TV Review: ‘Wilfred’ with Elijah Wood Returns for More Quirky Humor

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CHICAGO – I really wish I liked FX’s “Wilfred” more. It’s a decent show with elements of greatness (especially in Elijah Wood’s charismatic lead performance) that never quite clicks into something that finds its own potential. It’s like that stoner who tells you a joke that starts strong and eventually only becomes funny to him as he loses track of the punchline. A few solid guest stars in the first two episodes of the sophomore season, starting tonight, June 28, 2012, on FX, elevate the program overall but I can’t help but get frustrated by a show that never rises above merely quirky. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

The fact is that once one sets up the concept of “Wilfred” — a guy who is the only one who sees his hot neighbor’s dog as a man in a dog suit (Jason Gann) — the writers of the show don’t seem to do too much with it. Honestly, the man-dog jokes of “Wilfred” are the weakest part. When Wilfred talks about showing his balls to one of Wilfred’s co-workers who then thinks he’s being cute by wanting his tummy rubbed — these jokes were tired by episode two of the first season (recently released on Blu-ray and DVD), much less the second.

Photo credit: FX

Luckily, the writers do seem to be finding some creativity outside of the concept, typically in the form of interesting guest stars, including the still-funny Chris Klein in episode one and the always-solid Steven Weber in episode two. And some of the plot points are pretty creative, such as when Wilfred wants to impress Jenna’s (Fiona Gubelmann) boyfriend (Klein) and tries to get Ryan (Wood) to buy illegal steroids to help him out. And Wilfred trying to impress Ryan’s co-workers in episode two has some pretty surreal moments of creativity.

Wilfred: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 19, 2012
Wilfred: The Complete First Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 19, 2012
Photo credit: Fox

It’s just that the show is, ultimately, so hit and miss creatively. There’s enough inspired weirdness to cautiously recommend the show (especially when compared to the cookie cutter crap that is “Anger Management,” airing on the same night) but the first two episodes of “Wilfred” ended and I kind of shrugged my shoulders. Well, that was OK. Moving on. It’s just not as memorable as it should be although I still hold out hope that this dog will eventually have its day.

The Blu-ray and DVD for the inconsistent first season of “Wilfred” was recently released by Fox and it’s a pretty standard issue affair with strong-but-not-great transfers and a handful of features. Like the show, it’s OK.

You’ll sit up and beg for more of Wilfred, the most hilarious and daringly original new comedy on TV. Elijah Wood stars as Ryan, a down-on-his-luck lawyer who forms a unique friendship with his sexy neighbor’s pet pooch “Wilfred.” Everyone else sees a dog, but Ryan sees a bong-ripping, beer-chugging, foul-mouthed Australian bloke in a furry suit (played by the outrageously funny Jason Gann). By unleashing the surly, sweet and always adventurous Wilfred, Ryan may just learn to stand on his own hind legs and embrace the insanity of real life.

Special Features:
o Mary Jane Mash-Up
o Deleted Scenes
o Wilfred & Bear: A Love Affair
o Fox Movie Channel Presents Life After Film School With Jason Gann
o Wilfred At Comic-Con 2011

“Wilfred” stars Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, and Fiona Gubelmann. It returns on FX with its second-season premiere on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 9pm CST. The first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 19, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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