Sunday's star-studded, post-Super Bowl edition of Malcolm in the Middle promises to answer the age-old question: How does a group of girl-crazy guys win an ice hockey tournament when one of their opposing teammates is none other than supermodel Heidi Klum? Well, according to one of the players — series regular Chris Masterson — they, well... don't.
"The hard part about it is no one is looking at [the puck] when you go to pass to them," explains the 22-year-old actor, who plays older sib Francis in the Emmy-winning Fox comedy. "Everyone on the ice is looking in the same direction — which is her direction; no matter who you pass to, they're not going to catch it. So that's what sort of screwed us up about Heidi."
Well, if the presence of Klum wasn't enough to drive Masterson and co. to distraction, the episode's ice hockey subplot — which takes place in Francis's new home of Alaska — also features Fox Sports personalities Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw, not to mention basketball legend Magic Johnson. (The "A" story revolves around Hal's company picnic and brings out the likes of Susan Sarandon and The West Wing's Bradley Whitford — husband of Malcolm leading lady Jane Kaczmarek.)
Despite all of his stargazing, Masterson is quick to point out that shooting the special hour-long Malcolm (airing immediately following Super Bowl XXXVI) was hard work. For starters, the Long Island, N.Y., native had to look the part of a hockey jock. "I went to [an ice rink] and practiced a lot," he says. "Once I got over that hump of learning how to skate, then there was the whole shooting the puck and handling falling down."And although he estimates taking "80 to 90" ego-bruising spills on the ice, Masterson says the experience gave him a newfound appreciation for team sports. "My brother plays hockey constantly and I never understood what the big turn-on was," he confesses. "I've always been really into solo sports, like surfing and rock climbing. But once we were out there playing, I saw all of the moves we had rehearsed come together and work. It was like this victorious feeling."