REVIEW: ‘Wilfred’ Series Premiere

REVIEW: ‘Wilfred’ Series Premiere

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann and Fiona Gubelmann

The Big Idea: Ryan (Wood) is a depressed lawyer who, facing the impending first day at a job his pushy sister arranged for him (a job he desperately does not want), types a little leave-behind note (actually titled “Suicide Note – Third Revised”), whips up a frothy suicide shake and attempts to check out. The pills, happily, don’t work, and Ryan’s subsequent suicide plans are interrupted by his neighbor Jenna (Gubelmann), who asks him to babysit her pooch. That’s when we meet Wilfred (Gann).

In short, Wilfred is a dog. A talking dog. Or a man in a cheap dog suit. That’s how Ryan sees him anyway, as they begin an uneasy friendship that includes sharing a bong and discussing souring milk, humans’ bathroom hygiene and Wilfred’s love of Matt Damon movies.

In between further discussions on the joys of eating possum rectum and the obnoxious behavior of a local motorcycle-riding menace, Wilfred begins to point out how Ryan’s timidity isn’t serving him well and the two embark on the first of many gleeful adventures (most fueled by Wilfred’s bong).

Is Ryan going crazy? Can his new pal really talk? Or has he actually died and gone to an afterlife that includes a talking dog (a talking dog with an Australian accent, since Gann is the Australian star and co-creator of the series, which is adapted from an Australian series of the same name)? The answer actually doesn’t matter so much, because, in the subversive, but sweet and shrewd Wilfred, the skittish Ryan has found his new man’s best friend.

To Watch or Not to Watch: FX president John Landgraf, in a recent Wall Street Journal article on quirky cable comedies, described Wilfred as “Fight Club meets Calvin and Hobbes,” and if that isn’t enough to make you tune in, I’m not sure anything I could say will convince you the show is worth planting yourself on your couch for some summer fun. So, I’ll just say that I haven’t been this completely tickled by a comedy since I discovered the equally irreverent hilarity of Wilfred‘s network brethren It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Archer.

TV Screener Tidbit: Guest stars throughout the season will include Ethan Suplee, Ed Helms, Rashida Jones, Peter Stormare, the so underrated Nestor Carbonell and Chris Klein.

Wilfred premieres Thursday, June 23, at 10PM ET on FX

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Talkin’ With … ‘Wilfred’ Star Jason Gann About Season 2

Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand and Louis C.K. are getting most of the attention, but I’m most excited that one of the best new shows of last TV season — Wilfred — returns for its second season on FX tonight (10PM ET). Season one of the series ended with a cliffhanger — had Ryan (Elijah Wood) […]

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