Wilfred "Resentment" Review: Lord of the Ring

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Wilfred S02E11: "Resentment"

One of the things Wilfred continues to successfully accomplish is taking familiar TV tropes and making them uniquely its own. A dog eating important items—usually jewelry or a heart that's ready for transplant (watch the video at the link, it's worth it!)—and forcing someone to wait for them to shit it out is nothing new. But when the dog is a man dressed in a dog outfit, something close to magic happens. I say "close to magic" because it was hard not to understand what was going on in "Resentment" (and many other episodes of Wilfred): a simple sitcom staple being redone in the world of Wilfred.

I'm still trying to figure out whether it was lazy or whether it was genius, because I always think of Wilfred as an anti-sitcom in sitcom's clothing, and maybe that's the exact idea. It's familiar but edgy. It's derivative but innovative. But it's also unfailingly funny. What would have been a group of guys feeding a cute dog laxatives in time to get to a wedding on another sitcom became a man in a dog suit squatting over a lawn in frustration on Wilfred. That's funny. And that breathes new life into things we've all seen before.

But "Resentment" struggled with the same problem as much of the rest of Season 2, and was never on a single path over the course of the episode, starting with Ryan's jealousy over Jenna and Drew's wedding and Ryan volunteering to throw host their wedding his backyard and then going to see Amanda. It was a great arc for Ryan that was diluted by the large chunk of the episode that belonged to Wilfred (which was admittedly funny), while Ryan chased him around. Again. But Wilfred's antics are what sell the show, and it's unfortunate that they're usually in direct conflict with the heart of Wilfred: Ryan's state of mind, whether it be a question of loneliness or insanity.

And once again, the question of sustainability comes up. How long can Wilfred play with sitcom tropes one just one week after giving us a trippy, Instagram-filtered mind-bender (as it did in last week's "Questions")? Wilfred's second season has been inconsistent but watchable, providing moments of brilliance and meh-diocrity like an innately talented prodigy knocking on the door of greatness. There's a sense that Wilfred is almost there, but it can't quite push itself over the last obstacle... kind of like a dog befuddled by a pet gate. I want to lean over and slap my knees and scream, "You can do it, boy!" until the show does leap into my arms, but something is holding it back.



NOTES

– I believe there is just one episode left in the season. Does that mean the meat of the finale will be Drew and Jenna's wedding, and not more questions on whether or not Ryan is crazy or not? If so, that's a bit of a disappointment.

– Ryan, please change your bong water. That's disgusting even by abandoned van parked on the river bank serving as temporary apartment in Humboldt, California standards.

– Another bit I liked about "Resentment" was getting to see more Drew. Regardless of what you think of Chris Klein now, his breakout role as a dumb jock in the movie Election was brilliant, and he's returning to that in Wilfred. I'm not even sure the guy is acting, but he's perfectly cast opposite the Ryan's neurosis and Wilfred's anxiousness.

– No matter what problems the show has with storytelling, Wilfred talking to other dogs, especially Jellybeans, will never not be funny. It's amazing how this joke of man-as-dog continues to be successful.

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