WILFRED Turns the Tables Around in “Dignity” – Review
The first season of Wilfred stuck pretty closely to the idea of Wilfred being the manipulator in Ryan’s life, taking advantage of his good nature, using guilt and blackmail in order to convince Ryan to do things he would not normally do. Now, in Season 2, Wilfred has stepped down from his manipulating role and allowed Ryan to – mostly – live out his life as he sees fit. He will still gladly and without hesitation point to where he should make improvements, but for the most part Wilfred has been too wrapped up in his own insecurities to be thoroughly involved in Ryan’s personal life. Last week Wilfred just wanted Drew – the alpha dog – to respect him, and this week he seeks the love and adoration of Ryan’s co-workers.
As I mentioned last week, Wilfred isn’t going for subtlety when it sets up the parallels between what’s going on with Wilfred compared to Ryan – both stand to lose their dignity, though for completely different reasons – but because the show is increasing its scope and introducing more recurring characters rather than one-off guest stars, I am of the mind to forgive it. World building is important, and focusing on Ryan’s office life is necessary. We need to get away from the house, from Jenna and Drew, and just allow Ryan to construct something normal, and you don’t get more normal than a day job. And while it’s an easy to say Ryan’s boss demanding more from him than he can hope to produce is a played-out idea, it’s equally easy to imagine Ryan so quickly giving in to his boss’s demands.
While the road traveled may have been familiar, the eventual destination ended being not quite what I expected. When your themes are so blatantly spoon-fed to you, you tend to be able to predict the outcomes. So the second Ryan is asked to work toward an impossible deadline by Jeremy, you know he’s going to stand up to his boss by the end of the episode, which he does. Wilfred manages to talk him into setting boundaries with Jeremy, only for Jeremy to immediately agree to it without fully hearing Ryan out. It’s soon revealed Ryan had walked in on Jeremy receiving a blowjob from the simple-minded janitor, making it quite clear it wasn’t Ryan’s confidence that won over Jeremy, but the awkwardness of being caught in such a situation. It wasn’t so much Ryan reclaiming his own dignity, but taking Jeremy’s away from him. Now he’s in the position to do the walking-all-over, and he does by taking the week off, with no complaints from Jeremy.
Allison Mack returns as biochemist Amanda and continues to outshine Jenna in every possible way. She has what Steve Carell would call the “perfect combination of sexy and cute” while delivering her lines with a sharp tongue and charming smile. Guys, I think I’m falling in love. Mack effortlessly works with Elijah Wood, creating a surprising chemistry between the two, though I would say Mack is carrying much of the weight. I would like to actually see the two of them on a date together, outside of the office, to give them a real test. Curiously, Amanda was the only person in the office who seemed rather indifferent to Wilfred. Maybe she’s not a dog person? My wishlist for this season now includes some type of interaction between Amanda and Wilfred, which is essentially inevitable. I know this is probably a long shot, but if there’s any way Jenna could be permanently replaced by Amanda, I would be thrilled.