“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” – Mother Teresa
It was only a couple weeks ago Wilfred aired “Truth,” which I’ve come to view as the show’s crowning achievement. This week we have “Honesty.” It doesn’t take a literary genius to recognize truth and honesty to be quite similar – some might even argue they are different words used to describe the same thing. I, however, believe them to be different enough to warrant separate focus in Wilfred’s world. Truth is what we associate with reality. If something is true then it is real and has to be dealt with. Ryan had difficulty recognizing the reality of his situation with Amanda – he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship. That was a truth he really had to struggle to come to. The facts of his life – that he spent the majority of his time getting high in his basement with his neighbor’s dog – were a tough pill to swallow and left him in a state of misery. His relationship with Amanda was shattered, leaving him quite alone again.
Honesty, on the other hand, is a tool that can be used to help someone realize the truth. When you are deceitful, as Ryan was when he lied to Jenna about the pot candy last season, you lead people astray and they are often hurt. They miss out on reality because they’re too busy living the lie you’ve created with your dishonesty. Jenna was greatly affected by Ryan’s lies to the point that she has lost all faith in her career and seriously considering giving up on her dreams. When you look at it in this way, you see that honesty and truth is not the same thing, but it is honesty that leads to truth. You cannot have one without the other
“Honesty” continued the trend we’ve been seeing of Ryan becoming Wise to Wilfred’s usual tricks, repeatedly showing his understanding of the steps involved in Wilfred’s “lesson plans.” When it becomes clear to Ryan he has to help set Jenna’s career right, he heavily asks, “We’re making a cat-killer video, aren’t we?” And they do just that, to hilarious effect. Possibly the best bit of the episode is Wilfred’s angry blow up at Ryan as they film said video and Ryan doesn’t respond well to Wilfred’s direction. Jason Gann stomping around shouting is always comedic gold, especially when he’s in that dog suit.
The sincerity Wilfred has shown over the last few weeks has been a welcome addition, and it continues when Ryan finally confesses to Jenna about everything he’s ever lied to her about, including the pot candy and blackmailing her boss so she could keep job. At first she’s furious and wants nothing to do with Ryan, but when she is able to turn the pot candy into a big news story about properly labeling such candies, she sees resurgence in her career. Jenna recognizes this wouldn’t have happened without Ryan’s honesty, so she decides to share her own tale of deceit, explaining she has known of Ryan’s crush on her since the beginning and has used it to her advantage. She understandably feels terrible for having treated Ryan this way when he has done nothing but care about her and done everything he could to make her life easier. Their embrace was a great moment for them both, each having come clean about how terribly they’ve behaved. And they remain friends.
We still haven’t seen anything as great as “Truth,” but Wilfred has started showing a tight consistency these last few weeks that is much more appreciated than a single great episode. Wilfred has certainly matured in its second season, showing Ryan is capable of real, long-lasting change. However, if Ryan learns too quickly, we could wind up running out of road for this series to run on. Before this season is over, something is going to have to happen to Ryan in order to knock him back down to the bottom of the well so he can try to climb back out again.