Wilfred: The Truth About Guys and Dogs

By Tim Surette

Aug 10, 2012

Wilfred S02E07: "Truth"

Little bit of name-dropping here: When I talked to the cast and crew of Wilfred at this year's Comic-Con, show creator David Zuckerman hinted that Ryan would undergo some pretty drastic change right around the middle of the season. I'm not sure if what he was talking about happened in tonight's "Truth," the seventh (eighth, if you count the "special preview") episode of the season, but it was damn close. "Truth" was a big moment for Season 2, especially for Ryan as he came to terms with the fact that his BFF is a cranky man in a dog suit and that just isn't how a healthy man spends his time.

"Truth" was all about the T-word, taking a double-pronged approach comprised of Ryan's relationship with Amanda and his relationship with himself. The two budding lovebirds next-leveled it with a hasty agreement to move in together (too soon, Ryan, too soon!), and Wilfred staunchly opposed their cohabitation with a nasty cocktail of jealousy, territorialism, and knowing Ryan better than he knew himself.

Though Ryan protested, an earthquake pinned him under a bookcase in the basement, where he was a captive audience to Wilfred's warnings. Wilfred taught Ryan a hard lesson with the help of his pal Bruce (Dwight Yoakam) and a series of nonsensical games involving spaghetti, leech lunches, and little-known presidential trivia, the goal being to show Ryan just how lost he is in this world he's created for himself. Bruce arrived with a suitcase that he said contained proof that Ryan and Amanda shouldn't live together, and the winner of the aforementioned games got the suitcase.

It all came down to a game of Truth or Dare, and after Ryan initially chose Dare and had a close call with his father on the phone, he switched over to Truth. And in this twisted game of showing Ryan the truth, that turned out to be the winning answer. Ryan had to choose truth. Ryan had to know the truth. And the truth was this: He's mental. The suitcase didn't contain proof that Amanda is a two-timing ho-bag or that she makes a bad roommate because she doesn't do the dishes; instead it held a timer that had counted up the hours that Ryan had spent playing this silly game with a talking dog and his goofy friend in a basement that may or may not exist. This is who Ryan is. The truth wasn't that Amanda isn't good for Ryan, it was that Ryan isn't good for Amanda.

Still not convinced, Ryan left the basement to find his house and the neighborhood surprisingly unshaken, because there was no earthquake. And it hit Ryan like a ton of stale Milk Bones just as Amanda pulled up with her boxes of girlie goods. He had to break up with Amanda to spare her from himself, and it was brutal thanks to a sincere and moving reaction from Allison Mack and a completely defeated and blunt deathblow from Elijah Wood. Amanda collapsed outside in tears and Wilfred comforted her while Ryan looked on. This was not a happy ending.

But there was a bizarre sense of progress for Ryan; he's accepted who he is—a weird guy who might not be all right in the head—and who's done dragging people down with him. It's unfortunate that he doesn't appear to want help himself get better, but acceptance of the truth is a solemn first step toward that goal.

His tests aren't done, though. Wilfred had been predicting doomsday all episode, and two earthquakes and a messy breakup weren't what the dog-man had in mind. "Sorry mate, that still wasn't it," Wilfred said, referring to a shaking weeping Amanda outside Ryan's house.

Wilfred is no stranger to sniffing the butts of weird and dark, but "Truth" was a bit different in that it was a painful stamp on Ryan's reality. Here was a man confronting his possible psychosis or unusual lifestyle or whatever we're calling it and seeing how it affects those around him. It was sad. It was spooky. It was excellent television.



NOTES

– Which "game" was your favorite? I'm partial to the Spaghetti Dump. But "Why the Hell Is He Wearing That Mask?" is a close second.

– Wilfred on his ESP: "Why do you think no dogs died in the Holocaust? Because we knew it was coming."

– Looks like I may have been wrong about Amanda. I didn't trust her after she threw herself at Ryan, but she appears to be pretty normal! Sorry, Amanda!


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

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  • baca Aug 16, 2012

    I am always at Starbucks on Thursday nights to watch Wilfred with my Dish Remote Access app and last week's episode was outstanding! Ryan and Allison's performances were beautiful. We haven't seen that much of Amanda this season so for the break up to be that powerful it could only be the acting. I didn't know the Australian version of Wilfred had deviated that much from the American version. I was talking to one of my colleagues from Dish and she thinks that the writers aren't going to let Ryan find out the truth about everything until they are positive that the show is not going to be renewed for the season. After hearing it a second time I think the comment about the writers keeping Ryan crazy for ratings may ring more true than most believe.

  • Whedonrules Aug 12, 2012

    Just another superb episode of the most under appreciated comedy on television. Alison Mack and Elijah Wood gave great performances in a break up episode that should put network writers to shame. And it was the instances with less dialogue that were the most poignant. Score one for smart comedies Off topic but I like Dwight Yoakam's "Bruce" on this show. He doesn't act that often but he only takes good roles. This show has really kept up its momentum in its sophomore season and hopefully the story will continue into a third.



    Have to go with "Why the Hell is He Wearing That Mask". And another episode that makes you ask, why the hell doesn't someone notice what Jason Gann and Elijah Wood are doing on this gem of a show? Thanks for noticing it here.

  • tv_gonzo Aug 12, 2012

    That was a great episode.

    Sometimes I think Elijah Wood is not getting enough credit for his performance on this show. He deserves at least an Emmy nomination.

    I absolutely loved the line about the basement that may or may not exist.

    I now can see why the writers chose for the last few episodes to be somehow more lightheartedly. If they continue with the tone of "Truth" and if Wilfreds prediction that "That still wasn't it" holds true, it is to compensate for all the Drama and weiredness thats coming. It is a comedy after all. Additionally, if we don't see Wilfred and Ryan have fun and getting along, we might question why Ryan is hanging out with him anyway.

  • thorthorsen Aug 11, 2012

    This is definitely one of the most intruiging comedies ever made.



    Some episodes are just hilarious, and others, like this one, make you want to know more about the real story. Normally this is a feature belonging to 40 minute drama shows.



    The best thing about Wilfred is that you never know his objectives when he starts manipulating Ryan. Sometimes he's just simply messing with him, but sometimes like in this episode there is a deeper (and more sincere) meaning to it. And you never know which one it will be...

  • bkto Aug 11, 2012

    "It was excellent television. "



    i could not agree more, hilarious yet emotional at the same time- i really enjoyed this episode

  • mad-pac Aug 10, 2012

    Definitely "Why the hell is he wearing that mask?" So simple and senseless. Somehow I wish Ryan had shown Amanda the basement, told her everything about Wilfred, and let the chips fall where they may. But definitely Ryan is not ready to be that exposed, and come to think of it, who is prepared to reveal their innermost secret like that? So he chose the second best choice, which was let Amanda go. Considering the episode began choosing to share his *second* biggest secret, that was ominous. Perhaps Ryan revealing everything will take place by season's ending.



    One more thing. It's interesting how Wilfred US differs from its Australian counterpart, in which the Ryan equivalent seems to be in a long and stable relationship with the Jenna counterpart. Our Ryan, on the other hand, is quite a lonely guy except for the dog's company.



    Now excuse me, I have to feed my cat.

  • safibwana Aug 11, 2012

    I think he lied, or at least didn't think very hard. That you love the girl you are dating, even if you haven't said it yet doesn't really qualify as a secret.



    If his biggest secret is Wilfred, his second biggest secret from Amanda is that he is/was in love with his neighbor. His third biggest probably that he's done illegal things that could get him disbarred. His fourth that he was complicit in someone's murder. Probably dozens of other things before mundane crap like loving his girlfriend.

  • mad-pac Aug 11, 2012

    Wow, you really exposed Ryan for the terrible person he is. You're right, but Ryan said he loved Amanda because that's what she would like to hear, and that was what it took to deflect a potentially embarrassing situation. Girlscan't

  • mad-pac Aug 11, 2012

    Girls can't really process anything after hearing the , "I love you."

  • mad-pac Aug 11, 2012

    Sorry, typing on tablet full of keyboard glitches.

  • ToddMurray Aug 10, 2012

    Man, that was extremely heartbreaking, for both Amanda and Ryan. The sad self-realization of mental illness, needing to protect those you love from yourself, and knowing that you'll probably never be able to have a normal (whatever that is), happy relationship. He thought he would simply lie to her, but instead he was lying to himself all along. We were lucky enough to see behind the 3rd wall to know the motivations, but poor Amanda, not so much. Instead, she'll probably never know why she got crushed and will always be left to wonder. Allison Mack was amazing, as always. I wanted to scoop her up off the lawn and tell her it will all be okay. Yes, I know it's just a show, but damn I adore her so.



    As markwiland pointed out, the change to the ending was unnerving, to say the least. Really looking forward to the big reveal next week.



    Dwight Yoakam, in long gray hair and beard, jumping up and down, flapping his arms and throwing a temper tantrum - in a tutu. Doesn't get any better than that. :)

  • terminaltrip421 Aug 10, 2012

    more herb for them! but no, i'll miss ali mack. dwight yoakam was a really funny surprise.



    wonder how much ryan spends on pot and if wilfred has his own stash. they ever use australian _ dogs as drug sniffers?



    i liked truth or dare assuming ryan wouldn't chicken out. only game not mentioned that i can think of was the keep the apple between out two foreheads game. not sure who won that or how.

  • hogwash13777 Aug 10, 2012

    This was the perfect episode of Wilfred. Combining the laughs, with the weirdness, and the darkness, the show has achieved separately in different episodes, all in one this time. From the ending note of the episode, Ryan's realization, and the continued build-up of Ryan's dad as a BIG character, it has me really excited for the rest of the season.

  • markwiland Aug 10, 2012

    The end of this episode is one that definitely left my nerves a bit on edge. It's rare when a show does something different with their end credits or a staple they've had for so long and when they do change it, it's always important. Think back to the 5th season finale of LOST when the logo was white at the end instead of black, or something like that for another show. The fact that there was no more show at the end credits really made me kind of cringe and worry about what's to come. Especially as heartbreaking as this already was in it's own weird, Wilfredy way.



    That being said, I think I know what the disaster is. Throughout season 1-and especially this year-Ryan's dad has been a major topic of his problems. Especially now with his friend who used to work at the firm with him and his dad and tonight with the dare to call Ryan's dad and still Ryan refused...his father is apparently a big issue for Ryan which is why this upcoming disaster has to be the death of Ryan's father. Not only will it force Ryan to finally see what he's left with (a boatload of daddy issues and no daddy to talk to about them), but it will also maybe push Ryan more towards his mother and possibly learning she sees her cat the way he sees Wilfred.



    That can really be the only logical option I can see. I thought about something maybe happening to Jenna or Drew, but if something happened to them, wouldn't Wilfred just be taken away or possibly taken in by family? And then we'd have no show.



    And one last thing. People on other forums have been saying that this show keeps Ryan insane because of the fact that his insanity is what fuels its popularity. If Ryan becomes mentally stable, the premise is dead and people will turn away, so they want to keep Ryan as crazy as possible for as long as possible to make as much money as possible. While this is a good theory, I highly doubt it's true. I think Wilfred (and Louie for that matter) are some of those rare shows that are going to tell their story (well, Louie doesn't really HAVE a story, but ya know) however the hell they feel they need to tell it, and damn what ratings or whomever thinks. Ryan will become sane when the SHOW calls for it, not when the AUDIENCE calls for it. Just how LOST lasted only 6 seasons to tell the story it felt it needed to tell and how Breaking Bad is doing the same, I could see Wilfred only running for 4 or 5 seasons if that's all they felt they needed.



    Anyway, that's what I thought. Can't WAIT for next week.