Fox // 2012 // 286 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // July 10th, 2013
The story of a dog and his man.
The strange journey of the man and his best friend, a guy in a dog suit, continues for a second season with thirteen more episodes of absurdity. I genuinely enjoyed the debut season of Wilfred; it was raunchy and strange and really funny much of the time. Before I watched it, I wondered whether the show was simply a one-joke affair. That was proven false; there was plenty more going on than just a man pretending to be a dog. Going into the second season, I have a new, more important question: does it have legs?
The thirteen episodes of Wilfred: The Complete Second Season are as follows:
Progress: Months after the accident that nearly killed Wilfred (Jason Gann, Rats and Cats), Ryan (Elijah Wood, Sin City) finds himself heavily medicated in a mental institution. Eventually, Wilfred and Bear, his stuffed lover, break him out when he realizes the whole incident is a daydream while sitting at his boring office job and that he has to get Wilfred back into his life.
Letting Go: When Wilfred realizes how selfish Ryan is, he refuses to continue helping him with his problems with Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann, Blades of Glory) and Drew (Chris Klein, American Pie)
Dignity: Ryan brings Wilfred into his new office, which causes delight among the dog lovers for a while, but his antics quickly wear out their welcome.
Guilt: Ryan's sister, Kristen (Dorian Brown, He's Such a Girl), returns from India with a bun in the oven and a restraining order against her. Wilfred, due to his hatred of babies, does everything in his power to force an abortion.
Now: When Ryan and Wilfred are held up at gunpoint, the terror causes Wilfred to lose his sense of smell. The ensuing depression causes him to start reading and, becoming aware of the problems in the world, becomes an activist for the preservation of a dog park.
Control: Jenna and Drew invite Ryan and his new girlfriend, Amanda (Allison Mack, Smallville), over for dinner, but the night is complicated by Amanda's complete fear of dogs.
Avoidance: Ryan's former best friend who betrayed him comes back into his life and wants to mend fences, but Ryan isn't ready for things to return to the way they were.
Truth: Wilfred has a premonition about a coming catastrophe and Ryan's relationship with Amanda goes to another level. These two things combine to force the return of Wilfred's arch-nemesis.
Service: Ryan and Wilfred go on an impromptu road trip with Ryan's crazy mother (Mary Steenburgen, Step Brothers), causing serious problems with Kristen, who is going into labor.
Honesty: After basically ruining Jenna's career as a news anchor a year ago, Ryan goes out of his way to help get her back on track by making up a news story about a cat killer.
Questions: When he starts to have panic attacks around Kristen's new baby, he looks at his past for answers. Doing so gives him additional insight into Wilfred.
Resentment: Jenna and Drew are only days from their wedding and Ryan, in spite of himself, can't help his jealousy. As a result, Wilfred goes out of his way to sabotage their plans.
Secrets: Wilfred finds a drawing that Ryan drew when he was a kid that shows Wilfred hiding behind a tree. This causes major questions about Wilfred's true nature and, compounding things, it comes to light that somebody is framing Ryan for corporate espionage and embezzlement.
While Wilfred: The Complete Second Season is a bit of a step down from the first season, it's still a well-produced, very funny program that proves that, indeed, there is plenty of life in this seemingly one joke comedy. Most certainly, the gag of a guy in a dog suit is the visual draw, but it's the performances that really make the show.
Jason Gann, who also created and starred in the original Australian version, shines as Wilfred. He goes deep into the role and nearly all the comedy runs through him. It's rarely just that he says funny lines, though; the best moments of the show are when, against his wishes and better judgment, he does something distinctly dog-like, which is surreal and often totally hilarious. As Ryan, Elijah Wood's reactions to Wilfred are pretty funny too, but it's Gann who makes the show special.
Main writer and show developer David Zuckerman tries to broaden Wilfred a little this season and the decision is a mixed bag. As a result, the show loses a little of its focus and tends toward the dramatic over the funny some of the time. There are way more emotional and uncomfortable moments this go around then laugh out loud stuff, but it still works. On the plus side, that broadening brings in some choice guest stars. Dwight Yoakam (Sling Blade) is back as the mysterious Bruce and Steenburgen's return is more than welcome, but we also get Rob Riggle (Nature Calls) and Steven Weber (Wings) in small roles. The big addition this year, though, is Allison Mack, a major player in the season long B-plot.
There's a lot of good stuff in Wilfred and the second season, even if not as great a surprise as the first, is still a very funny piece of television. Gann is brilliant and the writing is top-notch, making it one of my favorite series on television today.
Wilfred: The Complete Second Season comes to Blu-ray from Fox on two discs. The Episodes are split across both, with all the extras on the second. Overall, the image looks as good as it did upon broadcast, with good clarity and accurate colors. Flesh tones look good and black levels are solid, with no digital artifacts or problems with the transfer at any point. The sound is decent, but nothing special. The dialog is always nice and clear, while the sparse music comes through nicely. There isn't a lot of use of the surround channels, but it's a dialog-based show and there's not much need for it.
Effects are not as good as I hoped, but there's some funny stuff there. A single deleted scene comes from the final episode, but doesn't add much. A blooper reel is included that has a few good laughs, but I tire quickly of such things. The two good bits are a pair of short clips. The first is an isolated short called "Stay," that involves Ryan trying to order Wilfred to stay away from the bathroom. The second, called "News at Noon with Jenna," relays the incident that caused Jenna to become an internet meme that is one of the funniest things on either disc. Finally, a mash up of Ryan and Wilfred is totally pointless.
Wilfred: The Complete Second Season is a total success, maybe not quite as funny as the first, but still quite good. I'm thrilled that the show has as much life as it does, because it provides some of the strangest laughs on television today. And judging by the excellent start of the third season, it will continue to entertain, at least for another year.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 286 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage