Wilfred: Don't Go Around Your Obstacles, Destroy Them!

By Tim Surette

Jun 29, 2012

Wilfred S02E01: "Letting Go"

After a trippy trip into Ryan's dream-state in last week's fantastic "special preview" episode "Progress," FX's Wilfred snapped out of its daze and back into reality tonight with "Letting Go," the official start of Season 2. And apparently the episode's message was, "Let's just forget about everything you saw last week," because if you tuned in looking for more answers regarding the basement of mysteries or any of the other questions that were raised in "Progress," you didn't get them (unless one of your questions was "What does Wilfred look like in a Packers shirt?").

"Letting Go" pretty much let go of the metaphysical and existential themes of Wilfred in favor of good old situational comedy. And while that's not so horrible and no one is going to lose a finger over it, it's a bit deflating given the rapid ascension of the mind tricks and f*cks the show has been dealing out since the later episodes of Season 1. The end of Season 1 got me hooked on this story about a man that might be losing his marbles and his dog that may be a man. So "Letting Go" was a bit of a regression for the series, though that's not a big knock as the regression just means Wilfred goes back to being merely a very, very funny show. And this was inevitable, as "Identity" and "Progress"—episodes that twisted our noggins every bit as much as out-there sci-fi dramas—were probably overachieving episodes for the series because this is still a show about a man in a dog suit and not about lost souls on an island or a detective who wakes up in a different reality every time he goes to sleep.

Those themes will find their way back to Wilfred eventually, but in the meantime, Wilfred himself has some doggy obstacle courses to tackle. "Letting Go" was the real reunion of Wilfred and Ryan after Wilfred's literal run-in with a car, and oh how things have changed. Wilfred and Drew, Jenna's dense husband-to-be (how great is the Chris Klein casting choice, btw?), have become BBFs (best bros 4ever) in the aftermath of Wilfred spending several months recovering in Wisconsin with Drew... much to Ryan's chagrin. The bond between Wilfred and Drew seemed flimsy, but every time that thought crossed my mind I had to remind myself that Wilfred is a dog, and all Drew really had to do to gain his trust and companionship was feed him daily and throw a tennis ball his way every now and then.

I'm not totally sure why Wilfred pretended not to know Ryan at first, nor was I sure why Wilfred was so quick to welcome him back. Or why Wilfred was running on the beach by himself and how Ryan knew he was there. Jenna isn't exactly the best dog owner, is she? This episode probably needed to split its storylines over two episodes: one where Ryan worked his way back into Wilfred's good graces and one with the very entertaining doggy obstacle course competition Wilfred competed in to win Drew's favor as the ripped, agile pooch he thinks Drew wants. Instead, it jammed the two together and taped them up with good jokes, leaving us with the wrong kind of questions to ask. It certainly was not the tightest of Wilfred episodes.

But Wilfred running and destroying the obstacle course was so worth it, and Jason Gann continues to be one of the funniest men on television playing one of the funniest characters on television. The high quality of the jokes covers up some of the holes in the script, and good comedies do that. But great comedies layer high-quality jokes on top of a great script. Tonight, Wilfred was good, not great.

What I did like was Ryan's slow realization that interfering with Jenna and Drew's business was douche work, and that maybe he should step back a bit. It was about halfway through the episode that I said to myself, "Ryan! Dude! Chill!" And by the end, he agreed. That's good character work for a guy to have that self-awareness, and well done so that we the audience picked up on it first.

We also got a peek—just a peek!—at Ryan's new work environment and love interest Amanda (Allison Mack). I guess "slow" is an accurate way to describe how the show is introducing us to this new part of Ryan's life, but that was quite a greeting by Amanda, wasn't it? She did everything but climb under the desk in her effort to woo Ryan. But the brief office encounter felt like another patch added to the episode's quilt, and only got some meat in the end tag when Ryan said he asked her out to dinner. Good for you, Ryan. It'd be silly to pass up a sure thing like that, but beware of banging the crazy girl in the office. You'll have to see her crazy stalky eyes 9 to 5 on weekdays whether you like her or not.



Notes

I don't have much else to add, so let's just talk about some of Wilfred's best lines.

– "Hells yeah! Catch is the shit!" Bro-Wilfred is pretty damn funny.

– "Let me see your papers you filthy immigrant!"

– Plus that whole bit about the two "guys," with one being the naked furry guy.



Questions!

– Are you okay with Ryan giving up on Jenna for now and giving things a go with Amanda?

– What do you think of Chris Klein now? Do you forgive him for all his past mistakes?

– Did you say "Holy shit, Patrick Swayze isn't dead!" when his brother Don came out as the steroids dealer?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • DavidJackson8 Jul 01, 2012

    See, this is how friendships work Ryan. I scratch your back, you scratch the area directly above my penis until my leg goes ape-shit.

  • thorthorsen Jul 01, 2012

    that is why I love Wilfred ^^

  • ToddMurray Jun 30, 2012

    I'm okay with them backing off of the mind f*cks and tricks, because if you do that stuff every single week, it loses it's impact. I agree, they probably crammed too much into one episode and could have fleshed out each story a little better, but it was still a fun and enjoyable episode. And maybe they have better or more important stories to tell over the rest of the season?



    Love the nicknames Wilfred had for everyone! Ryan needed to move on so that Jenna can see him with another woman and get jealous. Plus, it's Allison Mack! Didn't know Chris Klein needed me to forgive him? Knew it was Swayze's brother, he's been in a lot of other stuff.

  • mad-pac Jun 30, 2012

    I wasn't surprised to see Don Swayze because I had seen that guy a few times before. I particularly remember the 1999 TV show "Movie Stars" in which Don Swayze, Frank Stallone, and Joey Travolta play themselves, as obscure actors living in the shadow of their more famous brothers.

  • torontogirl98 Jun 30, 2012

    I totally thought I was going crazy because the drug dealer was Patrick, I didn't know he had a brother let alone one that looked identical

  • mad-pac Jun 30, 2012

    I agree the show had to return to its comedy roots before it would tackle the heavier psychological stuff later, otherwise viewers could become tired of that. I also believe that in some critical moment of the season we'll be seeing more about the basement and Ryan's unique state of mind.

  • kanniballl Jun 29, 2012

    Poor Allison Mack (aka Amanda). She's GORGEOUS... and in her last two roles she plays the attractive girl that keeps throwing herself at a guy... who barely notices she has breasts (Smallville and now Wilfred)



    Seriously, any reason to see her on the screen is much appreciated. I'm glad to see her again.

  • markwiland Jun 29, 2012

    Wilfredisms I enjoyed this week:

    *Nicknames, such as "Drewish Community Center" & the "My Sharona" reference.

    *Brofred was pretty damn entertaining



    Now that that's out of the way, let's get into the meat of the situation. I find it a bit TOO convenient how the preview episodes title was "progress" and then no progress was made this week. It's possibly hinting at the fact that progress itself is not instantaneous and is something Ryan will have to work at, like any human being, and that he DID make some progress by the end, as Tim stated in his review, by realizing that trying to break up Jenna & Drew is a thankless thing to do. Wilfred was actually in the right though. His relationship with Ryan IS pretty one sided, when you think about it. All of last season was spent with Wilfred trying to help Ryan either win Jenna or get something else solved and Ryan has rarely-if EVER-done anything in return for Wilfred.



    One thing that really irked me is the fact that Wilfred stated in Ryan's dream last week that "without you (Ryan) I don't exist" or something to that effect, but then this week, he's telling Ryan the EXACT opposite by stating, "I don't need you". Granted, dream Wilfred was in Ryans subconscious but then again, Wilfred as a WHOLE is a part of Ryans subconscious it seems. In the end, Wilfred probably said what he said this week to make Ryan work harder. The harder Ryan works for Wilfred, the harder he works for himself, if they are in fact one and the same person. Or if Wilfred is an extension of Ryan. The physical embodiment of Wilfred anyway.



    I agree it could've definitely been split into 2 episodes, because it did feel a little cluttered, but eh, I trust the show to do right and it hasn't steered me wrong yet. I am getting the feeling that this season will be a rocky recovery, much like the kind Ryan is meant to have.



    And thus ends another Wilfred deep look from me. Be back next week.

  • hockeyrick Jun 29, 2012

    This is a good show, just goes to show that people, when given credit, do know when to laugh with out a track!!!!!

    This is a "deep" comedy, as opposed to superficial ones---ala laugh tracks and the like!

  • jiko25 Jun 29, 2012

    -I think Ryan should move on so he wouldn't be in a unhealthy unrequited love scenario. who knows maybe this will make Allison jealous.

    -considering his relationship with Allison now, I just feel bad for the guy.

    -didn't even know that is Patrick Swayze's brother.



    I would like to see if Ryan would hit it off with Amanda if the relationship persists. It would be interesting to see Ryan being ordinary romantic setting. Guy just couldn't catch a break.

    Lastly, I think that the basement door disappearing was all in his head.

  • isakura Jun 29, 2012

    This show was GREAT. Several holes, but all in all, solid. it was fun watching wilfred climb and piss and beat the sh*t out of the obstacle course, and not much else....

    alison mack! do that all day... then really have mack get into him, then have Jenna and Chris Klein break up, but Ryan is into alison, you know, typical sitcom/life stuff.

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