Before an episode even came out, Wilfred had gotten a lot of buzz. It stars Elijah Wood! It has a wacky premise! Based on an Australian TV show, with the main actor returning as Wilfred! Indie cred! What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, they forgot one very important thing: it’s not very funny.
The premise has Elijah Wood has Ryan, a suicidal man who’s asked by his neighbor to look after her Wilfred, her dog, for the day. Only Ryan doesn’t see a dog. He sees Jason Gann in a dog suit, who curses, smokes weed, and still does what you’d expect a dog to do. Wacky hijinks ensue.
Or the show just kind of sits around dully. It’s hard to point out exactly where it goes wrong. The concept is different, but should provide a lot of humor. Elijah Wood and Jason Gann are both giving great performances here. Maybe the problem is that it’s just not good enough at any field it tries. The beginning of Ryan trying to commit suicide is some good dark comedy, but the rest of the show really isn’t that dark. They try some sexual and other crude gags, but it just doesn’t work. There’s a skill to getting crude humor just right that the show doesn’t find. Maybe it’s just an Australian sense of humor, or a style of humor I just don’t get. But it doesn’t work.
And it’s obvious that the show is going to tease us about the implications of what Ryan is experiencing here, how it came to be and such. But it still raises a lot of questions. How much of it is Ryan’s hallucinating? What do the other characters see as Ryan is talking to a dog? I don’t know. I don’t know what to think of the show as a whole. I feel like I watched something for 30 minutes, had a few small laughs, and then turned it off and agreed to myself that I could live my life never watching it again. Maybe it's just not my thing, maybe it's just bad. In the end, it sure was a show, I guess?