Wilfred "Intuition" Review: Crime Stoppers

By Tim Surette

Jul 26, 2013

Wilfred S03E07: "Intuition"

I thought I'd check in on FX's Wilfred with a mini-review of last night's great episode "Intuition," a return to the mentally unstable comedy's darker side. Written by former showrunner David Zuckerman, "Intuition" went for a walk and departed quite a bit from the straight canine comedy that has dominated the first half of Season 3, with a focus on Ryan and his crumbling psyche. 

Wilfred has been used in many different ways throughout series, but I've always found him best featured as a reflection of Ryan's psyche rather than simply a comic foil. Though the show is called "Wilfred," it's really and completely about Ryan. And you can argue the specifics (is Wilfred is a mythical creature, a figment of Ryan's imagination, or a manifestation of Ryan's id?), but the show thrives when Wilfred is represented as part of Ryan, whether he's doing good by providing Ryan's confidence or being a bad doggy and self-sabotaging Ryan's daily routine and road to recovery. 

In "Intuition," Wilfred and Ryan tracked Old Man Neighbor in a murder mystery, with Wilfred assuming that the neighbor killed his wife. The evidence was there: the old man was burying something bloody at night, the wife missed her 8:45am poop (long and funny story), and the cagey old man ended up dumping a body off a bridge. Case closed! Except grandmom did show up later in the episode and the truth came out. Old Man killed Wilfred's frenemy Jelly Beans after Wilfred masterminded his murder by throwing a tennis ball in front of his car. All (supposedly) because Ryan complimented Jelly Bean's bandana (it was a pretty sweet bandana, you have to admit). First, let me say this: I've always loved the Jelly Beans character and Wilfred's mix of awe and jealousy over those gorgeous Golden Retriever locks. I mean, Jelly Beans was cool, man. Second, I love that Wilfred killed him off. Maybe I'm some sick f*ck, but there's something incredibly funny and satisfying about Wilfred murdering the perfect dog. Also, for what it's worth, I'm a cat person.

But the murder mystery wasn't about Jelly Beans, Wilfred, Old Man, or pooping grandmom, it was about Ryan. It was about Ryan's intuition, his gut, his hunch. It was, in a way, about Ryan mastering his own intuition, and in the end, he failed. Ryan had been dreaming about his dad (finally unmasked as Dexter's dad James Remar, nice choice there) in a series of effective fake-outs as we joined Ryan in figuring out what was reality and what was imagine. In the end when he met his dad in a supermarket for real, Ryan did not believe it and assumed it was another dream. Aided by insomnia and sleeping pills, Ryan cracked and threw a hysterical fit in the supermarket, wasting two perfectly good bottles of champagne in the process.

In the closing shot, Ryan looked outside and saw Wilfred looking back, self-satisfied. It's unclear whether this chance meeting between Ryan and his dad was another one of Wilfred's orchestrations or Wilfred was disappointed in Ryan for not taking Wilfred's advice to trust his own intuition. He's just staring. And then it ends. And that's exactly how it should be. There are more questions than answers. It's f*cked up and fantastic.



NOTES


– Jenna on the toilet. My mind will never recover.

– Toothpaste juice running all down Anne's face!

– Director Randall Einhorn's use of focus continues to be one of the best visual definitions of a show on television. It really captures the fuzzy dreaminess (is that a word?) of the series' main question.

– That's two episodes in a row with some great downer endings. Last week, it was Ryan unable come to terms with his unearthed feelings for Jenna and a retreat back to the bong. Wifred distinguishes itself form other television, especially comedy, with these and is always better for it.

– Wilfred's rant on Scooby-Doo as the most racist character ever created was great. 

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  • rubber_soul Jul 29, 2013

    hey guys, just got on the thread. Big time Wilfred fan, have been since the show first aired. Clearly this show goes deeper than most people think, and im sure you all know that as well. I have my thoughts on the show as im sure everyone here does. Any opinions on the general idea on the show, love to her other ideas that are floating around in the cloud out there. Also, kickass name for the this community blog- 'the basement', flawless name, ostensibly where the most important and reveling parts of the show take place. Also, ryan's dad, always has been an underpinning thought for ryan and has seemingly made a deep platform for the show. This last episode highlighted it....Cheers!

  • tv_gonzo Jul 28, 2013

    You assume the last encounter in the supermarket was real. Maybe. Wilfred likes to play with us. I love this. It's so great. The mix of funny and serious, of light and dark. The acting!
    Recently i noticed that Wilfred is increasingly able to do things he is not supposed to do. I get that a dog doesn't really smoke weed and all that stuff. But i feel like in the first seasons the writers were more aware of Wilfreds limitations. For example. There is no way a dog would be able to jump over that fence. Or when Wilfred punched a hole in Ryans wall last episode. It was at shoulder height. Now, i don't know if that's the writers negligence, a natural progression as we are becoming increasingly comfortable to accept Wilfred as a real person instead of a dog or, and that's the most intriguing, if it means something. Those things no dog could do. But a person would. Ryan could take pictures of people on the toilet, Ryan can punch a hole in a wall at shoulder height. Ryan can jump over fences.

  • TVvuer69 Jul 28, 2013

    Wilfred's beefs about Scooby-Doo was hilarious. And the show get parodied so many times, most recently on Futurama, which itself had a good one at that.

  • klotensen Jul 27, 2013

    Thanks Tim!
    Perfect and funny "shorty" of a great episode.
    At the end: was it really Ryan's dad in the supermarket? Or wasn't? Either way, poor Ryan!
    I'm super-excited for the next episode!

  • mad-pac Jul 27, 2013

    I also found it twisted that Wilfred was so concerned that an old lady had apparently been murdered, but just shrugged it off when it turned out the victim had been not human, but a dog like him, especially after she had ranted about Scooby-doo's supposed racism. The story of the ordinary guy who suspects the shady neighbor is is a killer has been done to death, but how many times has it turned out that the regular guy is the true murderer? That was an interesting twist.

  • mad-pac Jul 27, 2013

    Excellent episode. When I saw James Remar, I actually wondered if that was really Ryan's dad. I mean, wouldn't it be trippy if Ryan's dead in real life were played by another actor, and that would all be a nod to Dexter? I mean, Ryan has already fantasized that Robin Williams was a doctor, so why not Dexter's father?

    I agree with Tim that the episodes in which Ryan's "crumbling psyche" are explored are the best. So, was it really reality the last time Ryan met his dad? But it's ironic that he only had a "real" encounter with his dad after he took the sleeping pills...

    Now, I don't even begin to comprehend how that picture taking would take place in reality. Ryan saw Wilfred taking pictures of his roommate on the toilet., while all she saw was a dog staring at her. But then Wilfred showed Ryan a whole album of photographs. Were those imagines photographs? And I'm not even going to start wondering how Wilfred would have had access to all those people's toilet to "stare" at them while on the crapper (the album seemed quite detailed).

    That's taking toilet humor to a whole new level.

  • mad-pac Jul 27, 2013

    I was thinking this is a situation a Compulsive TV Viewer might one day go through when facing a terrible dilemma:

    JR: "Son, you shouldn't do this. It's a big mistake. Listen to your imaginary dad."
    CTVV: "Hey, but you're not my dad. You're James Remar!"
    JR: "Which doesn't change the fact this is a mistake, son."
    MP: "Don't listen to him. You should totally do it!"
    CTVV: "Mark Pellegrino! You're in my head too?"

  • klotensen Jul 27, 2013

    I'm absolutely sure this is going to happen to me one day.

  • ben45tpy Jul 27, 2013

    Poor James Remar is being typecast as dad of the crazies. First Dexter, then the Salvatore bros on TVD and now Ryan. Tough gig.

    This was a good one, I really hope it has lasting repercussions for the rest of the season, I don't want things to go back to normal straight away.

  • Whedonrules Jul 26, 2013

    This show is one of the funniest comedies on television. Jason Gann has been putting on that costume for a looong time now, glad he's been wearing it well since 2002 and its paying off now. RIP Jelly Beans - Wilfred's jealousy of the gorgeous golden retriever was always funny, James Remar as Ryan's dad - very cool. He is now playing the father of the most psychologically screwed up characters in both Drama and Comedy. James Remar has had a free pass with me since 'The Warriors' . (Somebody put a You tube clip of all of his lines in 'The Warriors' - its about 2 minutes long and its awesome.) Nice to see a great David Zuckerman episode in the middle of a season.

    Funniest line: Kristen to Ryan: 'One of those and I'm out for 8 hours...doesn't matter how loud the baby cries.' Ryan and Kristen Is one of the most dysfunctional brother/sister relationships on television (like Dennis and Dee Reynolds) and it just gets better and funnier and more disturbing each time.


  • Demonstrable Jul 26, 2013

    Things just got weird-er.

  • current Jul 26, 2013

    Tim, you may've applauded Wilfred's killing of the dog but don't forget he ate Ryan's mother's pussy too;)
    Don't all ladies pee crossed legged 0-0
    Wilfred's start is the reverse of most shows, in that it starts with a moment of zen and then often devolves far from it in so much crass that you forget where you were. It's basically shock humour that's so black and I love it for that. I mean, where else could you find yourself laughing spontaneously from rape fight?!

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