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Series / Big Wolf on Campus

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I used to own this town
Now it's all turned upside down
I wish I could figure out
Do you think?
It's just a phase I'm going through?
Opening Theme

Local high school jock Tommy Dawkins (Brandon Quinn) has nothing to worry about until he's bitten by a werewolf. Not knowing what to do, he befriends the local effeminate genius goth Merton Dingle (Danny Smith) and together they team up to fight the weirdness and monsters that pour into the town of Pleasantville, even though almost everyone believes that their protector, "The Pleasantville Werewolf", is viciously dangerous, all the while Tommy tries to keep his life as normal as possible and go out with Stacy Hanson (Rachelle Lefevre). When Stacy moves out east to begin college early, the boys meet Lauren "Lori" Baxter (Aimée Castle) who discovers Tommy is a werewolf and helps them in their supernatural encounters.

The series lasted from April, 1999 to April, 2002. A total of 65 episodes in 3 seasons. An incredibly lighthearted show that essentially existed to parody shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, and replace their Wangst with lighthearted slapstick and goofy wordplay. A Canadian production, it ran on the Fox Family Channel and YTV.

Provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Kickboxing classmate Lori Baxter, who shows up at the beginning of Season 2.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Merton, depending on the episode.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with the gang splitting up to go to different colleges... only for Merton to transfer to Tommy's school as his new roommate, and immediately declaring he suspects someone on the staff of being a vampire! "The Wolf Rides Again!"
  • And This Is for...: During "Commie Dawkins":
    Tommy: That's for Pearl Harbour!
    Merton: That was the Japanese! Touching sentiment, though.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The reasons the gang give to Corey Feldman on why they staked Corey Haim.
    Lori: He tried to make me his vampire bride.
    Merton: He buried me alive.
    Tommy: He borrowed money from me and never gave it back.
    • Merton describes magic-black-marketeer Maxwell Fong as a keeper of an ancient secrets, a master of the dark arts, and an above-average Scrabble player.
  • Badass Normal: Lori. She may not have werewolf powers like Tommy, but she's still a talented kickboxer who easily holds her own in a fight.
  • Balloon Belly: In one episode, Merton drinks a strange nectar (given to him by man-eating spider-people, no less) that causes him to rapidly gain weight. By the end of the episode, and thanks to a convenient time-skip montage, he's back down to his normal size.
    • In another episode, Tommy gains weight and gets a small one of these.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: It turns out that Corey Feldman, the actor who played Edgar Frog in The Lost Boys, is a real vampire! So is his costar Corey Haim; apparently some interesting things were going on backstage of that movie...
  • Big Eater: It comes with the whole werewolf thing, Tommy just can't get enough meat in his diet. It's what gets him discovered by the population at large.
    • Even Tommy can pile on the pounds and get fat and does so in one episode, though he loses it by the end of the episode.
  • Big "NO!": Referenced. "No protracted moan of "NOOO"?"
  • Brains and Brawn: Tommy is the Brawn, Merton is the Brains.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In one episode, Tommy gets his lycanthropy extracted from him. He enjoys it for a while, until he realizes that the process is making him weaker and weaker until he would die. Oh, and that the doctor that did the extraction was planning on using the... extraction to create a werewolf army to take over the world.
    • There's also an episode where Tommy is mysteriously sent to a "What if?" dimension in which he was never bitten by the werewolf, and also tore his ACL removing him from the football team and putting him in the glee club. A rival football player was bitten instead and quickly proves to be a bad werewolf. Tommy quickly is rebitten to save Lori and Merton and realizes that being the Pleasantville Werewolf is better than the alternative.
  • Came Back Wrong: The cure for petrification turns out to be itself a deadly poison, allowing Fong to extort Tommy for the cure to the cure.
    • Also, Lori's ex-boyfriend, Rob. He came back as a zombie.
  • Canada Does Not Exist: Pleasantville can easily be seen as an Anytown, USA and there aren't really any specifically Canadian cultural references.
  • Cassandra Truth: Merton runs into a couple of these, including "Corey's a real vampire" and "My childhood imaginary friend is trying to kill you."
  • Celebrity Casualty: In one episode, Corey Feldman plays himself as a vampire and gets killed with a wooden stake through the heart.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Tommy choosing between friendship and social status in "Pleased to Eat You".
  • Chess with Death: Parodied. Tommy takes the "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey" approach and challenges Death to several different games. Death beats him every time.
  • Christianity is Catholic / Fantastic Catholicism: Christian an biblical references tend to be Catholic like the use of Latin language.
    • In the episode "The Exor-Sis", Tommy and Merton hire a Catholic priest to perform an exorcism on Becky. The priest falls to the floor and passes out, so they take his Instant Holy Water Tablets and put it into the spa.
  • Circling Birdies: Tommy hears these after crashing into a tree and when his head gets hit during a brawl.
  • City of Adventure: If it's paranormal and dangerous, it'll show up in Pleasantville. Right down to its nice sounding name, it's a very transparent expy of Sunnydale.
  • Continuity Drift: In the episode with the cat girl, Merton mentions that he's only allergic to cats, sneezing whenever the titular cat woman appears. In the episode with the hell hound, he's sneezing whenever he's near the dog.
    • He could be allergic to hell hounds.
  • Continuity Snarl: On three occasions Tommy meets other werewolves. Each of these three appearances completely contradict the others regarding werewolf society (although this is Lampshaded in one of the episodes, in which Merton is surprised to find that the female werewolf Tommy meets, unlike the last group, has no desire to turn him evil).
  • Cool Car: Merton drives a hearse.
  • Cool Kid-and-Loser Friendship: The quaterback Tommy befriends the nerdy goth Merton because he's the only one who can help him with his lyncanthropy. Prior to that, he didn't even know his name. Oddly, Becky Dingle seems to be the only other teeenager to realize the cool guy is friend with his loser brother in season one.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Merton is turned to stone by Medusa, it is discovered that Merton has prepared tapes to be viewed should anything happen to him, where he explains how to cure him of any supernatural fate that might befall him, even going as far to use title cards so that the tapes can simply be fast forwarded to the applicable cause of death. Unfortunately, after hours of fast forwarding, it turns out being turned to stone is not covered on the tapes. Also note that the potential causes of death the tapes cover include Celine Dion.
    • Not quite as impressive, but still:
    Tommy: Okay, so he's a hell hound. It's not his fault; can't you do something?
    Merton: What do you think, I have a kit to purge evil spirits from a dog?! *beat, smirk* Because I do.
    • When he "suits up" to go up against Vampire!Corey Haim. He even lampshades this when he points out that the headband might be a bit "too effeminate".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tommy.
  • Cursed with Awesome: He may not be able to touch silver, or even think of kissing his crush without inadvertently transforming, but his powers come in handy both with fighting evil and scoring touchdowns.
  • Curse Cut Short: A demon is opening a portal to hell and before he can say hell, he's interrupted by Lori's cry of "Hello!"
    • Plus they usually avoid saying hell outright at all. This is especially noticeable in episodes with demons; often Hell will be Hades, or the Underworld.
    • Merton is quite fond of swearing. See:
    Merton: Anytime you wanna come over and kiss my a—
    Tommy: Hey!
    • and:
    Merton: We, and by that, I mean [Tommy], are gonna deregulate all over your sorry— (his voice is then muted by the universal remote-wielding villain of the week. It's still extremely obvious what his mouth says).
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Merton combines this with Stealth Insult. "I think you combined the articulation of Arnold Schwarzenegger with the emotional range of Jean Claude van Damme." Tommy doesn't get it.
  • Demoted to Extra: Recurring characters Tim & Travis gradually received less screen time as the series progressed, to the point that one of them left the show and the other was only mentioned once afterward, purely to explain where the other was.
  • Dirty Communists: One episode featured a Russian operative going back in time to prevent the break-up of the Soviet Union; he succeeded, resulting a Crapsack World where the Soviets had conquered the US and Pleasantville had been renamed Pleasantgrad.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Danny Smith, who played Merton wrote and sang the theme song. This is referenced twice, in one episode Merton is seen composing said song, and in the last episode, he appears during the opening and remarks "I wrote this!"
    • Danny Smith also wrote the theme song for the Show Within a Show Chucky's In Da House.
    • He also wrote the "Chunky N Funky" song for the hilarious Fat!Merton breakdancing scene in the episode "Pleased To Eat You".
  • Easy Amnesia: Becky gets the "convenient bump on the head" version at the end of the genie episode.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Werewolves, vampires, zombies, witches, demons, robots from the future, escapees from 50s movies - you name it, it shows up.
  • Faux Paw: An episode features a werecat who performs the Faux Paw maneuver.
  • Fetish: In-Universe. As Merton's listing off different cures for lycanthropy he sounds incredibly... interested.
    Merton: Well there's the wooden stake through the heart! (slams his fist against his chest) UNF! Then there's the silver bullet through the head. BAM! YEAH!
  • Flanderization: Merton's ego and intellect, and Tommy's stupidity, just how much the plots of episodes can be compared to movies.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Episode 2x15 "Mr. Roboto" we get a brief shot of the inside of Mr. Geiger's head when he's talking to Merton. We get small gags in information like his style of dress(Buget Goth) and his most recently rented movies, all of which are movies the show has previously referenced among the few seen are:
    • Manchurian Candidate (Episodes 2x13 and 2x14 "The Manchurian Werewolf")
    • Nightmare on Elm Street (Episode 2x06 "Sandman Cometh")
    • Purple Rose of Cairo (Episode 1x03 "Butch Comes to Shove")
    • Cat People (Episode 1x04 "Cat Woman")
    • Return of the Swamp Thing (Episode 1x08 "That Swamp Thing You Do")
    • The Mummy (Episode 1x10 "Stalk Like An Egyptian")
    • The Exorcist (Episode 1x20 "The Exor-Sis")
  • G-Rated Drug: Time travel for Merton in the episode with the watch. The guy that gives him the watch tells him the first try is free. After that, Merton's intelligence is slowly sapped with each use of the watch.
  • Groin Attack: The first time Merton and Tommy face Butch, Tommy can't seem to transform and he decides that he'll just handle this as himself. Merton promptly kicks him between the legs, forcing him to change. "Just in case."
    • Tommy and his evil twin both fight dirty.
  • Hollywood Board Games: Tommy is an impulsive and rather Book Dumb Wonderful Werewolf. On one occasion, he challenges Death to play chess with him on a whim despite not knowing the first thing about the game. Because he refuses to be deterred, Tommy then convinces Death to play other board games, from checkers to Barrel Of Monkeys. Death eventually gets fed up.
  • I Am Not Weasel:
    • "Hey, I ain't fightin' no bear!" (This was said to Tommy...who is most certainly NOT a bear.)
    • Not to mention that in both of the alien episodes, he's mistaken for a "dog beast of Kardak", followed by a "What are you doing here?"
  • Idiot Hero: Tommy was flanderized into a full-on dunderhead in the second season, though he was a stereotypical jock in the first season and had his moments of sheer stupidity. (Like when Merton had nearly all his intelligence stolen by a villain, but he still managed to outsmart Tommy.) A character guessed that Tommy was a werewolf and refereed him being "special", prompting him to relive grade school memories of being forced to join the reading group that met in the basement.
  • Imaginary Enemy: Vince, Merton's psychotic and extremely jealous imaginary friend who comes back after Merton goes through his childhood toys and proceeds to sabotage Merton's real friendships.
  • Imaginary Friend: Vince, Merton's imaginary friend who comes back after Merton goes through his childhood toys.
  • Imagine the Audience Naked: Tommy suggests that Lori imagine she's naked just before they have to give a presentation together. When Lori corrects him, he points out that there's a hot girl in the class and he wouldn't be able to concentrate.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Spider-People, who fatten up Merton to eat him.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Merton does not like being called a nerd, and is more than happy to remind you that he's a "goth".
    • "Goths have lairs, nerds have labs. Ergo, I am not a nerd. (Beat) Please disregard my use of the word 'ergo'."
  • Ink Blot Test: "Bat... Bat... A lonely boy, who failed to please his demanding father at every turn." "Oh, sorry, that one was upside down". "Bat..."
  • Invisible Streaker: Merton in one episode.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Tommy gets to see what the world would be like if he never became a werewolf.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Even though she is openly humiliated by his existence, Merton is viciously protective of his sister Becky when he finds out she is going on her first date.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Besides the Running Gag of "Hey, this plot is just like that movie." Tommy once asked Merton to explain how Butch, a character from a 50s 'educational' film, could jump out of the projection. Merton tries to come up with some convincing Techno Babble but only confuses himself, to the point where he doesn't know where he is anymore.
    • Not to mention that when the season three premiere continued from where the season two finale had ended, Lori and Tommy's actors' hairstyles had changed and Tommy mentions this
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He's not literally Tommy's father, but he is the werewolf that bit him, making a joke based on the Darth Vader Halloween costume he was wearing at the time.
  • Manchurian Agent: The Evil Werewolf Syndicate does this to Tommy in the aptly named episode: "The Manchurian Werewolf".
  • Mistaken for Gay: Tommy when he tries to bite a guy on the neck.
  • Monster of the Week
  • Mr. Fanservice: There's Merton, the cute nerd with spiky hair who dresses all in black. Then there's Tommy who's very good-looking already and who's werewolf form gives him spiky hair, a goatee, sexy side burns, and tiny fangs. So girls can take their pick, cute and tiny, or big and manly.
  • Mister Seahorse: Merton thanks to an alien, complete with shout outs to Junior and Alien. The alien herself is the one to bring up the latter, when he asks how the birth is going to work.
    Merton: Remember when the alien burst out of John Hurt's stomach? That was
  • New Neighbours as the Plot Demands / Remember the New Guy?: Usually related to Merton in some way: there's Allister Black (his sixth grade rival in D and D), Hilary Choates (his sixth grade love, with whom he promptly breaks up), and Bucky Ophendale (a guy he testified against and sent to juvie).
  • Never Say "Die": Averted — the cliffhanger for the first part of the Manchurian werewolf plot ends with Merton deadpanning: "We're going... to die."
  • Non-Action Guy: Merton tends to spend fight scenes hiding behind his teammates.
    • Lampshaded in an episode where Tommy is in a parallel dimension where he wasn't a werewolf and didn't fight evil with his friends. When he explains this and they get caught up in their "first" fight:
    Merton: Where would I be in a fight like this?
    Tommy: Hiding behind the girl.
    Merton: Right. *Hides behind Lori*
    • He also has other classic lines like this.
    Merton: * After taunting someone who's now turning on him viciously* Hey remember that taunt I made? Let's pretend that never happened.
  • Number of the Beast: 666 victories for an evil wrestler = the Apocalypse.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Eat wolfsbane before your first full moon after being bitten, and you don't become a werewolf. If you don't, you can still bite someone who has, and be cured by ingesting their werewolf antibodies. And apparently only specific types of werewolves are capable of creating new ones. And where there's an entire Syndicate of evil werewolves that can't, Tommy can.
    • In addition to werewolves, there is also French exchange student who is a werecat.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: While "normal" vampires do appear, one episode features special vampires, who only feed on werewolves.
    • They are normal vampires, it's just that they thought all werewolves were evil, so they figured it was more moral to eat them than to feed on people.
  • Parody: Everything. One particularly pointed example is the episode featuring a character named "Muffy The Werewolf Slayer". Gee, who on earth could they possibly be poking fun at?
  • Perky Goth: Merton. Although more like "spastic, hyperactive" goth.
  • Power Trio: Tommy = Ego, Merton = Id, Lori = Superego.
  • Prank Injuries: In one episode Merton pretends to cut his hand and starts bleeding fake blood. He does this to show off his special effects prowess, a talent which comes in handy later when he has to help fake Tommy's death.
  • Product Placement: Merton drinks a lot of Yoo-hoo chocolate milk.
  • Put on a Bus: Stacey Hanson, Tommy's main love interest, gets into college early and is replaced by Lori Baxter. (A case of Real Life Writes the Plot; the actress playing Stacey decided to leave the show to attend college herself.)
    • Travis Ekhart "picked up a trade" in the final season.
    • The school security guard Hugo Bostwick disappears after the first season.
  • Punny Name: The aforementioned "Hugh G. Balzak".
    • From the episode Pleased To Eat You, the spider-lady named Charlotte's last name is Web. Yes, as in Charlotte's Web.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Or at least 'reading saves people who have been trapped in books by an evil bookmobile librarian'.
  • Refugee from TV Land: Butch. Merton and Tommy are aware that this makes no sense even by the standards of the world they live in, but it happens anyway.
  • Reset Button: An episode centers around a watch that could wind back time. Eventually the watch is destroyed, which resets the events of the entire episode, which of course included Stacey discovering Tommy's secret and revealing she was okay with it.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Merton in the first episode of season three, complete with a reference to Han Solo in Return of the Jedi. Then it turns out it's not just temporary; the serum that brought him back is also a poison.
  • Running Gag: Merton would keep commenting how this week's plot was just like some movie; when asked what happened, he'd give a real world answer, e.g. the director's later career. His exasperated audience would demand to know about the movie, only occasionally giving in to the urge to shake him. At one point, Merton starts detailing his experience with a cute girl in the movie theater, causing even more annoyance "the MOVIE! the picture movie!!"
    • Tommy and Merton even got one of these jokes in when Tommy was hypnotized and only barely conscious. Merton began referencing The Manchurian Candidate and Sinatra's career, only to get smacked upside the head.
      • In an episode where a Terminator-esque robot disguised as Merton appears, Merton references the movie and Tommy and Lori, for once, know what he's talking about. Merton seems disappointed that he doesn't get to derail.
      • Tommy even gets in on the act in the Wonderful Life episode, where he gets to pull this on Merton:
    Merton: I find it absurd that you'd mistake my meaning, but I was talking about the movie! What happened in the movie?
    • Also, Merton tends to ask the Monster of the Week (especially when they're about to kill him), "So, you're a (Insert monster here), what's that like?"
  • Russian Reversal: "You don't throw party, party throws you."
  • Secret-Keeper: Merton and Lori.
    • And (as detailed below), Dean Anders, one of the heads of Havermill College, who shows up for one episode, learns Tommy's secret (and doesn't get Easy Amnesia to have it removed), and is never heard from again.
  • Severed Head Sports: One episode had Tommy, Merton and Lori play "Keep Away" with the head of a crazed robotic school counselor (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Shout-Out: As mentioned in the Running Gag, the plots were usually comparable to a movie (or The Twilight Zone episode, in some cases). Although sometimes this went as far as being a Whole-Plot Reference.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Merton the unpopular goth nice guy senior, and Becky his preppy Alpha Bitch-wannabe freshman sister.
  • Sidekick Glass Ceiling: Poor, Poor Merton.
  • The Smart Guy: Merton.
  • Something Else Also Rises: While hosting a radio show, a girl calls in, causing Merton to stand up suddenly.
  • Spider People: The black-clad trio in "Pleased To Eat You."
  • Stacy's Mom:
    Merton: You know, we never really talked about this before, but your mom is pretty h—
    Tommy: The next word coming out of your mouth better be 'talented'.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The team encounters a samurai who has been pursuing a woman (who doesn't reciprocate his feelings)... for the past 900 years. No wonder she tells him to move on.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table
  • Take That!: "If we consult the Encyclopedia of Evil... ceremonial sacrifices, Celine Dion, ah, here he is, Cerberus."
    • This show seems to hate on Celine Dion a lot - she's also one of the many possible causes-of-death for which Merton's planned.
      • It was a Canadian show produced in Montreal. Of course it hated on Celine Dion.
    • Unsurprisingly for a late 90s / early 2000s show, there were a few at The Phantom Menace. The villain of the Red Scare episode argued that in his version of history, audiences didn't have to live through the disappointment.
  • The Vamp: Sloan from the series finale deliberately seduces Tommy and Merton to drive a wedge between them and has a reversable "Kiss of Death". She can also fire her kisses as projectiles, bizarrely enough.
  • This Is Reality: Something-verted: Every single plot is compared to that of a movie, and the same movie generally contains the solution.
  • Those Two Guys: The twins Tim & Travis, until one of them was Put on a Bus.
  • Trigger Phrase: The Evil Werewolf Syndicate hypnotizes Tommy and gives him one of these. Due to some bad timing, the intended phrase is replaced with "Pizza's here".
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Tommy, Merton and Lori.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Played for Laughs in "What's Vlud got to do with it?" Merton participates in a bachelor auction, and is forced to go on a date with a hunchbacked girl named Vlud who bought him. He hates every second of it, until Vlad admits she doesn't find him attractive and placed a bid out of pity. Merton spends the rest of the episode trying to win her over.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Muffy vs Tommy. She accepts that he's different by the end of the episode, although she's seriously weirded out by it.
  • Wacky Cravings: Merton during his stint as Mister Seahorse.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Of course, the heroes rarely have to go very far from school on their adventures. At least one classmate and two teachers were villains of the week (a demon, another demon and a witch doctor).
  • Weirdness Magnet: Pleasantville in general, and Tommy and his friends more specifically.
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: "Fear and Loathing in Pleasantville". Lori is afraid of heights, Merton is afraid of a slasher movie killer, and Becky is afraid of drowning. Tommy, who claims to have no fear, is shown to be terrified of being alone and / or having his secret exposed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A rather glaring example shows up in "Baby on Board." The B-plot of that episode sees Lori trying to hold an interview with Dean Anders, the head of Havermill College (her dream school), only to be repeatedly interrupted by Tommy and Merton's shenanigans. When Merton is kidnapped and taken to space, Tommy asks Lori—who's in the middle of the last chance Dean Anders will give her—to back him up on a rescue mission, prompting the frustrated dean to reject Lori's application. To solve the problem, Tommy beams Dean Anders into space with them, where she also observes Tommy turn into a werewolf. She's discovered his secret (a huge problem throughout the show) and knows that aliens/supernatural creatures exist...and we never hear from her again. It's clear that a Reset Button isn't pushed either, because Lori gets into Havermill on the strength of Dean Anders's adventure in space. So besides the main trio, there's a random college dean who's been saddled with some of the most groundbreaking information in the world—and no one knows what she's doing about it.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
  • Who's on First?: Tommy's attempts to ask Merton what "Je ne sais quoi" means.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The modus operandi of a Monster of the Week; trapping people in illusions of their greatest fears until they are literally scared to death.
  • Witch Doctor: Male nurse St. Jacques.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Werewolves are evil as a matter of course, unless they're just too stupid.
    • The Evil Werewolf Syndicate has almost no problem taking new leader Tommy's order of "Stop being Evil". At least, until Merton sends the previously mentioned werewolf-eating vampires at them, causing the only survivor to plot revenge.
      • Although the survivor does show no signs of trying again after he is defeated and let off with a slap on the wrist.
      • Said character, makes Tommy look smart.
    • The werewolves of Lycanthia also seem to not be evil. Apparently there's no reason to be evil in a kingdom of only werewolves.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tommy tries to talk things out rationally against a girl attacking him. When that didn't work he wasn't afraid to pile drive her into a table.
  • Yandere: The Monster of the Week in the second season finale has a dangerous crush on Tommy, who doesn't feel the same way. What happens next justifies that episode being an example of a Drama Bomb Finale.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Subverted.
  • You Sexy Beast: Tommy begins to worry that perhaps Lori is only attracted to the werewolf part of him.