Friday, June 21, 2013

Wilfred "Uncertainty" & "Comfort" Review

David Zuckerman's no longer the show runner of Wilfred, but Wilfred looks the same, sounds the same, and is the same. Tonight's one hour premiere was made up of two different episodes. Wilfred's premiere and finale digs into the major question of the show of whether or not Wilfred is imagined, a sign of Ryan's mental illness. The premiere's titled "Uncertainty" which guarantees Ryan and the viewer will feel uncertain by episode's end. There aren't any answers by the end. Ryan accepts that the answers he seeks will be revealed in time.

Wilfred's become a show that is able to make the serious elements and the comic elements work without either feeling forced. Season 2's most gripping storyline wasn't Ryan's longing for Jenna or his relationship with Allison Mack's character or whatever nonsense he had going on with his sister. The exploration of the character's sadness was the most gripping storyline. One of the stand-out episodes was the one in which Ryan spent 12 hours in his house playing games with another crazy man who knew Wilfred, and Ryan's hit by the truth of what he's been doing. He chose to sit inside his house playing an insane game with an insane man and a talking dog because he was sad. I like that Ryan's a tragic character and that the humor of the show comes from his tragedy, his sadness, and that broken part inside of him--it's very Kierkegaardan.

"Uncertainty" isn't as trippy and surreal as last season's 'sneak preview' premiere. Agnew and Lorge's script and Randall Einhorn's direction sort of displaces the viewer in certain scenes which creates a somewhat trippy and surreal feel. Angela Kinsey plays the role of Wilfred's clone's caretaker. We see her close a door, delay Ryan from Wilfred's puppy days, but she's not an imposing character in the narrative. The whole set-up's insanity eludes Ryan. Ryan's obsessed with figuring out what's real and what's not. He even theorizes about his brain trying to make other parts of his brain believe the whole brain isn't ill. Wilfred drinks anti-freeze to prove a point to Ryan that he's real and can die. Ryan takes him to the vet and Wilfred is saved. Ryan learns about Wilfred's original address and heads there hoping for proof of Wilfred's birth.
Ryan learns that he knows nothing concrete. Wilfred's memories of his original home are unreliable, and Ryan can't trust the only proof of Wilfred's, which is a stuffed green hippo. At home, Ryan burns the drawings he did of Wilfred as a boy. "Uncertainty" ends with Wilfred burying another drawing of him. The mystery of Wilfred and of Ryan is an integral part to the series, but it's okay to bury it for a stretch of episodes.

"Comfort" doesn't present an okay Ryan, though. Ryan's instability and sadness carries over from "Uncertainty." Jenna's back from her honeymoon and feels concern for Ryan because he hasn't talked about what happened with him and his ex-girlfriend, and he's become friends with the mailman. The mailman storyline allows Jason Gann to play another extreme of Wilfred's--that of a zealous born again preacher. A combination of a misunderstanding of death and a hatred for the mailman spirals out of control. The mailman stuff isn't the greatest. It builds to a reveal about a co-worker named Barry. The real substance is in Ryan accepting the friendship Jenna wants to give him. Last season explored Ryan's connection to other people. We saw him at the office, with his sister, with Jenna, but he was most at ease in the company of a talking dog. Perhaps this season will bring Ryan out more into the world and in with people.

Most of the laughs come from Jason Gann. Gann's terrific in "Uncertainty" playing the two Wilfred's. The proper Australian accent slayed me. Chris Klein's ridiculous performance is also humorous. Anyway, I'm fond of the balance Wilfred found. The show just works now. That's vague and lazy writing, but it's all I got--Wilfred just works.


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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.