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Wilfred – “Happiness” – review
The first thing you need to know if you plan on watching FX’s new comedy, Wilfred, is that it is bizarre. Not bizarre in a bad way, but in a hilarious way. You can’t help but laugh at seeing a grown man talking to an Australian man in a dog suit.
There’s this guy Ryan (Elijah Wood), and the first thing I noticed about him is he’s kind of anal. And what’s funny is I noticed this quirk while he was attempting suicide. That’s how the show opens. It’s dark, but it breezes past it by using Ryan’s need for everything to be absolutely perfect to make it seem lighter than the subject should be. You see him typing a third draft of his suicide note and then a fourth draft; he mixes the pills he plans to overdose on into a health smoothy; lies in his bed in a suit so he’ll look good when his body is found; and when the pills don’t seems to work he exercises and cleans his apartment to pass the time. It’s never explicitly said that he’s such a Type A, but throughout the episode he talks about not being happy with his life, which is obviously why he’s trying to kill himself. But it gives you this idea that he needs things to be a certain way for him to enjoy life. And that’s where Wilfred comes in.
Jason Gann, who played Wilfred in the original Australian series, plays Wilfred again. He’s the show stealer here. Once again, it’s bizarre to see a man in a dog suit doing the things he does, like smoke pot, dig holes, and hump waitresses, but he does it, and if it doesn’t alienate you then you’re probably laughing. This brand of humor is take it or leave it. It can get pretty filthy at times; specifically there’s a scene where Wilfred and Ryan take craps in their neighbors’ boots.
Wilfred’s role is like a spirit animal for Ryan. He shows Ryan how his expectations of life are wrong and how much he needs a new out look of life, but he uses metaphors like throwing a tennis ball to get his points across. You’d never know he’s trying to help Ryan, because he goes out of his way to appear to be not helping him. By the end of the episode, though, Ryan’s had more fun with Wilfred than he has in a long time.
This show will turn some people off by its abrasive sense of humor, but it can be extremely rewarding at times. It’s oddball, and I liked it. I’ve never seen the original series, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by how funny it actually was at times.