WILFRED: THE COMPLETE SEASON 2
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Elijah Wood as RYAN NEWMAN
Jason Gann as WILFRED
Fiona Gubelmann as JENNA MUELLER
Dorian Brown as KRISTEN NEWMAN
Chris Klein as DREW
Allison Mack as AMANDA
Created by: Jason Gann & Adam Zwar
BY KEVIN CARR
I’ve got to hand it to FX. While they started out as just another cable network, they have really grown into a studio that delivers some biting original content. From dramas like “Sons of Anarchy” to darkly sardonic situation comedies like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “The League,” FX has some great shows in their stable.
One of their more recent new shows is “Wilfred,” which has the second season now available on DVD and Blu-ray. The story follows a former lawyer named Ryan (Elijah Wood) who has a nervous breakdown and ends up seeing his neighbor’s dog Wilfred (James Gann) as a person in a dog outfit.
The second season delves deeper into the mystery behind Wilfred, or rather what Ryan sees. It refuses to give a concrete answer. There are many possibilities, each with valid evidence throughout the series to support it. Is Ryan mentally ill? Quite possibly, considering he has a very similar condition to his mother. Is Wilfred magical? Again, that’s possible since he seems to defy physics at times. Does Ryan just have a different way of seeing things? This one, too, is a possibility.
This season starts with Ryan believing Wilfred is all in his imagination. It starts things off with an interesting reality-bending look at two worlds in which Ryan inhabits. After a few episodes with this, things get back to normal, but it’s a stark reminder that this show is absurd but also deals with veiled surrealism.
But too much focus on what’s really happening with Wilfred and Ryan gets wearing. Fortunately, the show doesn’t run this into the ground. Instead, it just accepts the situation and wraps funny and entertaining stories around that.
We see Ryan try to start a relationship with a co-worker (played by the always adorable Allison Mack). Wilfred, of course, tries to sabotage this, revealing where the heart of the show really is. A dog will object to his master taking a mate (even though there’s little he can do about it). Dogs will try to sabotage things and cause problems as part of their nature. It just appears nasty because you see James Gann’s face when it’s happening.
The only real problem in the relationship woes of Ryan in this season is he is still pining over his neighbor (and Wilfred’s owner) Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann). Her character is simply boring, just the cute girl with not much beneath her bubbly personality. Chris Klein is brought in as her honest-to-god boyfriend, but he doesn’t serve well as a foil for Ryan. I suppose this sexual tension is necessary, but this is the one aspect of the show that bores me.
I respect and appreciate the equivocal nature of “Wilfred.” Like sexual tension between stars of a TV series, if you let the show sleep with reality, you’ll ruin that chemistry. Instead, we are treated to another season of silly, crude and often irreverent humor about a boy and his dog… er man.
Special features on this Blu-ray set include an exclusive short film “Stay,” which is actually a quite humorous look at dog behavior near a human’s bathroom. there’s also deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a “Wilfred/Ryan Mash-Up” and finally the full autotuned video of Jenna performing “Squishy Tits” on “News at Noon.”