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FXX (ended 2014)

Wilfred S04E09 and S04E10: "Resistance" and "Happiness"


Wilfred's series finale left me in a weird spot. And just to be clear, by "weird," I mean "slightly confused but also mostly satisfied." I've been watching the show since the beginning, and have largely enjoyed its more routine dog humor as well as its darker exploration of Ryan's mental state. So even though I started to lose interest as Season 4 spiraled further and further into bizarre plots involving cults and dog gods named after Matt Damon—I watched every episode, but often found it difficult to stay invested in the unraveling of an increasingly convoluted mystery—I was still eager to see how the story ended.  

Ultimately, the show's two-part conclusion was full of reveals. Wilfred was indeed a normal dog; the guy in the suit was merely a figment of Ryan's imagination. It was incredibly poignant and sad to watch Jenna, Drew, and Ryan put the cancer-ridden Wilfred to sleep in "Resistance," and his death set everything else in motion. Jenna and Drew got back together and moved to Wisconsin with a newly adopted puppy (too soon, you guys!), while Ryan, alone and depressed, returned to the same dark place where he started the series: The opening moments of "Happiness" saw him whipping up a suicide smoothie. But after a conversation with his mom—during which she dropped quite a few family secrets—Ryan jumped back down the Mataman rabbit hole, embarked on a journey of self-discovery, learned the truth about his birth in a cult, and then accepted the fact that he, like both of his parents, was crazy, so to speak. He made peace with the realization that Wilfred had never existed in the sense that Ryan thought he did. And then he made a conscious decision to keep his canine pal around, in his head, forever. 

At least, that's my interpretation of what happened: I believe that Ryan is now aware that his best friend is an imaginary, talking dog, and he's okay with that—or at least as "okay" as he can be. Perhaps more importantly, I believe that Ryan is still alive. 

It's an important distinction to make, as I've seen some folks suggesting that Ryan was successful in killing himself at the outset of "Happiness." Even series star Elijah Wood initially considered such an outcome, as he discussed in an interview with Vulture:

Do you think Ryan’s dead?

When I read the script, that was my feeling. At the very beginning of the episode, when they recall the pilot, I talked to [executive producer] David [Zuckerman] about this and said, “I have a weird interpretation, but I feel like he actually managed to commit suicide, and that the rest of the episode is him dead.” When I mentioned it to David, he thought, Oh, that’s interesting, and that was not his intention at all. [Laughs.]

That still doesn’t stop people from forming their own interpretations.

I agree. Based on reading the script and working on that episode, it felt definitive without being definitive. If people are looking for answers, and as much as the show is also about Ryan looking for answers, it ends with enough information for you to be satisfied, but still it’s relatively ambiguous.

But after reading that, it seems fairly clear that Ryan survived, ambiguity notwithstanding. It's almost like when Breaking Bad ended and some folks floated the idea that Walter White had frozen to death in that car that wouldn't start, with everything that followed representing the fantasy hallucinations he suffered as he lost consciousness—there will always be viewers who see what they want to see. And if you think about it, doesn't that make "Happiness" the perfect capper to a show about a man whose mental health has been ambiguous for as long as we've known him? Who's long made a habit of seeing what he wants to see?

It's odd, because Wilfred's series finale left me feeling both satisfied and anxious. I'm not really surprised that the talking, pot-smoking version of Wilfred turned out to be imaginary, and I'm actually pretty relieved that the show didn't make him into an actual god or whatever—that it somehow remained grounded in reality. I wonder if what I initially expected was that Wilfred's death would be the catalyst that helped Ryan overcome his mental illness. But I think it's important that Ryan wasn't simply "healed"; instead, he decided to kind of embrace his madness in a more managed fashion. I think that's ultimately why, for me, the finale worked in mysterious ways... just like "dog." 



NOTES

– I feel compelled to mention that the thought of Ryan having killed himself is supremely uncomfortable to consider in the context of Robin Williams' tragic real-world suicide. I can't help but make the connection, so I'm curious as to how it might've affected my interpretation of Wilfred's finale. 

– I haven' seen the original Australian version of Wilfred; if you have, how did its ending compare to this one, if at all?

– We didn't get to see what was behind the basement/closet door. What do you think Ryan saw?


What's your take on Wilfred's series finale?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/13/2014

Season 4 : Episode 10

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Just putting it out there, the basement not being real and only some kind of "heaven" for Ryan would explain the earthquake down there and why no one else was affected by it when Ryan went back upstairs. It's sad though, this whole part of his life just ripped away from him like that. And Jenna, the only reason why he and Wilfred became friends, turning out to be such a b*tch is just so depressing after all the buildup to it.
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Terrible ending.
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Will someone please explain to me if Wilfred was all in Ryan's head how did Ryan know about the purple and pink spotted elephant buried in the yard....
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Because he's a schizophrenic...
Everything he blocked away was deep inside his mind and Wilfred was his subconscious diassociative psyche helping him recover and cope. His mom had the same thing with her cat and the father with the dog. At the end he was asking Wilfred other things he blocked out; this explaining the true disease that people have
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Paranoid, delusional, schizophrenic psychic. Or it's just a tv show that is more cartoon than reality. I like the first one
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hm it seemed the obvious explanation to me, but i seem to be alone in thinking thiss way. My interpretation was that wilfred was actually God, (well physically Wilfred the dog was only a dog, but it was how God communicated with Ryan,, who was so logical and calculating, and afraid of risks that he needed so much help to connect with the spirit) because 1: his biological father says that his dog doesnt talk to him now that he met the real god, 2: no one else sees wilfred anymore and its just in his head, 3: wilfred says at the end "you mean where i give you wisdom and you ignore it, then i make your life hell until you make the right choice" and 4: wilfred knows a bunch of things that ryan doesnt, not only in the end but all throughout the series. and in the end ryan decides he needs wilfred (or god) instead of ignoring him. even after he disappeared all he needed was to sit down close his eyes and call out to him. idk if thats at all consistant with what was thought upon writing the show, but being as ryan really relates to me almost exactly personality wise, it seemed like the only possible explanation for the ending when i saw it ha
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Although I'm an atheist, my first impression was that the creator wanted us to believe that Wilfred was a reflection of God.

Jena was disappointing because she turned out to be dumb, lacking feelings and insight. She stayed with Drew and never caught on the Ryan loved (lusted?) for a Jena that only existed in his imagination. The actual Jena was shallow and self centered. She lacked inner beauty. She never saw Ryan as anything more than a neighbor and dog baby sitter. A dark comedy at the very least.
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Hi guys,
First of all, I want to apologize in advance for my poor english, I'm a Wilfred fan from France!
I have to admit that it's really nice to read all of your comments that all make sense to me. I've read most of them, but there are still questions that come to my mind, like this one : Who is Rayan talking to when he thinks he is talking to Bruce? Is Bruce a simple hallucination ? what do you guys think?
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Bruce isn't real. He's actually the old man, which is why when Ryan goes to rip off the prostethics, there are none. when he first sees Bruce again, it's the old man running and it's not until he Ryan loses him for a moment that he sees him as Bruce. Also, because of the fact that he wasn't real, it would explain how he could speak to Wilfred, and how Ryan's actual father recognizes him as Shane. So, to answer your question, I think Bruce is real, just not in the sense that we all thought he was.
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I think Bruce is a kind of nurse of the psychiatric hospital where Ryan stayed for a time . And the stakes that Bruce did with Wilfred was the treatment in Ryan's view. Actually I tend to think that everything was a Ryan's dream. Whatever, Wilfred is the best tv show. Too bad it was over.
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I leaned on the dream thing in the beginning too. Like Alice in Wonderland. That would explain a lot. I think the writers left the audience to make their own conclusions which is nice
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Wilfred is hands down my favorite show the meaning I got from wilfred is you live in your own reality and not trying to Conform to society is what makes ryan the happiest and for that matter us as well... ryan is almost a perfectly functioning human for the most part he is .... The only inconsistency that I saw in wilfred is in the episode when ryan goes to the nursing home and that black lady kills her self bc there was no way ryan could have killed which could actually mean that wilfred is dog god can't remeber the name it might be manamat but all in all wilfred is cinematic gold that is poetic it's not often you see a show conclude and for that matter one as convoluted and cliff hanging as wilfred I wouldn't normally post on here but I haven't met anyone who's finished wilfred and I am the biggest wilfred fan I've prol seen every episode at least 5 times and when season for I am going to cop that cuz it's a show that I watch over and over and always pick up new meaning I just wish that fx didn't bitch out and constrain the writers on the last season ie they casted a different actress for the mother which really pissed me off but that's due to rating and like I said I'm the only who watched wilfred that I know
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That black lady killed herself, she wasn't murdered. Remember they found her suicide note? Ryan only thought Wilfred did it.
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The entirety of season 4 really dragged the whole series down. Gone was pretty much all the humor. In its place was this increasingly surreal and uncomfortable atmosphere, and this uninteresting story about dog cults and secrets....snore.

What made the show work at its best was towing the line between story and the question of his sanity. When we were never quite sure if he was really talking to Wilfred, or if this was some extension of him trying to deal with his problems and using Wilfred as an outlet to work them out for himself.

As one who has seen both shows, I would put the Australian series ahead of the American one. The question of Adam's (the guy in that series) sanity, whether he was really talking to the dog or was crazy, was only ever hinted at. We would go through these scenarios with this man trying to fit into his girlfriend's life while competing with this dog. Whether he was real or not, it still worked as a story and you still liked the characters. That made it all the more fun when they'd occasionally present you with a scenario that made you wonder what was happening. Sometimes it was clearly fake. Other times he clearly knew things he couldn't have learned from anyone else but Wilfred. With an ending that was just vague enough.

American Wilfred peaked by the end of season 2. I rather wish it had stopped there.
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I've been trying to reply to modarkajo, but I've been having issues - so here's what I've been trying to write: I need to re-watch these episodes. But on the dog story, is it possible that Ryan was sneaking around Jenna's home, peeking in the window (being quite jealous of Drew), and heard Drew tell the story and then had Wilfred lie to him for some reason?
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Wilfred may never achieve Lost's post-finale following, or Breaking Bad's ratings, but it still managed to have a bigger impact on me than either of the two.

The ending of Resistance was my favorite episode of the entire series, and I damn near shed a tear at the end, something that only Lost had previously managed. While Happiness was nowhere near as good as it's predecessor, it managed to clear things up, saving a lot of diehard Wilfred fans a lot of time speculating.

Overall, Wilfred was... unique. Many people will go their entire life not giving the show about a guy talking to a dog a chance, and that's fine, because I know that, in the end, this series genuinely moved me.
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Great comments! I'm late to the game, but I've been really mesmerized by the last couple episodes! It's been making me think a lot!

I feel that no one could have done a better job than Elijah Wood! How excellent was he?!? Wow! He's the MAIN reason I will re-watch all seasons again!!
And another reason I'll be re-watching - now I want to see if they did know what they were doing from the beginning! So, I will watch very carefully. I'm thinking they did know what they were doing ... and it's going to be a lot darker now. Because now I'll know that so much that happens will be Ryan's doing! It will be so very disturbing and sickening and sad.
I suggest watching "A Beautiful Mind", which is based on a true story. Schizophrenia is unbelievable! They truly see the person and fully believe what is happening. So, Ryan was doing pretty much everything but was unaware of his involvement until the end.
I think Ryan was going into the closet constantly - whenever we saw him in the non-existent basement, etc. - and this is where he really cut loose. He took Wilfred, the real dog, into this tiny closet and smoked dope! Who knows how many hours at a time - with no windows. No wonder Wilfred got lung cancer! It's so sad. But Elijah makes Ryan hard to be angry at! You don't know WHAT to think now. He was, essentially, abusing this real dog - without even knowing it. It's the mental illness. Elijah pulled it off!!
I believe Jenna was very bad for him. She didn't know up from down! Who lets a stranger take their dog constantly? Apparently Jenna didn't even smell the marijuana on her dog! Deep down I don't think she cared ... until Wilfred died. Probably guilt. And then she gets another puppy, just like that? Yes, it was Drew who got the puppy, but she went for it.
The last scene when Ryan opens the closet door -- he did not look down -- I agree that he saw the closet only - a place where he will enter and escape to his crazy, fun world, whether the basement or the beach - in this case the beach.
And, is it just me, or was the smile Ryan had very reminiscent of the wonderful Elijah Wood's Frodo - probably the most innocent, happiest smile he had in the whole series? It meant a lot to me.
Now that Ryan knows the truth, he seems contented - as disturbing as it may be. Hopefully he will not ever get another real dog - a dog that he could yet again unknowingly frighten and abuse - and instead can face his mental illness and accept it with happiness - alone.
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I tried to have spacing between the paragraphs, but it didn't work.
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I've watch them all 4 seasons within the last two weeks, and I must admit.. I enjoyed every single second of it, the ending was quite brilliant, I couldn't ask for a better one, glad the didn't keep up with the cult thing, and that would have totally ruin the show, however since I watched all the episodes at once, I met some flaws in the theory of Wilfred being Ryan's subconscious mind, for example..
In the episode "Control" Wilfred told Ryan a story about two dogs.. later that nigh Drew told Ryan the same story (the real version of the story because Wilfred was lying) and Ryan was surprised.. the point is Ryan didn't know the story and your subconscious mind can't tell you a story that really exists but you've never heard of, same goes for the nicknames of the people in the neighborhood, and that three legged pink pig Ryan found when he went to that crib to meet Wilfred's clone
And finally.. your subconscious can't tie you to the chair tightly as Wilfred did, I hope there someone out there who can answer those questions.
Anyway I will truly miss this series, Jason Gann amazing performance was terrific, the whole show is unforgettable, I wonder if will ever see something like it again
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So... I just watched all of season 4 today and at first I was a bit disappointed in the ending. Seeing Wilfred die in the second to last episode was very hard for me. I lost my mom to lung cancer 7 months ago and I couldn't help breaking down seeing Ryan sitting with his best friend who was being put to sleep in the same fashion that doctors helped my mom pass peacefully. Then I started to think about how the main theme in the show was Ryan's happiness. All along I expected the show to end as some sort of big dream that he was having, induced by the drugs he took to kill himself in season 1. I expected him to eventually awake in the same desperate and glum situation with a new perspective and will to live better. That would have been an easy out and I am pleased that for once I didn't completely predict the ending.

To me it is obvious that Ryan was mentally ill. The scene where they show him looking back doing all the things that we saw Wilfred doing all along is proof of this. Wilfred was his neighbors dog, but the pot-smoking imaginary friend that we grew to love was always a part of Ryan that did in fact seek true happiness. I think this is the point of the show, besides making us laugh (which is kinda the same goal, right?). True happiness is something we need to find inside us. Life is a bitch. People will die, friends will betray us, and we will fall in love with people who don't return that love to us. That doesn't mean life's not worth living. After every failure there is something to be learned and if you keep trying to be happy and you are honest with yourself, even the craziest most delusional people can achieve happiness.

As for the basement, I believe when Ryan opened the door he did in fact see just a closet. The reason he laughed it off was his newly found realization that he was indeed crazy, but okay with that. Because now he knew that Wilfred was just a manifestation of his mind and subconscious and a part of him striving to achieve happiness. I liked that he embraced that and decided to keep that part of himself alive.

Another question the show made us ponder was whether or not Wilfred was God. As any christian will tell you, God is a part of us all, and inside each of us. He wants us to be happy and live a "good" life in his image and for him. God speaks to us in our own voice inside our head and heart. So in a way, maybe Wilfred was God's way of speaking to Ryan, helping him find himself, and his true happiness. Despite all the crazy antics between Wilfred and Ryan and all the trouble they got in along the way I still like to think that it was all part of a master plan. A plan that despite everything appearing to be falling apart and hopeless had Ryan somehow smiling and finding a reason to be happy. doG works in mysterious ways.
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Why compare it to Robin Williams Suicide. I have to say, my first thought is you included "Robin Williams" so that your article would come up in google searches for him. I hope that is not the case.
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Because robin williams was in this show for an episode if you actually watched it.
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I was pleased with the ending. I know a lot of people wanted some kind of happy ending, Ryan gets Jenna, he regains his sanity and they live happily ever after. Well, life isn't all happy endings. I appreciated the fact that in the end Ryan realizes he's crazy, and decides to embrace it. Wilfred was in his mind, the basement was in his mind, Bruce was in his mind. Ryan created Wilfred to keep from committing suicide the first time, and he only tried again after Wilfred died. So to keep himself alive he had to come to terms with the fact that Wilfred wasn't real. In the end he decided it was better to be crazy than dead.
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I like your conclusions. Thank you
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In short, I like how all the aspects of the main plots were basically tied up by the end. However, the basic ending of the show was predicted by comments and reviews by the 3rd Season. Its hard to consider an ending to a show "successful" if its predictable, but hey, it least it was better than the ending of Dexter, right?
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wilfred is the bestest
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Now only one question remains
How did Ryan caught a squirrel!?!?!
Lol
but seriously...
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I'm a bit upset... Ryan saw Wilfred well before he hard about the Flock of the Grey Shepherd.. so what are the odds that he saw the exact thing that the Flock of the Grey Shepherd believed in? Then it turns out his parents were figureheads in the cult and they believed he would be the one to see the talking dog, which he did.... I think it's unbelievable that it turns out he's crazy. After he talks to his real father I kept saying "tell him he wasn't wrong and tell him about Wilfred", but instead he took the word of a man who has been forced to disbelieve his own visions through years of psychiatric brain-washing. The ONLY thing that could salvage the story is if Ryan suppressed memories from when he was an INFANT of the cult worshipping him and implanting the idea of a talking dog... but that's stupid.
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I think he saw Wilfred because it was a hereditary mental illness. He's having the same dillusions as his father
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Actually, I believe the talk with his father was very real.

See, he saw all these things, bruce, wilfred, wtc. because he saw them as a kid, remember? He lived with them for quite a few years.

In the final episode, wilfred is able to dig up things that Ryan repressed or couldn't remember. This shows that Wilfred basically is Ryan's subconscious.

So, when Ryan's life was miserable, his subconscious, aka Wilfred, brought up really old childhood memories to serve as the characters in his journey. Bruce calling himself the trickster god, Wilfred calling himself mattomon.

However, keep in mind, Wilfred NEVER knew more than Ryan. This kind of gave away that he was in Ryan's mind. Schizophrenics can dig up things about themselves through what they "see" but they never know more than him.

when we dream, we never see new faces. Same goes for schizophrenia. Ryan needed a face to plop onto Wilfred and Bruce and all of them, so he used the people who played Mattomon and the trickster god.

Crazy show. If I were Ryan I would probably still kill myself. His father is dead, he lost the love of his life, he works at a job he hated most of his life, his original girlfriend doesn't want anything to do with him.
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not true. Purple elephant with leg chewed off in clone scene, for one. That question was answered when Ryan tried to resolve if it was all in his head. If it is his subconscious it is also psychic.
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He wasn't actually talking to his dad..that also was in his head. The whole explanation his dad gave him was actually from his mind to smooth things over.
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I mean this isn't Dexter; Ryan wasn't traumatized as a little boy like Dexter was. And even Dexter was like 3 years old when he watched his mom get murdered, Ryan was an infant. He couldn't have held on to complex memories from that early on.
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You can't believe anything you see..did his mom actually arrive to tell him this story about is other dad...whom he then found out in the boondocks the same day? She heard he was blue so she came over? Doubtful. His mother "explaining" the cult and being a special baby...doubtful. He's mind was just looking for reasons.....
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Well if the convo with his real dad was all in his head then he had no reason to rethink Wilfred being Mataman. I feel like smoothing things over in his mind would be to leave it at believing Wilfred is Mataman.

If the convo with his dad was in his head then you have to think almost any given moment in the series could have been in his head.. and in that case the entire show is purely a chaotic ride in a madman's mind.
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Yes, and if that IS the case then it is similar to the talking baby in Family Guy which Zuckerman is also a part of... It doesn't all really make sense. Who hears the baby? Does it time travel with Brian? The show is sort of cartoonish but American audience wanted closure for a story that is presented in a linear fashion like Wilfred's is.
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I agree with Bryan. His dad explained that the guy in wilfred suit was the guy who played Mataman in the re enactments in the cult and Bruce was the guy who re enacted Krungle.
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I think its perfectly reasonable to think that he had some repressed memories of living as a baby while his family was with the cult. That would explain why he saw Wilfred,"Mataman", as the guy who dressed up in the dog suit and pretended to be Mataman in the photo album. He envisioned wilfred to look like that because that is how he saw him when he was a child.
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I liked the finale and thought it was quite sweet and very realistic and representative of human relationships with dogs. In the end to me, the point was simple: Dogs are our best friends and we love them, often projecting upon them a persona that resonates with us, dogs very sadly die, and they live on in our memories as a forever friend and guiding force. They help us through hard times and are there when we need them. The mythology story was a distraction that seemed intended to introduce Ryan's real dad, who like his mom had conversations with animals. Meeting his dad and learning that the dogs no longer answer was the final piece Ryan needed to know that Wilfred was not real. Ryan still made a conscious decision to keep Wilfred's memory around though as it does bring happiness. He can think of Wilfred and smile, and as anybody who has lost a beloved dog can attest to that is indeed Happiness.
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he beat the shit out of a dog, kept it in a 2x6 closet smoking pot for hours till it got lung cancer and died, chained it up and tortured it. Im pretty sure the story wasnt about mans best friend. the guy was insane.
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In one of the recent episodes there is a diagram on the board which has a picture of Adam from the Australian show with a red cross over his face and Ryans picture above it. So When Wilfred said he moved from person to person I thought this tied in nicely. I also thought it may have led to another series :o)

The last conversation shows that Wilfred can access parts of Ryan's memories that are repressed and forgotten. This explains why he uses the likenesses for Wilfred and Bruce that he did and also explains how Wilfred could lead him to the barn as these were all early childhood memories.

Wilfy420 who said that when Ryan looked in the closet he saw the beach, might have been dead on. Although I suspect he saw the closet and just laughed realising the basement was a figment of his imagination and as such the basement could be anywhere he wanted it to be. So he decided to go to the beach. The couch from the basement and the couch they were sitting on at the end was the same one

I liked the ending. Its a far cry from a traditional happy ending but Ryan certainly went on a journey and it ended in a happy place for him.

I liked the Australian show a lot. I think it is worth seeing but as mentioned by others it is more of a comedy and no mystery/answers/clues.

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Wilfred UK :o
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I'm really surprised by the varying opinions on what Ryan saw behind the basement/closet door. I thought it was crystal clear. They showed us what he saw right after he saw it. The couch on the beach.

Wilfred told Ryan the basement was whatever he wanted it to be. It was the place he went, inside his head, to get away from the rest of the world and deal with things. The symbolism behind going from the basement to the beach is obvious.

He either saw the basement, the closet, or the beach. It wasn't the basement, considering he didn't look down. If it was the closet, I'm not sure he would've smiled, plus hat doesn't explain how they ended up on the beach. And, again, they went right to the beach scene after he looked in the closet. That's a common way for television shows or movies to show us what a character is seeing.

i really enjoyed the finale. It didn't turn supernatural with Wilfred actually being a god, which I would've loathed. I've thought it was pretty clear since season one that Wilfred was in his head, like in Fight Club. I'm glad they went with the most logical explanation. And they didn't give us a super cheesy, happily-ever-after ending with him cured of his mental illness and marrying the girl of his dreams. That's what I thought would happen, and I wouldn't have minded it I suppose, but I think the ending we got was better and more realistic. Ryan isn't cured, Wilfred's not gone, but he's learned how to manage him. Which, I think, means he's finally found happiness.
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I agree..I never for a minute felt that Wilfred was anything other than part real dog/ part imagination. The other people around him showed evidence of the real dog, but when he was alone..all bets were off what was really going on. Never believe anything that you see. Just know that Wilfred was there to be his conscious and his best friend. I would love to think that he will eventually get another dog.
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I only watched a few episodes of Season one and stopped.

The only reason I watched because they keep talking about a "talking dog" show on my favorite comedy "Episodes". They got me curious.

Sorry but my interest wane off after I watched a little of season one.
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I too only watched a few early episodes. But after my friend urged me to give it another chance, I watched a marathon of seasons 1 & 2, and found it to be very VERY funny; it even has some of the most hilarious "moments" on tv!!
The finale makes sense if you've seen a few key episodes sprinkled throughout the series (one of the season finales was basically the same as the series finale w/o the on-the-nose reveals other than the "closet/basement").
I personally am GLAD i gave Wilford a second chance. The humor & character relationships made it well worth it!!
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"– We didn't get to see what was behind the basement/closet door. What do you think Ryan saw?"

I think it was pretty obvious that he saw the closet.
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I agree. Based on 1) Wilfred saying the basement is whatever Ryan wants it to be 2) the MUCH-less ambiguous season 1 finale when Ryan had a temporary break from his fantasy and saw all of reality (OTHER than Wilfred being actual dog) & saw that the basement door was only a closet
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Happy with the ending, sad that its over. This show was brilliant and the performances, from main cast to wonderful guest stars (Why couldn't it have been 'Amanda' throwing him the tennis ball at the end cause we liked her better than 'Jenna' anyway?) always superb. Great ending. I guess when you can get your story done in 4 and not just be hanging on for dear life like utter garbage... 'Modern Family', 'Parks and Rec', 'BBT', '2 and 1/2 Men' ... you did it your way and went out in the way you intended to and for that props to everyone involved especially the man with the suit, Jason Gann.
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not sure what to think about the whole finale. i'm still felling blue a few days later. seeing the real Wilfred in the vet's office was emotional to say the least. I have a feeling Ryan saw the back of the closet since he saw that in a previous episode. True, he could have imagined it was just a closet, but I think the basement represented something to him. any thoughts?
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I think when he saw the basement as a closet during the season 1 finale he was actually having a temporary break from his fantasy & saw the entire world as it truly was (other than Wilfred as only an actual dog). Of course, by the end of season 1/beginning of season 2 Ryan had barely scratched the surface on dealing with his mental issues so he very quickly reverted back to his fantasy
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I just had another thought about the basement...if Wilfred died of lung cancer, was Ryan's smoking the cause, and where did Ryan smoke? Was it in a basement, or where the basement represented? Did Ryan even smoke weed at all?
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I was pretty happy with the ending.
I never really thought that Wilfred was anything more than an imaginary best friend to Ryan. It seemed pretty obvious since the beginning and I believe Elijah Wood in an interview a few years ago said as much. So the mystery was never interesting to me.
I was never a fan of the trying to figure out who or what Wilfred was. I always thought that always bogged down the show. What made this show special was it was simply about a guy with his imaginary best friend, anything more was unnecessary.
Ryan was a loser. His parents and sister weren't good to him. He had no friends. He hated working. He did his best to portray being 'normal' when in reality he was just a depressed lonely guy. Wilfred is his imaginary best friend. A friend, like others mentioned, who was an alpha male. Wilfred was confident and not 'phoney'. He enjoyed smoking pot, fart jokes, and didn't need to hide his personality in front of others. He was what Ryan fantasized about being. Wilfred made Ryan honest and for the most part happy.
I'm glad Ryan didn't get the girl in the end. I wasn't looking for a traditional happy ending as that would take away from the brilliance of this series. Happiness for Ryan wasn't getting the pretty girl next door (even though he liked to think so).
I didn't think it was necessary for Ryan to realize that Wilfred was simply imaginary, but it was satisfying as a end point for the show. I like the idea that show was always about a depressed person trying to find happiness and meaning and that happiness wasn't to get the girl, or having his imaginary friend turn out to be magic, or even solving some great mystery. Happiness is little things like enjoying a walk on the beach, sharing a moment with a pretty girl, or smoking pot and laughing at fart jokes.
I like to think Ryan finally understands who he is and that he's happy now. He likes smoking pot, he likes staring at pretty girls, and he likes being alone and talking with his imaginary friend. And the best part is he is finally ok with that. It would be great to see Ryan 5 years from now without the strains of trying to have society accept him. I think we would see him happy.
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The whole notion that whether he actually died or not is proof that the show was successful, especially in the end, and will live on with that question unanswered -- ESPECIALLY because it's unanswered! Although there are strong arguments for him having successfully committed suicide, I fall more into the latter camp that he did not. This is mainly because later (after attempt and when Wilfred comes back) when with Wilfred (mentally, anyway) others address Ryan but not Wilfred. If he were dead and with Wilfred it would been easy enough for the neighbours or others to see Wilfred as well. But then, they could have added that little bit of doubt just to leave it more ambiguous.

On the other hand, what happens after the interrupted smoothie drink seems a whole lot like a dream -- on the beach with sis, happy. He opens a door and says, "Oh," chuckles to himself, and then is on a sofa on the beach with Wilfred as though it were the basement, and the tennis ball Wilfred 'didn't need anymore' just before dying washes up on shore after Wilfred says Ryan can now answer that by himself.

What did he see behind the door? My first reaction was that he saw his own body, having succeeded in suicide, but you never know, and we'll never know and more than what happened in LOST, or what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

I was pretty satisfied with the wrap-up. I miss the simple and hilarious episodes of the beginning, but all told the series as a whole was pretty great.
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I loved it...he's crazy, but happy to be that way.
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So as a baby he saw Richard (Wilfred) and Shane (Bruce) dress up as Mattdamon and Krungel respectively and that played into his seeing them.

It was actually Shane doing the blackmailing (explaining 'Bruce' looking old)

I think the basement exists as in Happiness when Ryan is replaying memories of Wilfred (when he is just a dog) I'm pretty sure one of those was in the basement.

What I want to know is what the tennis ball represents. Is that supposed to be his sanity or his happiness. I'm thinking the latter as when he picks it up at the end it would make sense that he is happy with his situation just by having answers.
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After re-watching that scene, I can confirm that the basement was not shown. You see Ryan desecrating his neighbor's boots, flipping off Wilfred in the kitchen, the toilet scene, and shocking himself in bed.
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There were moments throughout the series that I was thinking, "if Wilfred turns out to be all in Ryans's head but RYAN is physically DOING the things "Wilfred" is I sure hope they are concurrently filming a version of those big scenes as it ACTUALLY happened" (then again, the production probably wouldn't be able to keep the big mystery a secret that way)., or at the least, I wish they would've shown more "re-enactments" int his episode of a lot more of the key Ryan-doing-the-Wilfred-actions. To me, THAT short montage was one of the top 3 defining and most enlightening payoffs to the series. On the other (3rd?) hand, the Wilfred show being so ambiguous & leaving so much to the audiences imagination/interpretation, they probably never even considered doing more than what was included in that jewel of Wilfred-as-an-actual-dog montage.
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With the (far superior, imho) original, neither Adam (Ryan) nor Wilfred died, but then it was almost a completely different show - other than Wilfred being Jason Gann in a dog suit that only Adam could see... Oh, & bear - though it was only ever a stuffed toy.

It was far a more episodic show, with their relationship being very different & the overarching storyline was about a guy going back to his girlfriend's house for the first time &, with ups & downs, them being a couple... &, if I'm remembering correctly, all of the other animals were people in costumes that Wilfred, rather than Adam, would directly interact with as part of the various plots.

Then, whilst it didn't explain the why or how of it, the ending pretty much made it clear that Adam seeing Wilfred as Jason Gann in a dog suit wasn't down to Adam himself, but something else.
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I'm sorry but I don't think there is much room for interpretation or ambiguity.
In a way it's very similar to fight club, with Ryan playing the role of the narrator (Edward Norton's character) and Wilfred being his repressed alpha male alter ego (Tyler Durden).
Since we're told the story from the narrator's perspective and he is clearly not mentally sane, he's not the most reliable source, so we watch scenes where two characters do two separate actions, but in reality is just one person doing that one thing and their subconscious blocking that action as if it was a different person doing it. Wilfred's conversation with Ryan about the stolen/misplaced iPod clearly illustrates that: "That's not how I remember it" "well, that's how it happened".
I realize this may seem like an easy way out for the writers, but anything we saw which defied logic (e.g., Wilfred looking exactly like Richard, the guy who played Matamon) has to be written of as merely a figment or Ryan's imagination, or, at the very least, his own perception of reality. Basically, if something seems too weird to be true it's because it is, you simply cannot rely on the narrator.
I liked how it ended, that it didn't have a happy ending, per se, but Bryan embracing his craziness and continuing to hang out with his best bud).
One thing that's open to interpretation is whether a physical basement existed or not (i believe the latter), but that is inconsequential because we know that anything that happened there was merely in Bryan's mind, whether he was sitting in an actual basement or just unconscious elsewhere.
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Him knowing Richard's face was explained by the fact that as a baby he was used in the rituals with him, so it would have slipped into his subconscious. That's my interpretation.
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Did you just called Ryan, Bryan? Seriously?
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In his defense he did call him by the right name two times before that. It's still early in the morning. Probably haven't had his coffee yet.
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Yup, sorry...wrote this before going to sleep, I was a little tired.
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maybe I'm in the minority but I thought this was pretty dumb.. so Wilfred was just a normal dog and Ryan realized it and would rather be batshit crazy as long as he's happy? eh...
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Satisfying ending. Thank god, Wilfred didn't turn out to be some stupid God or something, that would be just ridicilous!)
And I'm glad that Ryan didn't end up together with Jenn, I'm glad he finally realised what a bitch she is.
Yeah, but actualli kind of depressing ending, Ryan ended up in the same dark place where he was at the beginning, only difference is that now he knows he is crazy.
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Yea I'm glad Ryan didn't end up with Jenn either. As crazy as Ryan is she was just as crazy. At least Ryan knew he was crazy.
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I suspected throughout season 3 that all Matamon/Krungle stuff was a red herring -- by shifting the focus onto the question of "Which kind of magical being is Wilfred, good or evil?", they were trying to distract us from the more obvious question: "Is Ryan crazy, or is Wilfred magical?".

As I expected, we find out that Ryan was hallucinating all his conversations with the Aussie-in-a-dog-costume version of Wilfred -- BUT, there are some things that can't be explained by that. How did imaginary-Wilfred lead Ryan to the home of his biological father? Why did Ryan's hallucination of Wilfred look and behave like Richard, the guy from the Flock of the Grey Shepherd who always played Matamon in their rituals? Ryan had no way of knowing anything about him until he spoke to his biological father. He was an infant when his mother took him away from the Flock, so he wouldn't remember Richard directly. Perhaps Jason Gann's character was actually Richard's ghost? It's left a bit open to interpretation.

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The way I saw it was when Ryan was born he saw Richard and granted he was a baby, I cant remember if they said when he left but maybe he locked it in his subconscious
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They said they were there for 3 years. So I'm guessing Ryan was 2 when they left. So it's quite plausible that he was old enough to lock that away in his subconscious.
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Guys the Australian show is a completely different beast, it's interesting but the story is nothing at all like the US version, so don't think it'll give you any more 'answers' about Ryan or anything.
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someone noted not here on this site or in the article that what ryan was saying at the start of episode resistance that it echoed how robin williams potentially felt that happiness is not a sustainable feeling as ryan said that speech i couldnt help but nod my help only because i can relate and for me i think thats why wilfred hit home with me i feel weird and fidgety and i havent stopped thinking about the show and its end there are so many open interpretations

i personally think while wilfred wasnt a god he was more than a dog ryan never actually saw this richard and whatever bruces name was as a kid he was far too young then past episodes even as crazy as ryan is supposed to be how did some of the things that happened even happen like when wilfred ran infront of the car to get jenna off the loose for her pot incident at work i mean did ryan actually throw wilfred the dog infront of the car?

the originals end never indicated anything godly but IMO the end to me made it seem like he was supernatural just because when the character gets arrested and wilfred owner gets a new boyfriend that guy can see him too

if ryan was really crazy and everything could we also say its his fault wilfred died of lung cancer?

i just feel like wilfred was at minimum a above average intelligent dog because what about the episode where wilfred skyped ryan while jenna and drew were having sex? in a craze did ryan plant a camera then use a remote to call his computer? wtf?

the last 2 episodes in a way ruined the series for me i often watch wilfred still specially season 1 but its ruined now knowing wilfred is just a normal dog makes everything idk i just feel weird the end left me with a weird feeling my brain itches and it feels really ansy
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Hard to believe RW is gone. His guest appearance on Wilfred was so damn good.

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To me it can be open to interpretation. Part of me thinks wilfred really is a god. See when Wilfred realized that Jenna wasn't going to stay with Ryan he realized the only way to bring Ryan happiness was to remain with him. That's why he came back after Jenna left. The contigency plan was to remain Ryan's friend. To me it was actually quite touching.

I say this in part because it seems as though Ryan's mom had sort of hinted of someone from her past who brought her happiness but ultimately left. This was wilfred. For Ryan, Wilfred made a special exception and stayed with him. Their friendship had sort of transcended the mythology.
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I believe Ryan's mom was talking about her cat which she saw as a person also.
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I'm glad that Ryan can still "have" Wilfred to help him manage his life. However, that said, even when he was with Wilfred, he was still always looking for something more. It's great Wilfred can possibly help him meet new people and do things with his life he normally couldn't without his friend, but it's disappointing imagining his madness keeping him from making real world connections indefinitely.

I was hoping that him actually finding some semblance of joy with Jenna could help him to find strength in himself and not need to retreat to Wilfred. If that would have worked, maybe he wouldn't have needed Wilfred? Maybe he would have found the confidence he needs. I'm glad he could find some comfort for right now, but it seems to be at the detriment of his long term.

The Australian series never tried to address what/who Wilfred was. Adam, the lead/Ryan, never questioned it. He definitely didn't get a warm, fuzzy beach date at the end.
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I agree with you, I was hoping even after Jenna left he'd take the confidence he found with Wilfred and find happiness on his own.
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I'm glad Jen, who beat me for a few minutes in posting her review, came to the same conclusion I did: Ryan is alive and embraced his craziness. But I did fail to consider the possibility that he was dead. My ind simply didn't go there.

However, the most important thing I want to say is that it's much harder to write a good review than I had anticipated. And when observing things like paragraphs, sentences and pictures to post, we may lose sense of the big picture. So, from now on I'll be more tolerant with you guys professional review writers!

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Personally I liked the ending. Ultimately this was a show about Wilfred leading Ryan to happiness. And in one form or another he did.

I believe the message of Wilfred follows the mantra, "to be happy you must find it in yourself". Ryan accepted who he was, what he had and learnt, in a way, to control and use his madness. He found his own sense of happiness and it wasn't because of a dog or some girl next door. His sister the same, she was finally happy when she accepted the place she was in and the job she now had.

Jenna couldn't accept herself and her loneliness, she always looked for someone to make her happy and so, (in my eyes anyway) didn't leave the show happy.

- If I'm going to on a sidetrack that annoyed me. After everything to see Jenna fall back for her ex is just disappointing, she didn't change at all. Even if it makes sense in the end.

My point is, especially in the wake of RW, no one, not a pet, a girl, a family, a God or death can make you happy. Only you can. And I say that knowing all too well how easy it can feel sometimes to just take something and say goodbye. Ultimately I thought this was a great, if uncomfortable ending.
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Based on his reaction, Ryan most likely saw the back of his closet when he opened that door. If it had been stairs, Ryan would have been more intrigued. Or, maybe he did see the non-existant basement and he was happy that his mental illness was alive and "well" so that Wilfred would always be there for him.
I think that the praising of Ryan as the chosen one and all the weirdness that was going on around him as a baby was the partial cause of the creation of his mental illness, along with his genetics.
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I didn't see more than a few episodes of the Australian original but I've read what happened at its end and it sounded much, much darker than this version's end, with nothing resembling a "happy" outcome for the protagonist.

This was always such a strange series. I was never entirely sure how I felt about it. I neither loved nor hated it, was occasionally amused by it and often disturbed by it. Nevertheless, I wasn't haunted by its ending or left scratching my head in befuddlement, and that's probably as much as I could/should have hoped for.

That'll do, dog, that'll do.

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The Australian version was a lo more dark over all. It didn't examine (or perhaps didn't have the time) to really examine the Aussie-Ryan like the US version. Without going into spoilers the Aussie-Ryan certainly didn't end "happy"
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Oh, and I have not seen the original Australian version, but I think it's on Hulu or something. I plan to watch it soon.

Also, no, I did not think that Ryan was dead.
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I felt so strange, and I was a bit disappointed that it didn't have some cool supernatural explanation, that in the end he was just sort of crazy. I really wanted Wilfred to be a god and not just dog. I was also pretty mixed with his decision to simply embrace his crazy. But in some ways you could conclude that he was led to a sort of happiness. Because it was all in his head, Wilfred, while a figment of his imagination, did bring him a certain level of happiness.

It was still a bit sad, bittersweet, I suppose, that it wasn't real, he didn't get the girl. That really pissed me off. She went back to that idiotic neanderthal guy. Whatever! She's so going to regret that one day, but I digress.

And WTF was behind the door?! OMG I wanted to see. But I'm thinking that maybe it was just a closet or something. So bizarre. I felt that the next to last episode set us up for so much more in the way of revelations, then it just ends with nope, no real happiness, it's all just in your head. Or maybe that's the moral of the story: happiness is in all of our heads really. Ugh! So much weirdness!

I feel like my answers, much like the series finale, are also ambiguous.
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I won't be able to watch the finale until Monday. I need to know the answers. I NEED YI KNOW HOW IT ALL ENDS!
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That is pathetic.
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