The concept of FX’s “Wilfred” is bizarre but, admittedly, pretty unique. Ryan (Elijah Wood), in his prime, has given up on life. He’s done. He’s written (well, typed and printed) four drafts of his suicide note and downed what he thinks are enough pills to kill a horse.
But, miraculously, he’s still alive. And no amount of NyQuil will put an end to his miserable existence.
Later, when his pretty neighbor drops off her dog for the day, that’s when things get really interesting. Because Wilfred isn’t just any old dog. He’s a full grown man in a dog suit who talks—but only Brian can see that. To the outside world, including Wilfred’s too-attractive-to-be-single owner, he’s just a normal seven-year old canine.
In watching “Wilfred,” I couldn’t shake the brilliant Bill Watterson comic “Calvin and Hobbes” from my head. But instead of Hobbes being the calm, sensible voice of reason, Wilfred is merely keeping up appearances.
Wilfred wants Ryan to think he’s helping to improve his unspectacular life (one dirty deed at a time), but by episode’s end, when Wilfred leaves Ryan’s wallet at the scene of the pot plant-stealing crime, it’s clear Wilfred has his own dark motives.
“Wilfred” is, to put it simply, pretty freakin’ weird, but that’s no doubt its charm. I think the premiere was at its best when the Wilfred character (played by Jason Gann) rode the balance between chain-smoking “humanimal” and a genuine dog who circles before he sits and misses his owner’s absence.
“Wilfred” is just strange enough to be fascinating. The premiere wasn’t a homerun, but it’s enough to bring me back for a second viewing.
SCORE: *** out of *****
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In Boston, “Wilfred” aired on FX at 10 pm eastern.
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