Wilfred Series Two Episode 1 Review

Man’s best friend is turning out to be one man’s worst nightmare!

Ryan is trying to come to terms with reality, whatever that may be, as Wilfred is recovering from the car accident that has left him in a wheelchair. Who is Wilfred and will Ryan ever learn the truth?

Well, the last episode of the first series ended on something of a confusing note, with Ryan (the fantastic Elijah Wood) discovering that the basement where he and Wilfred (Jason Gann) hung out was nothing more than a coat closet and that perhaps he was having some kind of mental collapse. If you’re looking for the mystery to be cleared up in this episode I’m afraid that you’ll be very disappointed as answers to some of the questions just led to more questions. For anyone who didn’t see the first series…it’s probably best to actually watch it but here is a quick rundown on what happened – Ryan, a successful but disillusioned lawyer, decided to commit suicide but despite taking a large amount of pills he remained very much alive (we think, it really is difficult to tell in this show). His new neighbour Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) asked if Ryan would look after her dog Wilfred while she worked but seemed blissfully unaware that her beloved hound not only had a serious drug habit and smoked excessively but that he was, as far as Ryan (and the viewers) could see, essentially a man in a dog costume. The deliciously wicked Wilfred led Ryan astray in ways he would never have previously dreamed and got him into a large amount of trouble, generally intentionally leading to Ryan attempting to walk away from his furry friend but finding that things may not have been all they seemed. Really, it is a lot better if you watch it rather than taking my word for it.

In this new episode, Ryan seems to flit between what appears to be a dream world where he is in an office with a report to complete on a deadline and what seems to be reality, a stint in a mental health hospital. Confused as to what his dreams mean, he consults with his psychiatrist Dr Eddy (Robin Williams) who urges him to take medication and see Wilfred again so that he can see the dog for what he really is – just a dog. However, when Wilfred arrives at the facility, he is still as much of a man in a dog costume as he ever was and he is appalled at Ryan’s lack of strength in submitting to therapy rather than steadfastly attempting to discover the real truth. Ryan tries to reason with Wilfred and even throws a Frisbee for the wheelchair bound Wilfred ,convinced he isn’t telling the truth but this just leads to Dr Eddy administering more medication, guessing that Ryan is still suffering from delusions. Only after Dr Eddy decides to give ECT does Ryan start to fight back, seeing his doctor for who he is – Robin Williams – and he is assisted in his escape by an orderly who reveals himself to be Wilfred after bundling Ryan into a Bear driven van (seriously, watch the first series). Ryan’s discovery of his office job, basement and the contents of Wilfred’s will seem to leave him pondering a return to his old life, but is he making the right decision…

This psychological/philosophical comedy is just as surreal and dark as it always was and that is the beauty of the show – it always keeps you guessing. Jason Gann plays the plotting pooch with an underlying menace and Ryan frequently wrestles with the worrying possibility that Wilfred is just a figment of his feverish imagination. While you see Wilfred as a man in a dog costume, there are always little reminders that he is still a dog such as in the first series when he tried to poison Ryan with chocolate believing that as it was toxic to dogs that it would also be so for humans. The show can sometimes be puerile but it makes up for that with some real intellectual questions being asked about the nature of reality and the mind. With scenes of drug use and other activities it may not be for everyone but if you have a wry sense of humour and like your comedy with a dollop of existentialism thrown in with some puzzle solving – this could be the comedy show for you. Marvellous.