“Make no judgments where you have no compassion.” – Anne McCaffrey
This week we got a double dose of Wilfred. The first episode was called “Compassion” and featured the delightful Mary Steenburgen as Ryan’s questionably sane mother, Katherine. Ryan gets a call from the mental institution his mother has spent the last 20 years in and is informed she’s ready to be released in to his custody. Naturally Ryan is hesitant. He barely knows this woman, and her time in the institute has done nothing to tone down her craziness, only ensuring she’s not a danger to herself or others.
This is one of those stories where the main character is heavily embarrassed by his/her eccentric parent and has to learn to accept them, but with that classic Wilfred twist. Jenna is out of town for the weekend, something she has to do much too often for Wilfred’s liking. Filled with hurt and neglect, Wilfred latches on to Katherine as his new mother. A lot of the laughs come from watching Wilfred be completely enamored with Ryan’s mother, from squeezing himself between her and Ryan to French kissing her.
This was an incredibly entertaining episode. I laughed a lot, but then the end left me feeling a little let down. “Compassion” finally has someone accuse Ryan of being crazy, and he is committed to the mental institute for 72 hours. When that scene played out, it was amazing. Ryan of course defends himself, but trying to tell a doctor (played by John Michael Higgins) that a dog is trying to steal his mother doesn’t make you seem sane. But the moment is wasted as the show skips over the 72 hours, and Ryan is almost immediately released. We don’t get to see any of his time in the institute, which seems like such a wasted opportunity to me. They could have spent a whole episode documenting Ryan coming to grips with his insanity (which the episode heavily implies he gets from his mother). A real shame; it almost ruins the whole episode. Almost.
“Isolation is a self-defeating dream.” – Carlos Salinas de Gortari
The second episode, “Isolation,” picks up with Ryan having locked himself in his house for three days to get some personal time away from Wilfred. Ryan’s loner attitude has the rest of the neighborhood wary of him. It’s an understandable concern. Ryan really does come off as a skinny, creepy, white guy.
“Isolation” was more hit and miss than “Compassion,” while still managing to be quite funny thanks to Jason Gann’s amazing comedic ability. Wilfred’s plan to teach Ryan to be more social was a tad convoluted. The idea, that Ryan blacked out and broke into everyone’s cars, was a good one and is something the show should revisit. The more unhinged Ryan becomes, the better the comedy gets. It was beautifully dark that Wilfred framed a kid just because he didn’t like Jim (Wilfred thought he was a warlock), but then it seemed needless when the crime was further blamed on a homeless person. Having that kid take the full blame for something Ryan and Wilfred did would have been funnier.
“You know how creepy I find menopausal women.”
“Indian Chief, woo woo woo woo woo! That was a little racist, but it was fun.” “How is that racist? Indians do that all the time.”
“Mrs. Newman is my slave name. You can call me Katherine.”
“You son of a bitch!” “How is that an insult? I’ve never understood that.”
“What’s so wrong with a little beer and some talk with the assholes down the street?”
“So long Andy. Let’s see your black magic stop you from getting gang-stomped in Juvy.”