Wilfred has a bit of an identity crisis going on, with many of its episodes split between an existential descent into the sanity of one man's deranged mind and hammy-yet-lovable sight-gag indie sitcom. For those looking for more from the show, the inconsistency can be frustrating. But if Jason Gann can continue the performance he gave in "Control," it won't matter.
With a story ripped straight from Three's Company or anything that's been called a comedy over the last few decades, "Control" saw Ryan force-introducing Jenna and Amanda via a dinner party after the two briefly said hello while inadvertently running into each other on the beach. (What is it with all the random beach encounters on this show?) We've seen this scenario a million times, so we half-knew what to expect; only our knowledge that Wilfred is perfectly capable of pulling the rug out from underneath us at any moment kept it enticing.
But "Control" never turned the convention upside-down, instead staying within the outer boundaries of the premise and pushing them with some edgy humor. And you know what? Sometimes that's all Wilfred has to do to be satisfying. Obviously Jenna and Amanda wouldn't like each other and obviously Wilfred would bound into the room and screw everything up for Ryan. But Amanda's story about where her true fear of dogs came from—that a pair of bluetick hounds ate her dead grandfather's legs and face—was delightfully sick and exactly the type of dark humor Wilfred excels at. And I'm not sure others will agree with me here, but I think Ryan's uncomfortable actions (his repeated need to have Jenna and Amanda bond over something in common) and the dinner party in general were a conscious yet subtle parody of the dinner party trope. Wilfred knew it was doing a dinner party episode and had some fun with it.
And the most fun came from Wilfred himself, who crashed the party with his own uninvited guest, his friend and lover Bear. The shtick here (and it was good shtick) was that stuffed-animal Bear had fallen off the wagon and gone back to alcoholism. Whether or not Wilfred was faking it so he could disrupt the party isn't the point. The point is THERE WAS AN ALCOHOLIC STUFFED ANIMAL. There's no point in overanalyzing this, it was just really funny.
Or can we analyze it just the right amount? I'm sure this had occurred to many of you before, but last night's episode really brought it to light. What if Wilfred sees Bear the same way Ryan sees Wilfred? What if Bear really is alive and talking to Wilfred? What if Ryan and Wilfred share the same psychosis? You know what I'd like to see somewhere in the future? Wilfred talking to a man in a dog suit in a stuffed bear suit. That would blow my mind.
"Control" wasn't one of the series' mind-benders, but it combined both sides of Ryan's life and delivered the dark moments we all love about the show.
– Wilfred's story about Rex and the dog dike Lady was hilarious. Maybe he had sex with her corpse, maybe he didn't. (He did.)
– Wilfred sniffing Amanda's crotch.
– Even though Amanda and Wilfred got along in the end, I still don't trust her. There's something up with her. I just know it.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom