Wilfred's Season 2 Finale: Crazy Meets Crazier

Wilfred S02E12: "Secrets"

Wilfred, at its heart, isn't a buddy comedy. It's a buddy tragedy, because one of the buddies is a depressed head case and the other might not even be real. Even if Ryan actually is talking to a dog, he's not a picture of mental health. He's still the man we first met as he was making a prescription-drug smoothie with thoughts of never waking up.

So it's no surprise that "Secrets," the show's Season 2 finale, was a total bummer (unless you were wearing a Team Drew shirt). I've always had my doubts about Amanda's mental state—remember how she threw herself on the new guy (Ryan) at work seconds after meeting him? True, their brief relationship was adorable through its ups and downs, and we were all rooting for Ryan to find something stable in his life, but we all knew this would end badly. We just didn't know it would end THIS badly.

Too-good-to-be-true Amanda turned out to be too-crazy-to-be-a-girlfriend for Ryan, confessing that she too had conversations with Wilfred. But that wasn't the admission that made us want to tighten her straightjacket. After being pegged with accusations that he sold company secrets and brought down the medical firm, Ryan learned that it was Amanda who sold the secrets for a cool $10 million (I'm still not sure why Ryan's name was on the off-shore account) in hopes that the two of them could abscond to somewhere tropical and spend their days drinking fruity drinks on sandy beaches.

That left Ryan facing the tough decision of whether to turn her in for her crimes and for her own safety. Look ladies, if you've got a pretty face like Amanda's, I'll look the other way while you discuss the weather with a dog. But bringing down a company by selling its secrets and causing the CEO to shoot himself in the head is where I draw the line! But that doesn't mean it was easy to see Ryan's face sink or see Amanda's glow, not knowing that she did anything wrong. Hearrrrt brrreak.

In turning Amanda into a cuckoo clock, Wilfred didn't leave us with any hope of Amanda and Ryan getting back together (unless Ryan ends up being committed to the same loony bin Amanda will be staying in). "Secrets" also chose not to show Amanda being hauled off by authorities, in what would surely have been a powerful scene. It's almost as if Amanda became a scapegoat for a lot of the ills of Wilfred's second season, and the show couldn't wait to send her off. And now that I think of it, I'm not sure her character really worked for the show at all. Aside from Allison Mack's natural charisma, there wasn't much meat to her character, and her relationship with Ryan didn't factor into the heart of the show that much. She was supposed to be Ryan's ideal life that could never be attained because of Ryan's mental issues, but instead she ended up being a back door through which the loose threads of the company problems could escape.

Although, if you want to make the situation mean something for the show overall, it's also a statement on mental illness and adds to the conversation of Ryan's own well-being. If Amanda can be that crazy, then it's all the more possible that Ryan could be insane, too. And that was punctuated at the end of the episode, when the drawing that Ryan assumed was the work of Wilfred actually turned out to be his own. In the drawing, apparently drawn by a young Ryan, a cartoon version of Wilfred could be seen poking his head out from behind a tree—the implication being that Ryan had been imagining Wilfred long before he actually met Wilfred.

It didn't have the same impact that the disappearing basement had in the Season 1 finale, because it essentially told us the same thing, just in a different way. Sure, it's fun to have that tiny mind explosion and say, "Whoa duuuude! He like, totally drew him when he was a kid!" But instead of adding anything new to the conversation about Ryan, it was just a reminder of what we already knew. I'm a little worried that Wilfred will just keep doing the same thing whenever it needs to pique our interest, but will never bring us closer to the answers we're all looking for.

Though Season 2 started off great and had some amazing highlights, I'm not sure I can call this a good season of Wilfred. I love the idea of what the show is trying to do with the question of Ryan's sanity, but I'm not sure it's being executed as well as it could be. Obviously the series can't resolve the issue because it excels when that question is on our minds (and the series would be over if we knew for sure). But this season stayed too close to the middle, i.e. the generic "maybe" that Ryan is crazy, instead of leaning heavily in one direction before countering it in a big way later and keeping us off balance.

The Wilfred writers needed to anticipate our theories—Wilfred is a product of Ryan's id, Wilfred is a byproduct of Ryan's depression, Wilfred actually can talk to Ryan, Wilfred is a secret government conspiracy—and play with those for a bit by exploring some specifics instead of simply repeating the same question over and over. Otherwise, it's just "here we go again" and the idea loses a lot of punch.

But this is a tough task for any show, let alone a half-hour comedy. Wilfred is still great at what counts, and that's being funny.



NOTES

– One Wilfred fallback joke that continues to work is the fake story pulled from a TV plot. The show has done it in the past with Lost, and tonight it was Battlestar Galactica. Will it get old soon? Probably! But not yet.

– I really thought we would meet Ryan's dad this season!

– This Wilfred quote pretty much sums up the show: "I'm a dog, Ryan. I can't talk to people. How many times do I have to tell you that?"



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

Comments (27)
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Ive been toying with the idea that Ryan is dead and that he has been dead since the first episode. Maybe he's in purgatory and is being lead by Wilfred to fix something so that he can fully pass into the afterlife, but who knows that's what I like about this show it keeps me wondering
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my initial reaction to Amanda being crazy was that she was never real.
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I still love Allison Mack, and I'm not entirely sure why...
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The eposode was great but not finale material. Maybe if they'd didn't make the episode surround Amanda but actually gave us the answer that Wilfred had been there before instead of a little clue it'd be a little more surprising. Like if there was a small flashback, and his sister confirms that he was overly invest in their dog much like he is with Wilfred. Or he visits he's mother who confirms that he told her the dog talked him sense she is a bit crazy and hear her cat talking to her.

I do hope we get better answers. Take hint from Pretty Little Liars and that you have to give the viewers something to go on, something I think the show has learned to do instead of just random info that makes you unsure if it has anything to do with the biggest mysteries of the show. This finale gave very little.
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This show is great, but what I find scary is that if you watch each season all at once, as I do, you forget that he's not mentally sound. You yourself see Wilfred as real.
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ryan loved jenna... what happened?
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She told Ryan she had been aware about how he felt about her all along, and used him. I guess he realized if she knew there was very little he could do at the time to change her mind, and he just accepted it.
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I loved the episode and really enjoyed the second season. I thought we were getting closer to answers and then the reality set in that Amanda may be even crazier, but nothing is what it seems in this show so I wouldn't come to too many conclusions at this point. As a physchological comedy/thriller we can never be quite sure what is and is not real. I certainly look forward to watching more seasons!!!!!!!!!
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The ending of season 1 was better than the ending of season 2. Because after that we know that the basement wasn't real. So we can assume that each time Ryan goes into the basement, that's not real. When he talks to Wilfred, also not real. It's all in Ryan's mind and we can only see it from his perspective.



I'll keep watching though, maybe we'll see another 'Amanda' in season 3
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I dont think you should ever assume anything during Wilfred.

I mean, did anybody forsee Amanda selling the formula?
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True, thank you for pointing that out, I didn't think about it that way but it does make sense!
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well duh, how could you NOT know he's crazy from the very first episode... he's talking to a dog. I thought he was crazy all along
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I liked the episode. It was hilarious, engaging and thrilling.

They didn't just omit the scene of Amanda being taken by the FBI but also the wedding. We actually never say Drew and Jenna getting married. All this has me soining new ideas already as to what it could mean. Sure it would be nice to see the show lean more on the Ryan is crazy side and then rip the carpet off from underneath us. But ask yourself. Isn't that what a regular show would do? The whole second season was like one big point from the writers that this is not a regular show. So i am pretty thrilled with the final episode and can't wait for season 3. Additionally Elijah Wood for best performance in a Dramedy. Actually, Comedy would suffice. I am not expecting the Emmys to create a new catagory for Wilfred. But he needs some kind of award for the acting he's been doing.
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They also skipped when Ryan delivered his sisters baby, thought it was a little weird., then when they skipped the actual wedding ceremony....also weird...
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You mentioned that they never showed the actual wedding or the FBI taking Amanda away. So I went back and watched the episode again and I noticed that no one talks to Amanda in this episode besides Wilfred (who's obviously not real) and Ryan. I do think she's real but I'm starting to think that all of the "Amanda encounters" after they broke up aren't real. This would also mean that the FBI may still be investigating Ryan.
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Just wondering, how many viewers realise this is an american version of an australian show that could only find a spot on its multicultural public free to air station, SBS. I mean, this show barely made it in Australia! I haven't watched the american remake, but for some reason I wasn't very much attached to the original either. I don't think frondo playing the original actor will make much difference. Well done SBS. If anyone wants to see a high quality Australian tv show though it is Rake. Basically, and this is a simplification, it's like House but a law show, and dirtier.
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When he said the final 5 I lost it. Love the show.
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I actually really enjoyed the Amanda aspect of this season, mainly because in the end it proved Ryan HAS made progress. He found someone who's actually crazy, and not like him. Where as Amanda has to be watched now by doctors and psychiatric staff, Ryan knows, "Hey, I could be a LOT worse. I could be HER." The fact that he ISN'T like Amanda is grounds enough for saying he's not as bad off as he thought he was.



I agree this season overall-aside from the mind bending episodes like Questions-wasn't as well written as the 1st, but it's still my favorite show on Tv and in 2 short seasons has become one of my all time favorites. But this blurb isn't about this episode, this blurb is about that last statement. I NEED this show in my life. Much like the short lived show "Dead Like Me", this show actually helps me cope with things. Ryan is the most relatable I've ever felt to a television character, and it's because I've been in his situation of suicide before, in the exact way, pills and all. Dead Like Me taught me-at a very bad point in my life where I feared my own mortality (and ironically almost comitted suicide right around the same time)-not to be afraid of death and they're both incredibly important to me.



Wilfred makes me feel normal. Wilfred makes me feel not as alone. Much like Ryan, I too need this dog in my life, even if it's just on TV. In fact, I'd prefer him to stay on TV. I know the ratings for this season haven't been very great lately, and last week hit a series low with only 0.63 but I'm praying we get a season 3 because if we don't, not only would we be robbed of one of the best shows in years (especially in terms of the premise alone) but I myself would be devestated.



Please FX, be the one channel to break the curse of networks that cancel my favorite shows too early. PLEASE. I'll be waiting.
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I have to agree with essentially everything that Tim said. This season did stay too close to the middle and while I did love Allison Mack's character, once she was gone I was wondering how Ryan would react. This season was more of the same as the first (with many of the same characters). The season 2 finale wasn't as shocking as Season 1, no doubt.



If the writers aren't willing to push the envelope in Season 3, it should be its last. Borrow ideas from the Aussie version if they need to, but now that Amanda is gone, Jenna married Drew and Ryan is well... still Ryan, there's not much more we don't know.
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what are you on about, theres heaps we don't know. i wanna know why hes talking to a dog for starters. i wanna know more about ryans dad. and bruce. he's definately not real.
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Jenna marrying Drew doesn't really mean anything. In fact, to borrow ideas from the Aussie version Jenna and Ryan would have to be together.
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that was the point of the original show, the guy was only seeing 'wilfred' because we was dating the girl and invading on the dogs territory. the Australian version didnt need this fake suspense wondering if the main character was crazy or not
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Talk to a dog, industrial espionage. Allowable. Being so stupid as to have your boyfriend's name on the account, that's a deal breaker. Crazy is good. Stupid is bad.
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Well, in her crazy mind, "Wilfred" (fake Wilfred?) told her he had a plan. Perhaps he told her to put Ryan's name on it to force the issue of them running away together.



Perhaps not so much "stupid" as "crazy"
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I interpreted her particular brand of crazy as being crazy enough to pretend to be hearing Wilfred. I don't believe she actually has been talking to her own alt-Wilfred. She was just glomming on to Ryan's crazy. Of all the ways you can be crazy, what are the chances she would also talk to Ryan's neighbors dog.
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are we all forgetting about when she hated dogs? she said wilfred was talking to her from the beginning, crazy, super crazy, super french crazy
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Loooove the show.. But i really wanna know when the next season starts =(
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