Wilfred: The Truth About Guys and Dogs
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.
– 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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