Channel Guide: Trying Hard to Understand ‘Wilfred’

Wilfred is…

Wilfred is….

I honestly have no idea what Wilfred is.

Recently, FX afforded me the opportunity to watch the latest edition to their comedy line-up, an adaptation of an Australian show called Wilfred starring Elijah Wood and Jason Gaan (who is the creator of both versions of the show and stars as the title character in both). The plot of the show follows Wood’s character Ryan as he’s going through a massive case of depression, to the point where he attempts suicide at the start of the series. After the failed attempt, he meets his new neighbor Jenna and her dog Wilfred. The only problem is that while everyone else sees a dog, Ryan sees a man in a dog costume that speaks to him and smokes a crap load of pot.

“Strange” is the only word that can be used to describe this show.

It’s the kind of show where it’s almost impossible to say if it’s good or bad because it’s not comparable to anything currently on the market. But that isn’t to say it’s worthy. Just because something is different, doesn’t automatically make it watchable.

What I can say about Wilfred is that it seems to fit perfectly in with shows like Always Sunny and The League. Almost too well. While FX is one of the standards for original dramatic programming, their comedies just always seem to be more and more of the same. More of the same wacky, “edgy,” sarcastic humor. There’s no diversity at all. The only program that shows any sign of difference is Louie and that’s only because C.K. is given zero oversight during production of the show.

But as it stands, Wilfred looks like a decent program. It’s just hard to put into words what “decent” means in this case. And while the show is “decent,” that isn’t without its negatives.

The character of Wilfred partakes in a few activities that make absolutely no sense to the logic of the show. Things like smoking pot. If I’m to believe that everyone else sees a dog, then Wilfred should be limited to activities a dog can do. Often times the show will make reference to the fact that Wilfred has four legs and not two arms, but then he will have no problem wielding an axe. The logic is gone.

I get that the writers want to leave the truth ambiguous as to whether what Ryan is seeing is nothing but a manifestation in his head, or for real. But they can’t seem to figure out exactly how to do that yet.

All in all, Wilfred is a… Well, it’s a show. It’s too early to tell if it has what it takes to succeed, but it will be an interesting thing to see when it enters the public eye this Thursday.

Want to read more Channel Guide? Of course you do.

To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.

From a young age, TV guru Merrill Barr has been obsessed with the small screen. And one day he decided to put that obsession to good use.

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