S01E02: If this episode is any indication of what we can expect from Wilfred, then this may just become one of the best shows on television. This was a phenomenal episode -- not too heavy, but still dealing with some serious stuff like trust. It's funny without trying too hard; it never pushes the jokes. And most of all it includes CHRIS KLEIN!!!
The episode starts off innocently enough with Ryan bummed about his ex getting hitched. A lesser sitcom would’ve focused way more on that aspect of the story, but Wilfred uses it as a jumping off point to explore Ryan's trust issues and trouble opening up to people. Also, he doesn’t like a finger up the bum without a bit of warning beforehand (which a lesser sitcom would also overlook). Wilfred questions Ryan’s loyalty and puts it to the test when they go to a non-dog-friendly beach. We get the usual montage reminder that Wilfred is actually a dog so we should watch him do dog things like lay a dead pelican in front of a kid. But we also get the amazing joke that the last time Wilfred was in the ocean was when he was a pup being thrown into it in a burlap sack. First a finger-in-the-butt joke and now a dead puppies joke (all within the first half of the show) -- who said this show wasn’t dark?
"Everything has to do with everything." - Wilfred
Eventually Ryan returns Wilfred to Jenna who comments on how disgusting Wilfred’s breath is. Jenna eventually formulates the bright idea that Ryan should trick Wilfred into going to the vet -- and thus the trust issue comes up again. Ryan begrudgingly accepts the challenge, since the potential to get in his hot neighbor's pants outweighs betraying said neighbor’s dog. It was fairly funny to hear Wilfred voice all pets' objections to the vet, claiming it's a conspiracy and calling on the rest of his brothers to join the revolution. The vet calms him down (thanks tranquilizers!) and before he’s put under Wilfred starts his plan to get back at Ryan by saying Jenna has a dick. Pretty clever for a dog. This immediately sets Ryan off, because he’s so awkward and when Jenna comes by his house later to hang out, Wilfred’s words start to take hold. Jenna has cheesesteaks, beer, and wants to watch the baseball game. It doesn’t exactly ease Ryan’s mind. Eventually Jenna is creeped out and leaves.
But we get the big sentimental moment when Wilfred says that all Ryan needs to do is just open his own door to let other people in and he’ll get Jenna back. Or at least get back on the right track with her. It was a really well done moment between the two of them, it was definitely the moment in the sitcom when the music slows down and the theme of the episode is spoken out loud, but Gann and Wood make it seem real. Well, as real as it can be when one person is in a dog costume. Ryan runs back over to Jenna’s and confesses that he’s super awkward and he didn’t know what exactly he was doing. Jenna thanks him and then introduces him to her boyfriend: CHRIS KLEIN!!!! Wilfred then remembers that he was trying to say Jenna has a dick for a boyfriend. He also forgot to mention that her boyfriend is CHRIS KLEIN!!! Sorry, I’m legally obligated to type his name like that. Anyway, Wilfred then tells Ryan that while the door to dating Jenna might still be shut, the door between their friendship just opened up. Then Wilfred shut the door in his face.
"I’ve only been in the ocean once, just after I was born. There were seven of us, stuffed into a sack and tossed into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay. I panicked, hell we all did. Clawing and biting, desperately trying to get out of that burlap death trap. I finally broke through but by the time I got to the surface I realized I was the only survivor. It was AWESOME!" - Wilfred
So what worked in this episode? Just about everything. I like the random pot usage in the series; it's like Wilfred doesn’t need treats, he needs a joint. Nothing else happening in the scene? Give ‘em some weed to smoke. The opening title sequence also is another little thing that just works. Start off with a quote then have everything else fade but the title of the episode. Sweet, short, brilliant. That’s all I ask. And I like the way they add a bit a “dude-ness” to everything Wilfred does as a dog. Like when he shook and got the topless sunbathing girls to jolt up, he also took a picture of them. Great stuff. The running jokes in this episode were also spot on; the bit at the end about having the door open between them and then having Wilfred shut the door in Ryan’s face? It’s simple, but so, so, so, so effective.
My only small complaint about the episode was Wilfred’s fascination with Matt Damon. I feel like Matt Damon as the butt of a joke has run its course in the collective comedy community. I mean, he’s poked on Kimmel nightly, Team America practically made him into a meme, and hell, even Kevin Smith takes shots at the guy. I just feel like we should move on to a new actor everyone can love to make fun of. I would suggest Elijah Woods but... yeah. That’s the tiniest of complaints though and it’s easily overlooked by CHRIS KLEIN!!! If he’s not in upcoming episodes then I’m going to be PISSED. It’s like the comedy gods are just smiling down on Wilfred after they landed CHRIS KLEIN!!!
And apparently the Neilson gods are smiling down too since Wilfred managed to put up some incredible numbers last week. The show is off to one hell of a creative and rating start, deservedly so too. It was a fun episode this week, I think the show is going to turn out great.