Tom Willis (Queen of the Willis)
|Queen of the Willis character|
|Last appearance||Quillsville Cold Case|
|Created by||Ava Zinn|
|Significant other(s)||Trevelle Abhrams|
|Children||Kaylee Willis (daughter)|
|Birthday||October 11, 1987|
April 28, 2011
Thomas Mark Nichols "Tom" Willis (b. Margo Nichole Willis October 11, 1987 - April 28, 2011) was a fictional character in the animated television series Queen of the Willis. Tom was the fifth child of Ava and the second child of Angie and older brother of Deanna, Ron, Stuart, Brian, Emilie, Hillary, Luanne, and Brynn Willis, but was also the family's scapegoat who receives the least of their attention and bears the brunt of their abuse. He was often bullied, ridiculed, and ignored. He was the half-bother of Ava's four children from her previous relationships (Breeanna Sellars, Dylan Porter, Stan Hicks, and Dominique Hicks) and Angie's first child, Heidi Unger.
Tom first appeared on television, along with the rest of the Willis Family, in a 15-minute short on December 20, 2003. He was created and designed by Queen of the Willis creator Ava Zinn, who was asked to pitch a pilot to ATE Media, based on Frank's Life and Frank & Brittani, two shorts made by Zinn featuring a younger-aged man named Frank, an older woman named Brittani, and an intellectual pet, Amber. After the pilot was given the greenlight, the Willis family appeared in the pilot episode.
Thomas Mark Nicols "Tom" Willis was born Margo Nichole Willis on October 11 in Quillsville, Indiana, as revealed in Thyroid Momma. He stood is 5 feet 4 inches tall; Tom once commented on the fact that he was short for a young man. He was also slightly overweight. He socially and medically transitioned from female to male at age 18 and underwent sex reassignemnt surgery on September 29, 2006.
Tom was a school-aged transgender boy who, like his transgender sister, Deanna enjoys comedy, music, dance and socializing with his friends, Connie Rose and Trevelle Abhrams. Although at times Tom was seen as odd by his parents and peers, he maintained a remarkable talent with people, particularly with girls and boys, who find him cute and entertaining. He was innocent, gentle, lovable, and good-hearted who can be sometimes seen as a let-down but had a number of talents. Unlike Deanna, Tom was generally very agressive and was a victim of bullies.
Tom was a self-conscious and insecure adolescent transboy. He was treated unfairly by various people and had numerous insecurities that prompt him to try to be part of the "in-crowd", which only results in him getting rebuffed by the many bullies of this circle, particularly Neil D'Amico, the head male cheerleader of the local high school, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds Regional High School. However, a nerdy student named Trevelle Abhrams is attracted to him. He was also usually the butt of Angie's jokes due to his unpopularity and "ugliness". Angie resorts to outrageous stunts and names; Tabby, Shushu, and Heather tend to disdain her kindness, but they typically do it behind Tom's back; and Ava constantly puts Tom down (though not as much) while boosting her own egotistical image and usually does little to no help when she is abused by others, though she is not as abusive towards him as Angie is.
Whilst having a strong tendency to be a pushover, Tom can get angry if pushed too far, as shown in "??", where he strongly insults and defames Angie, Ava, and even Deanna for their inconsiderate actions against him, causing them to distance themselves in shame and sending Angie into depression, though he later apologized; in "Back Home Again in Kevin", he assaults a woman who insulted him after a fender-bender. Many of the show's storylines about Tom involved him trying to improve his life, trying to find a boyfriend or transgender girlfriend, and reaching breaking points with his family and other bullies who victimized him.
Out of all the members of the family, his mother Angie abused him the most, however she is shown to actually care about Tom in various episodes, such as in "Tom and Pamhouser" when she goes out of her way to prevent Anna Pamhouser from having sex with him. Angie cares about Tom but is not open about it to anyone.
Tom was very unpopular in high school due to both his plain appearance and personality as well as being a transman. He desperately tried to be part of the cool crowd, but was usually coldly rebuffed. Because of his eagerness for acceptance, he had been recruited "unknowingly" into a suicidal religious cult, and later recruited again unwittingly into his school's Gay Alliance ("Heather Sings and Swings"). However, Tom did have a moderate number of friends, the best of whom being a group of boys who were often seen with him during occasions such as his parties and gossiping about boys and transgirls. In later episodes, these boys, known by the names Jared, Matt, Randy, Tim, and Hunter, are characterized as being highly unpopular and dateless, much like Tom.
Tom was so unpopular at school that one student fires a nail gun into his own stomach twice (in shop class) in order to avoid a date with him, and then in a later episode shoots his own transgendered sister as an excuse not to go to a dance with him the following night. In ??, Ava is looking for new clothes for Tom, but with no luck; a salesman ends up pouring gasoline on himself, lighting a match, catching fire, and then jumping out of a window after looking at Tom in a pair of slacks. However, he is sought by nerd Trevelle Abhrams. In , Trevelle starts dating a girl named Celine (now transman Chaz), Tom becomes instantly jealous and pretends to date Angelika Mullins to make trevelle jealous. This leads to him signing a contract to become Trevelle's boyfriend and (not knowing at first) her slave, but he gets her to tear up the contract after Angie seduces Trevelle. Perverted neighbor Anna Pamhouser has shown a repeated interest in him, mostly due to her very low standards, asking if he has reached the age of consent. Pamhouser came close to succeeding in "Tom and Pamhouser" when after Pamhouser takes Tom to her cabin only to be stopped by Ava and Angie arriving in time before anything happens.
In the episode "Heather Sings and Swings", a gay student named Seth invites Tom to join in his Gay Alliance Club, with Tom not knowing at first what kind of club it was. Desperate to fit in, he pretends to be a gay guy (despite his transition from female to male) and also pretends to be attracted to Seth and even goes so far as to kiss him to prove it. At the end of the episode, Tom goes over to Seth's house to admit he lied about being gay (Seth thought that Tom came over to have gay sex and even undresses when Tom is telling him that he lied), much to Pamhouser's (who was hiding in Seth's closet) disappointment, of which Pamhouser states "That was dang' old fucking awful, girl. Just Goddamn awful". He also used to have a crush on anchorman Zach Mullins, but it ended after he discovered Zach's vanity and selfishness.
In the first season of the show, the family had inadvertently humiliated Tom due to their bumbling or stupidity, though they cared for him and meant well. After moving from ATE Media to NoSirGifts, this began to change as the inadvertent embarrassment became deliberate bullying and disrespect. Additionally, the show started to flesh out the characters to the point where it appears that most of the population of Quillsville who knows him, or even just meets him, picks on or disdains him for no reason other than him simply being "Tom" or a the fact he was born a girl. This basically means that he was a victim of circumstance, as Tom is normally docile and well-behaved and never seems to do anything mean or inconsiderate. In an interview, Leonard Lai stated: "Tom gets picked on a lot. But it's funny. It's like the middle child. He is constantly in the state of being an awkward 18-year-old, when you're kind of going through male puberty. He's just in perpetual mode of humiliation, and it's fun."
While Tom was, in reality, the least obnoxious or self-involved of the family, he was also the least respected and most misunderstood, often shown by people avoiding his company, disparaging him in person, gathering in his bedroom to read his diary for laughs, etc. or even randomly shooting him when he simply said "Hi Mom" ("Angie's Transgendered Son") but despite this she also was going to say "I love you" in "Internet Hell Comes to Quillsville", and in "Back Home Again in Kevin" she stated they were 'secret best friends' before throwing lemonade in his face, saying she would have to continue to treat him badly in public in order to maintain her reputation due to "peer pressure", thus giving hope that they may be on good terms. Occasionally, when Tom asked a question to Angie or just speaks when she is in the room, Angie responds by saying "Shut up, Tom", which is immediately followed by a line from another character.
Additionally, in "Ava's Makeover", when Ava gets a major makeover, Angie states that she will pleasure herself to Ava's pictures, followed by Deanna and Tom both exclaiming "Me too!" to which Angie shouts "Oh God, Tom, that's sick! That's your father!", ignoring the fact that Deanna said the same thing first. Tom responded by saying "I was only trying to fit in!" Angie immediately kicked him out of the house. Later, during an unrelated conversation, when he tried to insight Angie on how Ava's behavior made a poor example, she said "Tom, who let you back in the house?"
Heather's attention initially softens the lack of respect from Angie and the rest of family; she admits that she cares for Tom when he goes out with Mayor Lee Kelso. While initially seeming to have more common decency for Tom than most people, this appears to almost completely disappear after the fifth season, as Heather's increasingly shallow and self-centered character begins to take more pleasure and joy in being rotten to Tom and often refuses to give him the time of day, such as desperately trying to avoid having to comfort him. Before Tom's death, Ava has also often shown sympathy for Tom, for example, taking him to Spring Break at the beach, only for her former younger wild side to kick in and completely exclude Tom from the excitement. Ava would very often comfort Tom when he is down; however, he gives up one attempt after 45 minutes and gives him a novel, a 40 bottle of Miller High Life, and a bottle of Hydroxyzine, and with a "Whatever happens, happens", leaves Tom to his misery.
In the season 5 episode "Quillsville Cold Case: Albert Willis," after Tom's father Ava responds to a fraudulent retail emergency to the Quillsville Police Department after Lilly Rush questions Julie Crawford Willis (Ava's sister-in-law) about Albert Willis' presumed death in 2002, only to be resurected in 2024.
As Ava is about to enter the interrogation room where Julie Crawford takes Officer Tiffani Donovan, Detective Lilly Rush, and Baxter, Julie shoots Tom, Deanna and Ava and Deanna is able to duck while Ava and Tom are hit. Ava gets shot once in her left arm while Tom is shot in twice and later succumbs to his injuries at the hospital.
NoSirGifts published the following obituary for Tom Willis:
Tom Willis, age 24, student at Babyface High School, died Saturday in a Quillsville, Indiana hospital. Willis suffered from two gunshots after an incident at Quillsville Police Department. Tom leaves behind parents Ava and Angie Willis; sisters Deanna, Emilie, Luanne, and Hillary and brothers Stuary, Ron, and Brian; maternal grandparents Bob Donaldson and Lisa Shanks; paternal grandparents Harry Claussen and Peggy Willis; illegitamate transgendered uncle, Vladamir; and aunt A.A. (Amazing Ava). He was preceeded in death by his uncle Albert
In the season 12 episode "Quillsville Cold Case: Cruel & Desperate Justice", it was revealed that Tom as a transgendered male, gave birth to a daughter, Kaylee Jillian Willis.
- "Leonard Lai Talks About Working on Queen of the Willis and Vote for the Girls".
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