Episode Title: "Trust"
Writer: David Zuckerman
Director: Randall Einhorn
If there's one thing we've learned in "Wilfred" it's that we should never, ever trust anything that Wilfred (Jason Gann) says to Ryan (Elijah Wood).
It's not that Wilfred isn't likable or charismatic. However, he is maddeningly manipulative of his new friend. To convince Ryan to let him roam free on a beach where dogs are banned, Wilfred spins a tail about being the only pup of a litter to survive being dumped into the ocean while tied up in a bag. It's a moving story, but since nearly everything that Wilfred says is a lie, it's hardly a reliable account.
So Ryan relents and he lets Wilfred wreck havoc on the poor beach goers. Gann's best moments come in the scenes where he convincingly behaves like a dog. Without anyone to control him on the beach, Wilfred kills an errant seagull and swims in the waves until the Beach Police cites Ryan $300 for bringing Wilfred and another $100 for not having his ID on him. The continuity nod is nice and this is apparently the day after the pilot episode.
After allowing Wilfred to have his fun, Ryan has earned his trust and proven his loyalty. Unfortunately, when Wilfred's beautiful owner Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) asks Ryan to use his newfound relationship with the dog to trick him into going to the Vet; he's all too willing to betray Wilfred and bring him there through trickery. All in the hopes of impressing Jenna.
Wilfred's inevitable freak out in the veterinary office was really amusing, as he first tells Ryan not to let the doctor take his balls… and then he convinces Ryan that Jenna is perfect except for perhaps "her dick."
Yes, that's right. With a few choice words, Wilfred convinces Ryan that Jenna might be woman who used to be a man… or rather, she is in the process of becoming a woman and just hasn't taken that last step. Later, Wilfred actually furthers the deception by pretending that he never said that and by attempting to stop Ryan from bringing it up to Jenna. Now, that's a true sign of a master of manipulation.
And yet there does seem to be a higher purpose behind Wilfred's Machiavellian machinations: he gets Ryan to admit that "I want to be happy." This came after Wilfred goaded Ryan periodically about letting his former dream girl go after she got too experimental with him in bed. An early theory about this show is that Wilfred is Ryan's suppressed self personified. If that's the case, the opening sequence in which Wilfred literally takes an ax to Ryan's walls (or fence) is symbolic of what he's trying to do for Ryan's life.
Some of Wilfred's advice for Ryan is actually pretty good. Of course, Gann balances his moments of human insight with Wilfred's blind devotion to Jenna. While sharing a bong with Wilfred, Ryan lightly suggests that Jenna is neglecting Wilfred… which only angers the dog into a spirited defense of his owner.
As for Jenna, of course she isn't really a man. And just when Ryan is apologizing to her for saying weird things to her, Jenna's obnoxious boyfriend appears and Wilfred gleefully admits that "Jenna has a dick of a boyfriend." His parting shot to Ryan for the perceived betrayal earlier. Yet Wilfred tells Ryan that the door to his heart is open even as he shuts a real door in his face; which was a great ending to the episode.
"Wilfred" still defies rational explanation within the world that it inhabits, but I'm really curious to see an extended scene from someone outside of Ryan's POV. We see the man in the dog suit with Ryan, but what does it look like when people see Ryan and this dog making trouble?
Stoner comedies were never favorites of mine and yet it's still hilarious to see Wilfred and Ryan take bong hits together. Apparently a talking dog was the only thing keeping movies like "The Pineapple Express" from being more enjoyable.
"Wilfred" is also surprisingly low key in parts, as it doesn't seem to feel the need to be funny in every single scene. It's almost understated in that way and that's part of why I'm still enjoying it. Oddly enough, the continuity touches lead me to believe that this might be a lightly serialized comedy series. Which is just the way I like it.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.