It’s hard to decide whether Wilfred is a good show. For one thing, personal taste and humor are going to play big roles here. For another, it’s weird and a little all-over-the-place. But after three episodes, we are going to take a whack at it.
Wilfred is about a depressed young man, Ryan, who sees a dog that lives next door as a talking, walking man in a dog suit. It’s kind of like his dog version of Tyler Durden. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it takes a little getting used to. Once you do though, the concept is not this show’s problem. It kind of works. It worked well in Australia. The man in charge of this remake? Family Guy veteran David Zuckerman.
The Family Guy influence shows. First of all, there is a talking dog who is wiser than the humans on the show (even if this one is much less refined than Brian). Secondly, and most importantly, the humor is right on par with Family Guy. Snarky and elitist, yet low and gross. Sometimes, when potty humor is done cleverly, it can be really funny. The raunchiness on Wilfred works about a third of the time. But it’s overdone, and you start to see that without poop, the anus, penises, sodomy, marijuana, and boobs, the show wouldn’t have much to work with. We’re not offended (we watch South Park), but we aren’t impressed or that amused.
We do enjoy the reference to “rooting.” Suck on that, everyone who said that wasn’t an Australian term for sex. Yeah, some people thought we were making that up. The dog is played by an Australian man and Ryan is played by Elijah Wood. As individual performers here, they are great. But they have almost no chemistry. Those two guys need to hang out more onset or something. Or double date with Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. Fassavoy. Even the names have chemistry. But the chemistry on Wilfred? You almost want them to not hang out with each other.
We enjoyed the dog’s devotion to his master, the quotes at the beginning of the episode, the mean sister’s mouth, the man in the dog suit humping a stuffed bear, pretty much anything that happens in the credits, and the way the show is trying to do something different. Plus, summer comedy options are slim and this isn't a show that you have to watch every episode of. You can jump in and out as you please, depending on how bored you are and when it's on.
But overall, the show was draining because it felt pretty cold. It was like hanging out with some middle school boys who keep making dirty cracks to feel cool, but it feels fake and awkward on them, like they are trying too hard. The show lacks wit. There is lots of depth in the plot, but the humor, which is what matters in a comedy, is as shallow and simple as a puddle of dog piss. Family Guy fans should love it.
Show Grade while trying to be objective: B-
Show Grade based on this blogger’s taste: C-
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