Dewey Wilkerson is the tritagonist of the series. Born July 12, 1993 (portrayed by Erik Per Sullivan) was the fourth and youngest son of Lois and Hal during the first four seasons until the birth of Jamie in season four and the most poorly treated.

"I expect nothing and I'm still let down."
―Dewey at one of his birthdays 


The eccentric child, Dewey is known for his quirky behavior and slightly manipulative ways (e.g, Dewey often sticks things into his ears). Dewey is the 'baby' of the family for most of the series, coming an older brother when Jamie is born in the finale of season four. He is more artistically inclined than his brothers, playing piano and composing opera music in later episodes. In the first season, he was in the first grade.

Despite being the youngest of the Wilkerson brothers at the start of the series and in contrast to the whining of his older brothers (especially Malcolm) Dewey has the worst life of them all. He has experienced a life of complete neglect and deprivation from happiness. His parents being so focused on dealing with his destructive older brothers and engaging in sexual intercourse have ignored him from the day he was born, having not have even taken pictures of him in his infancy and childhood and not even giving him vaccinations and commonly miss events with him at the center. His older brothers do nothing but make the situation worse and they too ignore him and physically and emotionally bully him at every possible opportunity. Dewey sums up his life in the episode "Baby: Part 1", revealing that he gets the short end of everything and has never even experienced basic pleasures of life such as a bed to himself, a hot shower or even his own clothes. Even his birthdays are not spared from the abuse and neglect of his family as his parents either completely forget it and his brothers beat him up on it. As such Dewey has developed a hatred for a majority of his family members, notably Reese and is shown to take sincere pleasure in whatever misery he can personally bring onto them.

In earlier seasons, while a young child, Dewey was shown to have an extremely poor grasp of reality. Often from his point of view he asks Lois and Hal for something, while in reality he is throwing a horrendous tantrum. He also believed characters on TV were actually talking to him. Even his memories and fantasies stray from reality and the current situation greatly.

Dewey is also revealed to be almost as intelligent as Malcolm (probably even more so), however, he was put in the special needs class (also known as the "Buseys") because of an accident caused by Malcolm. Despite this, this doesn't conflict his performance, as in the beginning of season 6, he was almost put back to the mainstream class, until he threw a temper tantrum, not because he was angry but because he realized that the Buseys consider him their leader and without him to help them they would be much worse off.

Unlike his brother he displays a great deal more common sense, subtlety and is more emotionally grounded--he can trick both his brothers and parents into doing things easily but seems to play down his genius in order not to be forced into things as Malcolm is, he hid his intellect from his fellow brothers to the point that not even the viewers knew he was a genius until his intellect started to sprout during season 4, this was supported when he was shown to have built his own homemade organ out of many tools which drove Hal to insanity, thinking someone was stealing from him, Dewey built the piano solely because Hal wouldn't buy him one, though he was shown to have obtained his own custom made electric piano after this proving he is capable of owning one, like Reese has a talent for cooking, Dewey has a talent for music and was capable of making his own opera though he is also shown to have a talent for magic even performing his own magic show in front of a shopping mall.

He is the main victim in many of Reese and Malcolm's pranks, and as a result has an apparent hatred for Reeseand is satisfied with any misfortune he suffers and has personally tortured him on numerous occasions and enjoys every minute of it. Although, in season 7, Dewey and Reese are close friends. While Malcolm enjoys torturing Dewey as well, the two seems to work together well on a few occasions such as pranking Reese, though Dewey still enjoys it when he is able to take revenge against Malcolm for his harsh treatment.

Dewey's final scene in the series shows him and Jamie hiding from their parents after they pulled a horrible prank and Dewey realizes he and Jamie now have a shared secret to keep them bonded as brothers, just like Dewey had with his other two brothers before they destroyed the evidence when they moved out (the nuclear option).

Personality Traits

Dewey is a highly intelligent, sneaky, manipulative, cleaver, brave, sometimes gullible, immature and clumsy young man. He is shown to be an overall good person and is shown to be one of the least destructive of his brothers and does not appear to enjoy causing havoc and trouble to the same extent, though he does still engage in trouble alongside his brothers and does take some pleasure in it. Even though he is intelligent, Dewey can still be tricked and occasionally outsmarted by his brothers in order to take the fall for trouble or just to humiliate and bully him.

Out of all of his brothers, Dewey has experienced the hardest life of them all, having received the least amount of attention from his parents and has been bullied by Reese and Malcolm from the day he was brought home from the hospital. As such Dewey is a rather introverted person and has shown on numerous occasions that he hates various aspects of his life and the way his family treats him and longs for improvements, though in spite of this he has demonstrated resilience in the face of his brother's cruelty and his parent's neglect and is a strong person at heart. He is shown to be the polar opposite of his older brother Malcolm who is a constant whiner over how terrible his life is (even though Dewey has suffered ten times more than him) and despite being just as intelligent as Malcolm, Dewey does not let his intelligence ruin his life and is able to keep off his domineering mother's radar in order to ensure he does not suffer the same has Malcolm has.

He is undoubtedly the second most intelligent of the Wilkerson brothers (with Malcolm being only a shade more intelligent) and is an expert at manipulating his less intelligent older brothers Reese and Francis and is even shown to be capable of outsmarting Malcolm on occasions and also his two neglectful parents. Even though he is underestimated by his parents and brothers, Dewey has displayed his intelligence in the face of greater odds on numerous occasions, showing he is a musical and creative genius and as a result is expected by his parents to live and life of fame and luxury and drift into happiness unlike his brother Malcolm. He is even shown to have better common sense than his older brothers as he understands that his mother can be a genuinely nice person if you don't get her mad and do not cause senseless trouble. He was able to form a normal mother/son relationship with her for a short while by not doing anything wrong while Reese and Malcolm are unable to perceive that their mom is anything but a sadistic witch who enjoys punishing them for no reason.

Like is mother, Dewey is shown to somewhat be a sadist and is shown to take extreme pleasure in whatever misfortune his family members suffer, notably his older brother Reese whom Dewey enjoys getting into trouble at any possible opportunity and has personally tortured him on numerous occasions for revenge for the years of torture he has inflicted on him and also enjoys making Malcolm suffer as well. Dewey will hold grudges for years on end and has remembered every horrible thing his brothers have ever done to him and as such is always ready when opportunity for revenge knocks and is even willing to risk physical punishments by his brothers and groundings by his mother in order to cause his two brothers misery as seen in "Carnival" and "Thanksgiving". Dewey has even shown pleasure seeing his neglectful father, Hal, suffer from injuries either caused by his own stupidity or Dewey's own doing and has shown extreme hatred towards him due to the years of neglect and underestimation Hal has inflicted on him. Like all his brothers, Dewey enjoys seeing his mother defeated and outsmarting her and getting away with trouble.

Despite this, Dewey is a very good son whom does not constantly belittle his parents for being horrible people and ruining his life, like Francis and Malcolm commonly do and has shown on numerous occasions that he loves his parents and enjoys spending time with them and once even proved his love for his mother by getting her name tattooed on his chest. He is a very good brother, despite the poor relations he has with his older brothers and enjoys aiding them in trouble and spending time with them and his kindness and care towards his younger brother Jaime is very evident as he has personally seen to it that Jaime is happy and not constantly neglected like he was in his childhood, once even manipulating Hal and Lois to give him a proper birthday party and not treating him like dirt like his older brothers usually do, showing that he is not a sadistic bully like his brothers and is a good person at heart.



The Buseys

The Buseys are an emotionally disturbed class in the middle school that the Wilkerson boys went to. Dewey went to their class in the episode Dewey's Special Class. Like The Krelboynes, they are educationally, and socially looked down upon by their students and peers. Ever since Dewey got sent to The Busey class, he has been forced to make friends with them. Although Dewey hates being in the class, he likes the other kids there and considers them to be friends, who he genuinely cares about. Being the only kid who isn't actually emotionally disturbed, Dewey serves as the voice of reason for the entire class, and since the teacher doesn't give a crap about the kids and never does anything, Dewey is also the leader of the kids, hoping to teach them about not only academics, but the society of the real world. The Buseys legitimately want to solve their problems, and look up to Dewey for guidance. They all strongly rely on him and would be absolutely helpless without him.

David Hanson

David Hanson is a busey who thinks he rides a motorcycle and has an occasional stutter. Hanson is one of Dewey's friends in the Busey class. Dewey tries to help Hanson with his schizophrenia, tourette's syndrome, and belief that he's riding a motorcycle.


Hanson's first appearance was in Dewey's Special Class, where he was one of the emotionally disturbed students, placed in a specialized classroom. When Dewey got sent there, he had to make a new circle of friends, which included Hanson. Hanson proved to be a schizophrenic, who believed that he was riding a motorcycle at all times. When the teacher asked him to read a passage from a book, instead of reading the words, he just made an extremely loud screeching sound.

In Hal Sleepwalks, the school president election was happening and a bully nominated Hanson as a joke. Hanson knew that he did this so that he could watch him humiliate himself and ultimately fail, but he thought he'd get revenge on him by actually becoming a good candidate and getting elected, unironically. Unfortunately, upon trying, Hanson had a mental break down, during his speech and started cursing rampantly, revealing that he has tourette's syndrome.

In Dewey's Opera, Dewey made an opera about his family called The Marriage Bed. The Buseys played the roles of individual family members and Hanson portrayed the role of Hal.

Episode Appearances


  • David mainly goes by his last name, "Hanson" as opposed to his first name.
  • It's possible that he's the younger brother of Eric Hanson, given that they both have the same last name and similar physical appearances. Due to Eric going absent from the series in season 3 and David not debuting until season 5, they have never interacted, so we may never know.
  • It is implied in a few episodes that he has a crush on Zoe Desenea.

Zoe Desenea

Zoe Desenea is a busey who thinks she can talk to animals. she has an imaginary alter ego she refers to as Bad Zoe. it is implied in some episodes that she has ADHD. she is also an expert at fake crying and can even tear up. she portrayed Lois in Dewey's opera about his family. Zoe, just like Penelope, occasionally has a few (or none) crazy, overly decorated braids. in Dewey's Opera it is implied that she cut her hair for the role of Lois, it is unknown how it grew back so quickly, it however could have been a wig, whichever one it is is uncertain. Zoe is one of Dewey's friends in the Busey class. Dewey tries to help Zoe with her belief that she can talk to animals and her ADHD.


  • Originally her last name was to be revealed in an episode, but this idea was later scrapped due to her actor leaving the show.
  • Amy Buckner later became busy with other projects and was not able to continue playing the role of Zoe, so she was later replaced by Jennette McCurdy, and her character, Penelope.


Penelope is a member of the Busey classroom that only appears in the episode Buseys Takes A Hostage. She was a stand-in for Zoe Desenea, whose actor had left the series when the episode's plot called for her.


In her appearance, Penelope was a bit hyperactive and like Zoe, she had crazy, overdecorated braids. Penelope appears to believe anything she's told as she even believed that someone could be revived by cutting open their throat and jamming a pen in it, which was something she saw in a movie.


  • Amy Bruckner was busy with other projects and could not come back to reprise her role as Zoe so the character Penelope was created to fill in for her.
  • Penelope is the second character to be played by Jennette McCurdy, with Daisy Wilkerson from season 4's If Boys Were Girls being the first one.


Chad is a very aggressive Busey who always has a sheet of paper on his shirt with some kind of warning such as seizures may be a trap or do not corner. He is also usually seen wearing oven mitts (or sometimes, boxing gloves). He first appeared in the episode Dewey's Special Class. Chad is one of Dewey's friends in the Busey class. Dewey tries to help Chad with his haphephobia, schizophrenia, and obsession of biting people.


Chad has an overactive imagination, shown when he believes there are four of him, or that he can burst someone into flames just by looking at them. In the episode "Chad's Sleepover " he appears to be obsessively neat and organized as he rearranges everything in the Wllkerson house according to factors such as color and texture at one point even stating "rough can't go next to smooth." He played Jamie in Dewey's opera.


  • A running theme with this character involves the sign(s) that are constantly taped onto his body, occasionally reading different things, such as:
    • 'Don't Touch, Bites' (on the front)and 'Don't ignore The Sign' (on the back) - Dewey's Special Class (both of them and his violent behaviour imply that he was Molested)
    • 'Goes For Eyes' - Buseys Run Away
    • 'Seizures May Be A Trap' - Hal Sleepwalks
    • 'Do Not Corner' and 'Jamie' (Towards the end of the episode, signifying his role in the play) - Dewey's Opera
    • 'Touching' (With a symbol to signify 'No Touching' - Chad's Sleepover
    • 'Angered By Sniveling' - Buseys Take A Hostage


Gina is Dewey's love interest in the episode Malcolm Defends Reese. She is a girl who goes to his school who is friends with him. Gina is a love interest for Dewey in the episode Malcolm Defends Reese. Hal tries giving advice to him, but, ends up making things worse, such as putting chocolates on her doorstep, causing Gina to eat them, and her having an allergic reaction to the nuts in them.


Gina was Dewey's school girl crush. He was afraid to talk to Gina for a long period of time, much less ask her out. So, Halhelped him with it. Hal brought Dewey and Gina closer together as friends. He then told Dewey to send her some peanut filled pastries as a way to make her love him and than later go to her house and ask her out. Dewey did this, but by the time he got to her door, Gina's face was swelling because she was allergic to peanuts. Hal freaked out and bailed on Dewey and this was pretty much the end of their relationship.



  • Dewey felt a warm wave from the cracked microwave while in the womb. (Flashback)
  • He has memories of being dropped as a baby by his grandparents. (The Grandparents)
  • In "Garage Sale", it is hinted that Dewey has almost no positive childhood memories as shown when he finds his old baseball glove.
  • In "Watching the baby", the story Dewey tells to baby Jamie about Lois and Hal being rich indirectly reveals that he believes that his parents make his life miserable on purpose. His story also reveals that he strongly desires having an unused pair of pants.
  • Due to a misunderstanding, he is in a class for hopeless children in Dewey's Special Class and Malcolm felt terrible for it because of his mistake in letting Reese take the test for their brother. However, he lead the special needs class to rebel against the teacher. Dewy later got both Malcolm and Reese grounded by Lois for interfering with his test to keep him out of the Krelboyne class. Lois once got him out of there in "Buseys Run Away" when she had to explain to the counselor he was normal. However, he faked a mental relapse and was subsequently put back in the class.
  • A semi-running gag that began in season 2 would be people having the tendency to forget about Dewey when he's supposed to be with them and eventually realizing that he's been gone for a long time. (i.e. Casino, Hal and Lois woke up and realized that the day before, they punished Dewey and he had to go stand in the corner. When they went back down into the kitchen, Dewey was propped up, face flat against the wall, sleeping, having been there the whole night. Later in the episode, Hal and the Wilkerson boys escaped a hotel casino and eventually got lost in the desert and were out there for hours. It wasn't until far into their adventure out there, that they realized that Dewey was gone the whole time.) This gag would have a great big blowout in the episode Morp, where Dewey gets forgotten, neglected, and completely ignored far more than usual, by Hal and Lois, and decides to get revenge on them by taking Hal's wallet and forcing them to go on a little scavenger hunt, to collect a bunch of party material, then leading them to an arcade place. When they get there, he tells them that he's not having the party be thrown for himself, but for Jamie, who still has time to live his life, unforgotten. Lois told him that this was a very nice and selfless gesture for him, but then grounds him for a week and takes a picture of his unhappied face, saying that now they have a wonderful memory of him.
  • Dewey has many diseases involved with his ears due to the fact that he sticks dirty stuff in his ears and Reese gives him wet willies when he is annoyed with him.
  • In Season 4's If Boys Were Girls, Dewey's female counterpart from Lois' fantasies was named Daisy(played by Jeannette McCurdy, who would later play a classmate of Dewey's named Penelope). Like Renee and Mallory, she loves shopping and likes to go to the mall everyday for new clothes. It was Daisy who told off Lois near the end of her fantasies that they're not above using her tactics against her because they're girls.
  • He has written an opera about his parents arguing about a bed in Dewey's Opera and had the Busey Class involved in it.
  • In the episodes No Motorcycles and Dewey's Dog, Dewey mentions that he is often beaten by both Reese and Malcolm.
  • Dewey was exposed to a Flea Bomb while he was taking a nap in his bedroom. (Evacuation)
  • His parents plan for him to have a life of luxury, unlike with the other boys. (Graduation)
  • Dewey's actor Erik per Sullivan, is on twitter, see his account here.
  • In Reese vs. Stevie it was shown that he was smoking but then finding out that his dad was smoking while he was quitting coffee he started to drink coffee.
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