|“||I expect nothing and I'm still let down.||”|
— Dewey at one of his birthdays
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.
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, becoming 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 Dewey's intelligence is geared more towards creative pursuits, the most notable of which is music which he displayed by teaching himself to play the piano expertly as well as writing an entire opera. When he took an intelligence test, Malcolm wanted to save him from being put in the gifted class so filled out the test to make Dewey look stupid... however he went too far, and Dewey was put into a class for disturbed kids known as the "Buseys". Although initially angry, Dewey realised the Buseys were neglected by the school and took charge of them (as their proper teacher usually slept during class). Although the mistake was quickly discovered and the school was prepared to move him to the mainstream class, Dewey decided not to abandon the Buseys and threw a huge temper tantrum.
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 Reese and 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). It is also noted by their parents that while Malcolm will have to work hard and suffer to make it in the world, they consider Dewey to be the one who'll get to have fun and be rich without any real effort.
Dewey is a highly intelligent, manipulative, 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. He 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 be 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 being bullied by Reese and Malcolm from the day he was brought home from the hospital. 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 brothers' 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 Jamie is very evident as he has personally seen to it that Jamie 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.
|“||Give Reese a slice from the fuzzy side and I didn't see a thing.||”|
— Dewey to Lois after seeing her drop a roast on the floor.
|“||That's probably why you're such a drag to be around.||”|
— Dewey to Malcolm after learning he doesn't understand music.
|“||How come you're the only good one in the family? Why didn't any of it rub off on Reese or Malcolm?||”|
— Dewey to Francis.
|“||The moral of the story is that I'll screw you over in a heartbeat, the way my brothers do me. That's the way it works around here.||”|
— Dewey to baby Jamie after telling him a story.
|“||You want to know the truth? You were the fourth child. By the time you came along, this house was in a state of complete chaos. The only sleep I got was when I'd nod off on the drive to work. So forgive us if we didn't get a chance to take every picture, every video, or get you every vaccination.||”|
— Lois telling Dewey why he has been neglected.
|“||So you're neglectful, and you think I'm an idiot. That's nice.||”|
— Dewey to Hal after he attempts to pass false artwork to cheer Dewey up.
Dewey is shown to hate the way his father treats him and in "Morp" was openly disgusted at him for attempting to pass false artwork to cheer him up and in "Baby: Part 1" took pleasure in portraying Hal as a horrible, neglectful father in front of an entire convention of people due to Hal forgetting his birthday and planning to induce Jamie's birth on it . Dewey has shown on a few occasions that he enjoys seeing Hal in misery and enjoys his misfortune. Hal does care for his son however and tried desperately to earn Dewey's love back after he refused to give Dewey piggy backs anymore and in the series finale, Hal reveals that he has high hopes for Dewey and that he will live a life of fame and luxury. Dewey seems to prefer spending time with his dad than his mother due to her harsh personality and the two have gotten along on numerous occasions.
- The Buseys - 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.
- Hanson - 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.
- Zoe - 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.
- Chad - 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.
- Gina - 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.
- Ira Prescott: Billy's older brother, who is Reese's bully. Upon noticing the latter's fear, Dewey enlists Ira's help for revenge against Reese.
- 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 implies 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. Dewey 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. (For example, in 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 unhappy 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 wrote 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 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.
- In Academic Octathalon, it's revealed that Dewey is a rarity in that he has both book and street smarts.