Friday, August 19, 2011

Wilfred's Wacky Wonderful World, by Jersey Campbell

"Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination."- Mark Twain

First things first (that's the order things usually go in right? First is first. Second comes next. Then third. OK OK OK, I'm done), I'm no television critic, or a film critic or a music critic. But gosh darn it I know brilliance when I see it, especially if my eyes are as red as the devil's dick and I'm eating bag of popcorn, Oreos, and marsh-mellow fluff all at the same time.

The first time I saw the preview I thought, "can this show really be any good?" It was so far out there that I had to check it out, if only to see it crash and burn, or be put to sleep (dog reference #1, if you catch them all you get a prize). If you've never heard of or seen this show, I'll explain the premise in a brief paragraph (brief as in "you might wet your briefs if you sit and read it in one go"):

Ryan (the main character) loses his job and decides to commit suicide one night by overdosing. This wasn't a spur of the moment suicide, it was planned out. He had to write two rough draft suicide notes before he settled on a final product. Anyhoo, Ryan miraculously wakes up the next morning to the sound of the doorbell- a sad and not-so-tragic failed suicide attempt. At the door is his gorgeous, blonde, "gal next door," neighbor- Jenna- who asks him if he can watch her dog. This is when we are introduced to one of the best and well-played characters I have seen in a tv or theatrical production, Wilfred. (I'm telling you, he ranks up there with Heath Ledger's Joker, Cartman, Dwight from "The Office," and the legendary Anchorman Ron Burgundy.)
Hold on, this is where the show gets a little loopy. To everybody else, Wilfred is an ordinary dog. He pees on fire hydrants, chases cars, and you can find him occasionally sexing his "bear". But to Ryan, Wilfred is a man with an Aussie accent in a dog suit who constantly gets Ryan into and out of trouble. Throughout the episodes, Wilfred ends up being the one who gets Ryan into predicaments he normally would avoid, and is always quick to offer Ryan manly advice (yes, the dog is giving the human lessons on how to be a man).

The brilliance of the show comes from the humanness of Wilfred and his always humorous interactions not just with Ryan, but other people. Imagine seeing a man in a dog suit actually acting as a dog would act. At first you're appalled when you see Wilfred tonguing down Ryan's hippie mother, but then you remember that he's a dog so its alright. The greatest comedic moments of the show come when Wilfred is hurling insults at people. If we were characters in the show it would simply be a dog barking, but if you ever wondered what a barking dog is trying to say, Wilfred can give you a glimpse of that world. That's the genius of it. Wilfred shows us that when a dog presents us with his poop, it's really a sign of affection. When we see a kid from Ryan's block perform "magic" by doing the pretend-to-throw-a-tennis-ball trick we get caught up in Wilfred's amazement and frustration with the "warlock."

The show's ridiculousness is precisely why it is so great. At the end of each episode we see Ryan and Wilfred enjoy a couple of bong hits together in Ryan's basement. That wasn't a typo. These scenes are a regular occurrence on FX's weekly program.

Within the outlandish premise of Wilfred, there is feeling of completeness when the 30 minutes of excellence is over. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but the relationship between Wilfred and Ryan is one that reveals the dirty/sleazeball side to all of us. Wilfred completes Ryan and honestly, who wouldn't want to befriend a talking dog with an Australian accent that only you can communicate with? He says all the things you wish you could say like, "SHUT-UP SHUT-UP SHUT-UP" to that dominating sister who can only hear, "WOOF WOOF WOOF."

Maybe Ryan is crazy. Maybe when he tried to kill himself that made him permanently high. Maybe Wilfred is Ryan's alter ego who he wishes he could be but instead chooses to live vicariously through. Who gives a shit? I want my own Wilfred.

ps. You can watch episodes of Wilfred here for free.

1 comment:

  1. Lol, nice one. I wish could get as high as Ryan is. You should more post on things like this.