WILFRED: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
While I respect the hell out of FX’s programming schedule, the network is somewhat hit-or-miss for me. Some shows they’ve launched, like “Sons of Anarchy” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” have been really good. Others, like failed attempts “Lights Out” and “Terriers,” haven’t been my cup of tea. Billed along with their popular series “Louie,” “Wilfred” goes for the edgy comedy. And I’m glad to see it’s one of the shows I really like.
Based on an Australian show, “Wilfred” brings original star Jason Gann to star with Elijah Wood. Wood plays a young lawyer named Ryan who falls into a depression after losing his job. The odd thing that brings him out is his pretty next door neighbor’s dog Wilfred. However, Ryan sees Wilfred as a real man in a dog suit instead of an actual dog, as the rest of the world sees him.
The show is off-kilter, to say the least. It’s silly and funny, but it’s also quite smart. There’s a lot of thought put into Wilfred’s antics as well as Ryan’s reaction to them. Like any good surreal series, the show refuses to be pinned down as to what exactly is happening. That’s just no the point. Ryan sees what he sees, and just as the writers head into the direction of explanation, it takes a sharp left-hand turn. This isn’t done necessarily to tease the audience but to continue the premise. In the end, if you’re looking for an explanation, you’re not watching the show for the right reason.
All 13 season one episodes are included on the DVD set, which have been titled with specific emotional themes that either Ryan or Wilfred is exploring. In a roundabout way, “Wilfred” is a series about redemption, for Ryan who has fallen into his darkest days. He is challenged by his busybody sister to stay connected to the real world, but in reality he just wants to hang out with his raunchy but loyal friend.
The first season DVD set includes a nice selection of special features. There’s a mash-up of Ryan and Wilfred’s pot-smoking scenes in “Mary Jane Mash-Up,” a slate of deleted scenes and a look at the love affair that Wilfred has with his semen-soaked stuffed bear. There’s also a nice discussion with James Gann in “Fox Movie Channel Presents Life After Film School with Jason Gann” and a look at the cast and crew during a Comic-Con panel in 2011.