Whatever Happened to Justin Berfield?

There are some shows that a person might wish could go on and on, but eventually things have to end and the actors have to go on their own way. Malcolm in the Middle was one of those shows that some people couldn’t figure out the appeal to since it was a show about a very dysfunctional family in which the mother yelled all the time, the father was kind of a weak-kneed ninny most times, and the kids were, well, they were out of control whenever they weren’t being harangued by their controlling mother. The flashback episodes were funny as all hell because it showed Hal, played by Bryan Cranston, as being the tough parent, while Lois, played by Jane Kaczmerak, was the submissive parent that plied their first son, Francis, with candy and unconditional love. Once Lois ended up becoming the authority in the house things changed in a very big way since the boys knew that to make her angry was either a fun challenge or something that meant that they were going to be spending time enduring one punishment after another for a very long time. While the oldest son, Francis, played by Christopher Masterson, made it a point to challenge his mother, Reese, played by Justin Berfield, was a little more fearful of his mother but also saw the need to challenge her from time to time. To be fair, every son of Hal and Lois saw the need to push their limits, but Reese was a special case since out of all of the boys he was undoubtedly the dunce of the bunch.

While Malcolm was a genius and could excel at just about anything, he was also insanely arrogant and had to be the smartest in the room. Dewey became a master manipulator and a musical genius, while Francis was just, well, Francis, someone who skates through life until they find something they enjoy. Reese did have one saving grace, he was a great cook and absolutely enjoyed it. But apart from that, Reese’s biggest job on the show was that he was a bully to his younger brothers and to every kid in the schoolyard, at least when he and Malcolm were still in grade school. Once they grew up and hit high school Reese did his absolute best to become accepted by his peers, but as one of the poor kids and also someone that was no longer tougher than everyone else, his character struggled in a big way to compete with anyone. One episode made it plain that his niche in grade school was important because he was the alpha bully, the one that all others knew to avoid since he was nastier than any of them and didn’t care about getting into trouble. When his role as a bully was upended due to the loss of a wrestling match to a girl, Reese’s masculinity was challenged, and as a result, he changed in a way that allowed other bullies to wreak havoc in the school, at least until Reese saw that Stevie, a handicapped child, was being bullied. One has to admit that Reese announcing that Stevie was ‘off-limits’ was at least a glimmer of redemption. And the fact that he resumed his role and brought order back to the yard was also pretty cool, in a very dysfunctional sort of way.

But since his days on Malcolm in the Middle, Justin hasn’t really been a part of the acting world, though he still lists ‘actor’ as his profession. It’s possible that we might see him again since he did have something to do with Sons of Tucson, a show that didn’t last that long but was also likened to the show he helped to make famous. These days he’s staying away from show business, at least when it comes to acting, but there’s always a chance that we’ll see him come back for one reason or another. It would actually be kind of great to see the cast come back for a reunion show to see how everyone’s turned out, and how many kids Lois and Hal have now since it was established during the final moments of the finale episode that Lois was pregnant again, much to Hal’s dismay. It doesn’t feel likely that a reunion episode will happen anytime soon since there’s been no word, not even a peep, but it would still be interesting since Reese ended up being the janitor at his old school, while Malcolm was in college and also working as a janitor. There wasn’t a lot of word on Dewey since he and Jamie were still at home considering that they were too young to move on. But it would also be a reunion without Cloris Leachman, who played Lois’s mother since she passed away a little while back. Whatever happens, it’s a big hope that Justin is living his best life at this moment.


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