? I couldn't believe it and was really happy when, in the end, everything was fine again.

Somehow a pretty brutal episode. I still don't know how to feel about it. Dewey became deaf because of Malcolm, Hal nearly died because of splinters of the TV-screen... just didn't get the humour about it this time. It wasn't funny for me, but very exciting... Pretty strange.

Anyway, I didn't even get the Lois-Ida part. The dance scene was really amusing, but what the hell was that cooking for and why did she get crazy on that? What kind of crazy storyline was that?

And what was REALLY strange was that in the last 2 episodes, Malcolm, from his behaviour, reminded me of J.D. from scrubs. I don't know if it was only caused by that crazy hairstyle, or if he really acted like him. The scenes in "Butterflies", when he and Lois were staring at each other for example... That was J.D.'s face.

I think I'm going crazy.


New member
First and foremost, I would like to point out that although I am a fan of MITM, I have not watched and cannot quote every single episode aired. I am in the process of acquiring all of the prior series, but I have watched all of the current season.

I quite liked this episode. I felt that it explained quite alot about what makes Lois, Lois. In comparison to Ida, Lois is an easy ride in the park as a mother. It also shows that her upbringing was such that she was made to feel that she owes her mother heavily, and this is a debt that she will never be able to repay entirely. It was nice to see Lois 'reduced' to the capacity of a daughter, with all its embarrassments (such as dancing in front of a group of aunts and uncles) and never ending strivings to please; rather than the higher status of a parent.
One thing that nobody has picked up on was the inference of Ida's religious group. Did Ida say that St. Grotus went to Hell to ask Jesus to increase the severity of the church's enemies punishment? Does this imply that Jesus resides in Hell?

I also thought that although Malcolm is perceived as an academic bigot, he's actually quite industrious: he was determined to learn about the appreciation of music, and despite quitting the class, he still wanted to learn. It shows that despite his IQ, he would still choose classes that require minimal work, although it can be assumed that he would excel in the majority of subjects.


Retired Administrator
Welcome to the forums, and good thoughts. Good luck on acquiring the earlier seasons, they're quite good.

One disagreement, however: I don't believe Malcolm quit; he forced himself to learn about musical appreciation because he didn't want his infallable grade point average to be compromised on such a class.


New member
I really liked this episode. I thought all three storylines were both entertaining and funny.

The Ida/Lois storyline was interesting as it opened up their relationship a bit more. Despite Ida being as malevolent as ever, she seems to show some kind of strange love/pride in her daughter when she's retaliating against the other old women. Lois actually tells her mother how she feels about her and the fact that she does the St. Grotus dance, in full costume, shows the love she has for Ida. The scene where Lois dances on the two tarts was very funny.

The Malcolm/Dewey storyline was good. I find Dewey brilliantly funny when he gets angry and his outburst at Malcolm didn't disappoint.

I probably liked the Hal/Reese storyline best of all. I just find Hal so funny when he works himself up into such a state about things. I thought it was hilarious when Malcolm enters the kitchen and a terrifed Hal pulls a knife on him. I don't know what that says about my mentality but I don't care.

Best Quotes:

Ida: (referring to Lois) She's the one with the half-wit factory between her legs

Hal: (to Lois) I thought we agreed we'd never take any extraordinary measures to prolong your mother's life

Reese: (talking about a horror movie) The guy at the store said that even he was freaked out by it - and he's an albino!


New member
I'm glad Arach said something. I too felt this episode was unusually brutal, even sadistic. I didn't find it funny, either. Until the dance, the Saint Grotus stuff and the mean old women was way too much of the same thing (old women being mean to Lois), and hard to relate to--who could care about making that tart?

But the deafness bothered me--making it permanent would make it too tragic, but making it temporary did seem to cheapen deafness and hearing damage. In real life, recovering from total deafness like that, when possible, would have taken weeks.

And Hal and the TV set--Gosh, I was seriously scarred for days. For hours afterward I couldn't get that frightening image out of my head. I had to watch the episode again just to conquer my fears and get over it. When you see the TV go lower and Hal has that horrible scream, I really thought the episode was going to end with Lois returning home to find Malcolm and Dewey deaf and Hal blind from shards of glass. I was relieved to see that Hal was unhurt, but that scene was torture.

I thought the beatings in No Motorcycles were kind of overly brutal too, along with Hal's finger-breaking, but nothing like this (side note on that ep: It annoyed me that Dewey is clearly too old and too smart to still believe in the tooth fairy). Add to this Ida's Losing a Leg and the second half of this season is really pushing the line in terms of gruesome, sadistic humor. Ida Losing a Leg didn't bother me at the time, but looking back on it I'm afraid it's part of a pattern.

Oh, by the way, this is my first post. Hi, everyone. And I really do like the show, in spite of this post, but this was by far my least favorite episode, probably ever.