Review of "Wilfred" on FX From The TV MegaSite
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"Wilfred" review by Suzanne
Returns June 23 at 10:00 on FX

I watched the first three episodes of this very odd new summer show. The best thing about it is Elijah Wood, and the other actor, Jason Gann. Wood plays an awkward young man who is depressed and damaged. He feels like he has no future or any options. He doesn't seem to have any friends, either. He meets Wilfred, the next door neighbor's dog. Trouble is, he sees Wilfred as a grown man in a scruffy dog suit.

Not only does he see him, but they have conversations. Wilfred drinks, smokes, and smokes weed, as well as all of the things that normal dogs do. The rest of the world seems him as a regular dog.  Wilfred and Ryan strike up a very strange friendship, but Wilfred mostly seems to want Ryan to get into trouble. Along the way, he tries to get Ryan to embrace life more fully and to act more like an animal.

It's a black comedy, and it is very good, but I don't know if the average viewer will like it. For one thing, it could be funnier. It's also very strange.  We don't know if Wilfred is really a dog, or if this whole thing is in Ryan's head, or what. I don't know if we learn it this season or not, or why Wilfred is messing with him all the time. I had no trouble with any of that, but I found myself wondering why Ryan was so lonely. Why didn't he have any friends or girlfriends? Sure, he's awkward, but so are lots of people. He is a former lawyer, so he must have some social skills. Also, he's gorgeous, and he's a nice guy. Hard to believe that he would not have ANY friends or girlfriends. They don't really explain that.

Most of the show is about Ryan and Wilfred, but Ryan also likes Wilfred's owner, Jenna. He also has a neighbor who's a jerk. They are fairly minor characters, at least in the episodes I saw.  Wood and Gann carry the show, and they do a fantastic job. The show is definitely worth watching, but I wouldn't get too attached to it.  It's fun, it has lots of action, and bizarre things happen.

The show was very popular in Australia, where Gann also starred. He's also the show's writer. "Wilfred" will have 8 episodes this season, which have already been filmed. The show premieres June 23rd at 10pm, right before the season premiere of "Louie".

Update: FX sent me the episodes "Acceptance" and "Respect" to watch, too. I really didn't like Acceptance very much. It's kind of gross, and I didn't think it was all that funny. Episode 5, "Respect" is amazing, and very funny. You really need to see this one because it will spin your head all the way around! I can't really say much about it, but Wilfred does some things that just make you wonder, did he really do that? It makes you gasp as it makes you laugh.

Update 7/27/11: Wilfred continues to be a very strange show. It is offbeat, funny, at times dramatic or even sad or cute.  episode 6 "Conscience" is all about how jealous Wilfred it is of Jenna's boyfriend. Ryan is reluctant to help get rid of him.  In episode 7 "Pride", Ryan is low on funds, so Wilfred gets him into a car accident to solve his financial problems. Of course it doesn't work.  Jane Kaczmarek from "Malcolm in the Middle" does a great guest-casting job in that one.  It is a bit disgusting but funny.  In Episode 8 "Anger", which airs on August 8, Ryan figures out what happened to his long-dead dog, with the help of Wilfred. This episode has a pleasant-but-strange ending. I think it may be the last episode of the season. I wonder if it will be back? This show is interesting to watch and very surprising...there aren't too many TV shows you can say that about.

Update 8/21: Wilfred has been renewed for next season! Wonders never cease.  The last two episodes are really good, especially the 9/8 episode, which is the season finale. Lots of crazy and shocking things happen.  In the 9/1 episode, Ryan gets an offer from a beautiful woman to go away with her to another country, but Wilfred thinks he should stay and keep helping out Jenna (even though she has a boyfriend).  Something happens with Jenna that affects Ryan's life, and then he starts to make a series of decisions, that get worse and worse.  This carries over into the 9/8 episode, and things get more exciting. At the end of the episode, I thought, "Oh my God! What will Ryan do now?" And that is the cliffhanger.  It's a doozy!

FX Wilfred Airs September 1, 10pm  "Sacrifice" Wilfred urges Ryan to sacrifice his newfound happiness for a greater good.
Written by Sivert Glarum & Michael Jamin; directed by Randall Einhorn.

Wilfred Airs September 8, 10pm  "Identity" Ryan ignores Wilfred's advice, creating an existential crisis for both of them.
Written by David Zuckerman; directed by Randall Einhorn.

My interview with Wood and Gann!

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Updated 8/21/11 


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