The most extraordinary television character of the early 2000’s

Tommy Dawkins is the top of his game going into his senior year at high school. He’s the quarterback of the football team at Pleasantville High, his acne has finally cleared up, and he’s even asked out the hottest girl in school on a date. Things are about to change forever.

During a camping trip before the start of his senior year, Tommy is bitten by a werewolf. The bite heals almost immediately and he doesn’t start to think anything of it until his hair starts to grow abnormally and he’s hucking footballs at the speed of light.

However, Tommy’s not the real star of the show. Merton Dingle is the real star of the show. Portrayed by Canadian actor Danny Smith, Merton is a geeky gothic student who is in love with the super natural and strange. Glued to his computer in his lair, or his parents’ basement, he’s a well of knowledge and Tommy’s only salvation.

As seen in the show’s pilot episode, Merton and Tommy start to get along in the face of his hairy condition. Tommy’s condition progressively makes him feel more and more like an outcast, but taking him down a few pegs serves the quarterback some good as a person.

Since the sixth grade, Tommy and Merton have been locker mates except Tommy’s never exactly noticed the spiky-haired master of all things super natural. In the show’s second episode, it turns out there’s a bit of a loophole in the werewolf’s curse. Every 70 years there’s a month where a full moon will appear every single night and Merton wants the curse so badly, but a devilish bookmobile takes away the geek’s chance at a more lycanthropic lifestyle.

Tommy knows what the curse does and how damaging it can be, but couches his decision by acting cocky saying that he makes the better super hero. He is, honestly, the more typical protagonist, but who saves the day in every episode? Merton, with his vast knowledge of the super natural, guides Tommy like furry guided missile toward trouble. He’s the only person who can truly understand Tommy’s condition and know the truth of his wolfywolfism.

It’s empathy and knowing how that feel like to be an outcast which brings these two characters together in the show. Merton is your atypical depiction of the nerdy geek of the early 2000s and as one myself it was great to have a character like him actually be cool. Danny Smith brought so much energy to the role and his character showed that there was value to using brains over brawn. He also shows the value of being a well of knowledge and how powerful being well-read can be.

Anyway, not too sure what the point of this article is other than showing off one of less well-known characters. Luckily the entire first season is up on YouTube and there’s a big fan website that’s a virtual encyclopedia of everything from the show.

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