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A Wilfred Community
FXX (ended 2014)
Wilfred S04E09 : "Resistance" and and S04E10: "Happiness"

(Note: I hadn’t seen any reviews for the finale yet. Then, when I was about to post this, BAM! There it was, Jen’s official review, posted 30 seconds earlier! Oh, well, I’d better be quicker next time. Anyway, now that I’ve written this one, here it is…)

“Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.”
Leon Tolstoy


How did the couch get on the middle of the beach after all? Or is it an imaginary couch? I’m at a loss.

So it’s over. After four seasons we finally can rest quietly knowing the final answers: it was all a delusion on Ryan’s part. But was anybody really expecting anything different? Personally I thought show the writers would attempt to not use the most obvious solutions, or at least they shouldn’t, and the “it’s all in Ryan’s head” scenario had already been predicted by many viewers as the most logical and obvious one as in Ryan only SEES Jenna’s dog as a man in a dog suit, and all the physical manifestations of his psychosis are his own doing. But that’s exactly what happened.

The first part, “Resistance” still tried to build on the Flock of the Gray Shepherd crock of shit red herring, and for a while that even seemed like a plausible explanation. In fact Ryan, and consequently the viewers, had already learned that the Flock of the Gray Shepherd cult was a real thing, and his mother believed in what Charles, the cult leader who turned out to be Ryan’s father, had a connection with the divine and Ryan was “The Chosen One,” whatever the heck that meant. But it turns out those were just the ramblings of a mad man whose madness was cured by “finding the one true God” and “half a dozen pharmaceuticals,” as Charles described himself. Oh, and Ryan had been adopted by Henry.


The real solution, again, was obvious from the beginning, and completely fitting to the show and the character: Ryan was nuts after all, and had an insane mom and dad. And the solution was lacking. What made Ryan interesting was precisely his mental instability and his ability to construct a world of his own making with an imaginary counterpart that pleased and tortured him at the same time.


And the solution as lacking because, frankly, for a moment I had the illusion the story had a beautiful side of being about a man and his dog friend. Many of us have pets we get attached to. I, for instance, have a cat named Leo, and he’s my companion when I work and study at home, and we have a special connection. But after Wilfred died (first he pretended to die just to pull a “gotcha” on Ryan, then Wilfred the dog REALLY died, after a moving and dramatic performance of Jason Gann), we found out Ryan didn’t need a dog to see a man in a dog suit after all. First, Ryan tried to convince himself Wilfred was appearing as a spiritual “host between bodies” and then as pure figment of his imagination who went around un-repressing embarrassing repressed memories.


What a sucker I was to think Ryan loved that dog. And that he loved Jenna. OK, I have to say that Jenna was an ineffectual character I had already grown tired of. And she was flaky and ready to take a new dog just like that. But let’s face it, Ryan was not being entirely honest with her, and by that I mean, he was completely lying, as she didn’t have a clue of how crazy he was. And, as Ryan admitted, “I’m in love with a fantasy.” Well, at least that fantasy is something he got over.


Speaking of fantasy, was the basement, from which this community takes its name, real after all? I don’t think so. At least when he opens the door that led there, we get a look of his pleased reaction, as if he finally saw it for what it was.


In the end, we got Ryan fetching a tennis ball like a mutt. Happiness is in the simplest of all things. As simple as a dog fetching a ball. In the end he didn’t need anything or anybody else. Not even the girl next door. Not even a real dog best friend. Which was sad, pathetic, ironic and… Well, that’s Ryan.

Memorable quotes:

Ryan: “Wilfred, are you insane?”
Wilfred: “That’s ironic. You asking me that. Good one.”

Wilfred: “I can’t smoke because I got cancer? Well, that’s just stupid. That’s like the guy who starts wearing condoms AFTER he gets AIDS.”

Wilfred: “Ryan, I’ve eaten all kinds of shit. Rabbit shit, cat shit, deer shit. I’m not a fussy eater. But I draw the line at carrots.”

Ryan: “Is the basement… Heaven?”
Wilfred: “What do you think?”
Ryan: “No. Maybe. I don’t know what to think.”

Wilfred: “The big answers are like those kids on the milk cartons. They don’t want to be found. They’ll turn up when they’re ready.”

Ryan: “I’m the Chosen One. Which means I’m not crazy. It’s all real!”

Charles: “These days the craziest thing I do is talk to my dog.”
Ryan: “Does he ever talk back?”
Charles: “Not for a long time. And for that I’m grateful.”

Charles: “I believed all that crazy shit I was saying.”

Charles: “All just the insane creation of a very sick mind.”

Wilfred: “You know that’s all you, right?”
Ryan: “I do now.”



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Its true that, man's best friend is himself, Man is itself a power and if he believe in it he can achieve it
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You should have done a poll about what's behind the door of the basement. Readers love polls!

Personally I believe he only kept his stack of hash/weed/marijuana on shelves in there. Or it might have been the stuffed body of his own dog, or maybe just Bear or his stash of dog food. Maybe a deep hole with a portal (oh no, that's Under the Dome). So many options.
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I thought about a "what do you wish Wilfred, the man in a dog suit, to be" poll, but in the end I was so focused on the review itself, I was just eager to get it published just a little after Jen's review. I was also planning to post a link for the beautiful Wilfred theme song, but in the end I forgot. So much to think and worry about. The profession of TV review writer must be a hard one!
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Just relax, it'll be allright after your fiftieth post.
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For me when jenna left, his final and last rope with reality was torn and it gave him the freedom to fully accept his insanity. he seems happy with it now.
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Great review. And never feel like not doing one when staff already did one. Lot's of us like to read the community reviews and comment!
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Thanks. My evil plan was that, since there were no other reviews for a season finale, mine would be featured as the main one, and I'd win by default, my favorite kind of win! Ha, ha! But you're right. Writing feels good. Besides, I gotta put my Digital Communications diploma for some use, right? Now I intend to write others. I even wrote another piece for this community. You can check it there.
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Great when you're writing more, I will read them!
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I'm still figuring out how the site's system for announcing a story in the front page works. Really, it's just too bad if the story stays buried in the community and never sees the light of day. Something you and @grumpyclown have been talking about.
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I'll pm you about it tomorrow. It's a problematic story sometimes.
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Staff
Ahhhh I'm so happy to see your take, though. I hadn't planned on writing something but then I decided to put together some thoughts at the last minute.

I'm particularly interested in this idea:

...the solution was lacking because, frankly, for a moment I had the illusion the story had a beautiful side of being about a man and his dog friend. ... we found out Ryan didn’t need a dog to see a man in a dog suit after all. ... What a sucker I was to think Ryan loved that dog.

I hadn't really considered what it mean for Wilfred the Figment of Ryan's Imagination to come back after Wilfred the Actual Dog passed away. I'm still okay with the ending as it is, but I can totally understand the feeling of it kind of discounting... or totally ignoring... the relationship that Ryan had with Wilfred the Actual Dog.

Would you have rather seen Wilfred the Figment of Ryan's Imagination disappear completely after the death of Wilfred the Actual Dog?

--Jen
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Great question. I'm not sure, but yes, if the Figment had completely disappeared, it would've made more sense to me. All I know is that I love my cat and I don't need him to be human. But then again, I'm just a tad mentally healthier than Ryan...

I just imagine how good a dog caretaker Ryan was. Did he even feed the dog properly? Give him water? Took him out when the dog needed? Because the relationship was all happening in Ryan's head, so God only knows what he did to that poor dog. Did Ryan give the dog a fork and a knife? Water in a glass? What a huge mess that was. Oh, and I bet the dog wasn't elated at all for losing his leg. Poor dog!
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