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Hal, played by Bryan Cranston, is married to Lois, and is father to Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey, and Jamie. He is more relaxed in his parenting than Lois, mainly because he is afraid to make the wrong choice. However, he does discipline his boys; most of the time when Lois is disciplining them to back her up, and sometimes even when she is not around. Several episodes refer to him as a former rebel and troublemaker, much like his sons. He ran a pirate radio station in college under the name of Kid Charlemagne. Despite all that, Hal blends well with his neighbors, sharing similar interest. His indecisiveness supposedly stems from a childhood incident in which he accidentally caused a snake to strike a clown (as an adult he is afraid of both snakes and clowns). When Lois is away, he quickly loses self-control and indulges in his baser enjoyments, such as smoking, gambling, loud music, and building "killer robots" (as explored in one episode). Even with Lois with him, in one episode, he steals a car that was speeding up and down the street in front of his house (subsequently pushing it into a lake with her help). In another episode, Hal is seen to love domino toppling and in the episode Bowling, he is seen as a skilled bowler (he bowls a perfect game.) Hal has been revealed as a talented hairdresser. There are also hints that he has a foot fetish.

In the episode If Boys Were Girls when Lois imagines what her life would be like if she had four daughters as opposed to four sons, she imagines Hal as overweight, most likely because of all of the stress of having five women in the house, and overprotective. Despite this, he maintained balance to Lois and his daughters get along with him better especially Frances, the eldest daughter who often blames her mother for ruining her life. Although he does not show it much, he has a high temper, and usually flies into fits of rage over petty annoyances, frequently engaging in self-destructive vendettas against those who cross him. In the second-season episode Convention, when he and Lois go to a convention, he keeps getting into fist-fights with a man who stole a great idea from him long ago. Also when a clown at a batting cage insults Lois he immediately strikes the clown and continues to get the whole family involved when other clowns join the fray. Another example of his high temper is in the fifth-season episode Reese's Apartment, when he gets furious and starts speaking angry gibberish after hearing the horrible, outlandish thing that Reese did (which is never revealed). He is also very squeamish, and is terrified of cartoon characters like Rosie the Robot and "evil puppet" movies.

Hal is very devoted to his wife Lois. He likes the fact that he is "the only one who really understands" her and believes her to be his "special treasure." He also believes that both his happiness and the well-being of his sons depend largely on her. As a result, Hal supports Lois on most things and allows her to handle disciplining the boys. However, as a man, he often understands what his sons are going through better than Lois, and helps them accordingly, sometimes behind Lois' back. (For example, he drives Francis back to military school when he runs away, preventing Lois from finding and punishing him.) Although he usually defers to Lois, he also knows when to disagree with her; he calms Lois down when she starts going overboard, as she tends to do, and provides a balance to her abrasive and intense personality. In the episode "Mono" he believes her to be the most amazing, wonderful, beautitful woman in the world. It is also said that he loves her more than she loves him.

He is quite passionate about a range of activities, such as roller-skating, painting, pirate radio and race walking. He also has a passion for electronics and listening to old music. Many subplots involving Hal are that he becomes obsessed with a single topic (usually an activity or errand) that he hopes to do or finish, which usually (but not always) ends with failure and frustration. He comes from a large and rich family, all members of which have various (repressed) problems. They rarely visit because of their intense friction with Lois. Hal's family believes that Hal deserved a high-class woman, instead of Lois, who has a lower-class background and was too much of a control freak. They approved of Susan in spite of her low-class background because she was high-class and talented(a sentiment shared by both Victor and Ida) to the point they thought she was perfect for him. His father (Christopher Lloyd) never listened to him, and so he always made jokes or tickled Hal before they both could speak about Lois. The reason for this is that while his other children were popular and successful, Hal had a lot of problems his father just didn't know how to help him with or didn't care. This later came back to haunt him when Hal armored up in over seven layers of coats to confront him in the tickling rematch and Walter finally admitted it was his poor choice in marrying Lois over Susan that made his family very resentful towards him. In the seventh-season episode Hal grieves his father's death. He was also mentioned to have dated a Mexican girl before dating Susan and marrying Lois.

Hal works as a low-level, cubicle-bound, white-collar worker in a large, scandal-ridden corporation. He was used as a scapegoat for much of the company's shady business practices, a charge that would have resulted in a lengthy prison term. However, with the help of Malcolm, Hal proved that he could not possibly be the guilty party because all of the incriminating evidence against him took place on Fridays, and Hal presented inarguable proof that he had been skipping work on Fridays for 15 years. He stated in the sixth-season episode Motivational Seminar that he works in systems management. In another episode Hal's company head stated that Hal was one of the best systems managers he ever had, however in the seventh-season episode College Recruiters (2) Hal says he could be replaced at his job in an hour.

Hal was mentioned to being fearful of making the wrong decisions, evident in Living Will from a traumatic experience as a child. This is why he has always deferred to Lois in making hard decisions and his only time that he didn't. However, Hal was concerned that he would make a wrong decision concerning Mr. Edelman to the point he had suffered psychosomatic paralysis(Hysterical Conversion Disorder), being paralyzed from the waist up and making impossible to speak. Soon Lois got fed up with the belief he's just using the easy way out and reminded him that he was good at making choices once. He chose to marry her instead of Susan which made both families angry at him. This helped Hal snap out of it and admitted that had he married her sister, he would've regretted it because he would miss out on Lois the only woman who understood him better.

Hal gives each of the boys "One free pass". He does so when they do something so horrible that he can't tell Lois about it. They don't get to choose when to use it, Hal decides by how bad it is, and how Lois would punish them if she found out. Each of the boys used their pass at a fairly young age apparently. In a flash back, Hal remembers all the times he gave them their "One free pass". Francis used his when he got handcuffed to a pole at a strip club, trying to get his money back from the stripper. Reese's was when he strapped roller skates to a horse and accidentally killed it in the driveway. Malcolm mixed the wrong chemicals in his chemistry set and blew/burned his and Hal's hair off leaving their scalps red, with some smoke trailing off. Hal caught Dewey smoking some of his ten year old hidden cigarettes, which he had hidden all over the house when he was smoking, but had since forgotten. When he caught Dewey he had already become addicted to them, to the point of going in to the "crawl space" under the house to find more (as stated before Hal hid them ALL OVER the place). However Lois learned about it and caught Hal smoking during his antagonizing match with Dewey drinking his coffee(the latter that she ignored). He had to find all of his hidden cigarettes and dumped them out of the house for good. "Mom made Dad get rid of all of his old cigarettes, and said she would make him eat any she found, he's pretty motivated" Malcolm said as his dad opened an air vent letting at least 250 cigarettes come falling out.

Hal has sunk to some great lows over the course of the show. He has stolen money from Francis to pay for paint, and Malcolm's new credit card to pay for a ski trip when he tried to out do the boys on Christmas. He is also some what cowardly, esspecially when it comes to Lois, on times when he has ruined something he bribes the boys to take the fall, an example of this was when he had an idiot old friend over while Lois was away they knocked down they're bed room wall in a drunken haze and tried to maintain that he and the boys are planning to help with the expansion of their house. Because he has lost every fight he has ever been in since childhood, He goes on petty, self destructive vendettas against ANYBODY who crosses him, man or child. A majority of the family's poor home life and lack of money, is due to his own reckless behaviour and poor work ethnic. He fears Lois more then the boys do, So much infact he tries more despretally to cover up his own screw ups more then they do. When he forgot to renew their health insurance, he tried to keep the boys from hurting themselves but ended having the patio shade crash down on top of him breaking his leg. When Dewey called Lois to tell her, He ripped the phone line out before he could say anything preferring to deal with great pain then face his wife.

With baby Jamie, he has been quite neglectful, he almost drove off with him on the roof, and had forgotten him three times in the park.

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