Thursday, September 15, 2011

TV’s gone to the dogs,
or to Wilfred, at least

One of my favorite brand new TV shows this year is Wilfred, a sweet little show about a boy and his dog. They play ball, snuggle, and spend nearly every waking moment together…


But don’t let this blah description fool you. Wilfred is no ordinary dog. While he looks ordinary to everyone else, to Ryan, an unemployed 30-year old lawyer played by Frodo (Elijah Wood), he looks exactly like a man – a man dressed in an odd curly gray dog suit.

Other than a penchant for smoking pot and cigarettes, Wilfred is amazingly dog-like. He digs holes; romps in his food; pees on trees and fire hydrants; sniffs butts; humps stuffed animals; stares; chases balls, Frisbees, and even the dot generated by a laser pointer. He can talk to other dogs, but is somewhat distrustful, manipulative, and even conniving. He loves any human who dotes on him, no matter how terribly the human functions in “human” society. And he feels anyone who treats him poorly or doesn’t love him to death is somehow sub par, despite how wonderful they may appear to other humans.

Oh yes, and he talks – in perfect English with a distinctive Australian accent, as brilliantly portrayed by "human" actor Jason Gann.

Wilfred is full of advice. Although Ryan, is actually not the “owner” of Wilfred, due to having lost his job, he has a remarkable amount of free time on his hands and has offered to watch Wilfred while his beautiful single neighbor, Jenna (played by Fiona Gubelmann) is at work. Not only does Ryan hang out with Wilfred all day getting high and watching TV, he takes Wilfred on errands with him, including to family functions, parties, the beach, a yard sale, and to visit his mother in the “institution,” where we discover that the apple does not fall far from the tree. In one episode, Ryan even tricks Wilfred into going to the vet.

The show is raw and raucous. It is not even slightly child appropriate and I must admit, I’m shocked it even made it to basic cable TV. Preceding each show is a red seal with the warning: MA (for mature audiences) and additional letters for L (language), V (violence), or S (sexual situations). It’s so adult in nature, you have to enter your birth date in order to view the episodes online.

However, it's also quite intelligent. Each episode begins with a literary quote. And not to promote smoking, a special website has been implemented to assist fellow dog owners with dogs who cannot kick the habit:

Originally airing in Australia in 2007, the show was remade here in the United States and premiered on June 23 this summer, but after completing it’s season last week, only reruns are now being shown.

This is the perfect time to catch up on “Wilfred” since the first episodes will be shown in order beginning on Saturday night (actually Sunday morning) on FX channel 70 on Brighthouse Cable networks:

  • 12:30 am Saturday night -- Episode 1, “Happiness”
  • 1:00 am Saturday night -- Episode 2, “Trust”
  • 3:30 am Sunday morning -- Episode 1, "Happiness"
  • 4:00 am Saturday night -- Episode 2, “Trust”
The following weekend continues with episodes 3 and 4.

Due to my busy work schedule, I have been watching re-airings on my on-demand Brighthouse cable channel 304. Fortunately, this is one show where the viewer does not necessarily need to follow a soap-opera-like, “miss one episode and you’re screwed” story line. With the exception of the season ender, episode 13, “Identity,” If you pick it up in the middle of the season, you’ll enjoy almost as much as if you’ve seen every single episode.

A complete episode guide and character rundown is found online on the official Wilfred website here at the Episode Guide. Videos of the last three episodes are found online here: Videos.

Wilfred is so nutty and full of surprises, there's never a dull moment. Be prepared to be shocked. I was and it takes a lot to shock tvgrrrrl.

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