Chosen One of the Day: Merton J. Dingle from Big Wolf on Campus

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May 24, 2017

All right, '90s kids -- here's a throwback for you.

We always want to talk about our love for the Power Rangers or Goosebumps or the paragon of children's horror Are You Afraid of the Dark, but today I want to celebrate one of the lesser lauded entries on the '90s era, Big Wolf on Campus.

*wolf howls in the distance*

It's all a blur of weird hair and pants that were somehow both too big and too small at the same time. You understand.

Big Wolf on Campus was like Horror Movies 101 for kids who maybe weren't really into horror yet. It was Buffy the Vampire Slayer for kids who had most recently watched Boy Meets World instead of My So-Called Life. All the monsters you could want, without as many monster movie scares, neatly packaged in a half-hour comedy on what was then FOX Family (oh Freeform, how things have changed).

The show followed Tommy, a teen turned werewolf, as he tries to navigate high school while dealing with his little … problem. Also, there's like a scary werewolf cult that shows up and turns his girlfriend, Lori, into a werewolf for a little while. Oh, and Corey Haim shows up playing Corey Haim, literal vampire.

Most of us who grew up watching the show wanted to be Tommy or Lori, badass and fearless.

In reality, though, we were all Merton J. Dingle.

Merton was Tommy's best friend and the resident goth of Pleasantville High School. He dyed his hair black, drove a hearse and had a pet snake (and a hamster named MC Hamster, RIP). He checked ALL the nerdy goth stereotype boxes and you know you probably did too. He wrote screenplays, learned weird languages for fun and created a club called The Gothic Fantasy League.

It was like looking in a mirror. A dorky, spiky-haired mirror.

We all wanted what Merton had. We wanted the werewolf best friend. Hell, we still do. All the supernatural adventure without any fleas or painful transformations or weird facial hair? Yes, please! We wanted the meticulously indexed informational videos for dealing with all manner of disasters.

Face it, we even wanted the hearse.