Tonight (Thursday, June 20th 2013) brought back the FX series Wilfred with a full-hour block of creamy-Wilfred-like goodness. The full hour, consisting of two episodes, “Uncertainty” and “Comfort” respectively, begs the further question of did Ryan (Elijah Wood) know Wilfred (Jason Gann), from a young age? And if not, then why is Wilfred crudely drawn in the drawing Ryan draw as a child? Is Ryan insane? Or is there something else at work here, like magic?
For those who have forgotten the basis of the FX-series Wilfred, it is the story of a man named Ryan Newman, who is manic depressive and one day tries to off himself. The next day, he inexplicably can see his neighbor’s dog as a full grown man in a dog suit. The dog, named Wilfred, hangs out at Ryan’s house, smokes weed, steals, performs coitus on a stuffed bear named ‘Bear’ and amongst other things, makes Ryan’s life hell. Or does he? Wilfred at some points seems to be leading an awakening in the manic depressive Ryan, or leading him further down the rabbit hole.
The season two finale (my review here) ended with an explosive shocker compared to typical television tropes; usually tv weddings end with the wedding not going through as planned, thus giving our hero another chance to woo the girl of his dreams. But in this case, Ryan not only helped Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) continue to get hitched whilst dealing with Wilfred’s schemes and ploys, but in the process tries to be happy with Amanda (Allison Mack) who reveals afterwards that she is crazy (she thinks she can hear Wilfred talk too) but that she also stole money from the company.
It left open the idea that season three would introduce Ryan’s father, but it also further dropped hints that Ryan knew of Wilfred before he met Wilfred in the pilot of Wilfred.
"The mistake is thinking there can be an antidote to the uncertainty." David Levithan
Most of the first half of the hour titled “Uncertainty” deals with the drawing and if Ryan knew of the dog Wilfred or not back when he was a kid. And the answer is sadly we do not really know, more leaning towards no. We also learn Wilfred has a clone, which gives us a hilarious look at the dogs yelling at coo-coo clocks. Beyond that, the episode felt a bit devoid of humor to me, leaning more towards more gross-out humor than I care for. The pay-off of Angela Kinsey being someone who photographs Wilfred’s clone was also, in retrospect funny, but while viewing didn’t illicit much laughs for me.
This goes into the old adage that I became the person who, when they see or hear something humorous go “Oh, that’s funny”. And that is what most of “Uncertainty” felt like for this examiner. It felt full of moments that I know are funny but it didn’t illicit a response minus a few bits here and there. And for a show like Wilfred, it was a bit surprising, as even for me, the deep and enriched mystery-driven episodes that further the mythos of Wilfred are full of laugh out loud moments.
"Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always." Hippocrates
The second half of the hour, “Comfort” (featuring the always enjoyable Zachary Knighton as a bit hefty mailman dealing with his own pain) offers a bit more comfort in the hilarity department, which is good to know as the first half of the hour-long premiere feels more of a ‘catching everyone up on the mystery of Wilfred’ than trying to aim too high on the comedy-side of things. But in retrospect, this seems to be the way David Zuckerman and company tend to handle Wilfred in the previous two seasons, doing far-out crazy to humble attempts at deepen the mystery and giving the illusion they are going somewhere with it. But I have long since suspected that the show isn’t really going anywhere necessarily, and instead is just using that to tell these odd enjoyable and quirky stories about a man and his man in a dog suit.
Overall, Wilfred continues to mix and match the tone it has on an ‘as-needed’ basis and as the series of Wilfred continues along, will not stop for a second. The entire purpose of the show, as previously stated, seems to really just tell some fun quirky stories and to change it up when needed; and really, that’s perfectly fine. While “Uncertainty” left me feeling a bit cold humor-wise, “Comfort”, the second half of the hour brought me back to the territory that Wilfred usually resides in: comedy-genius. Let’s hope the rest of the season tends to feature the humor of second episode while mixing the mystery-building of the first half of the hour. If it can do that, which signs point to that it will, Wilfred will continue to have an amazing third season.
For more in-depth analysis on Wilfred's season three premiere, please click here.
Wilfred can be viewed on FX, which for Time Warner customers is Channel 64 and Insight Communications customers is Channel 76 respectively.
But what do YOU think, examiners?