21st Jun2013

Season Premiere Review: Wilfred 3×01 – “Uncertainty”

by Nathan Smith

Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Fiona Gubelmann | Created by Jason Gann, Adam Zwar

wilfred_1

The mythology base of “Wilfred” is something that set it apart from any other comedy on FX, or on television for the most part. It’s a deep mythology that slowly started to crop up as the first season started to end and rolled straight into the second season. It’s a smart move that they’ve not given too much of the game away but give the viewer just enough morsels to keep you invested, and giving even more pathos and emotion to a show that could’ve stay within the realm of lazy scatological humor and pot jokes. Not that it doesn’t regardless, but where the juvenile humor is only a cursory element in an overall strong comedy. It’s a show you can mostly jump into but may leave new viewers scratching their heads, and most of the regular viewers as well.

The new season sees a sea change of sorts with original showrunner David Zuckerman handing the reins of to his ace writers Eli Jorme and Reed Agnew (and they script the premiere here), who’ve written the majority of episodes in the U.S version thus far. There have been a lot of showrunner changes most recently, but the character beats and jokes with ease and fluidity. And the change couldn’t be easy because there’s so much involved in the overall mythology of the show that the balance sets it apart beside the comedy element of the show and fortunately the balance doesn’t falter fortunately.

The events of ‘Uncertainty’ pick up quickly where the season two finale left off, with Ryan questioning who ‘Wilfred’ is even more now after seeing the dog in a drawing he made when he was a youngster.  There is some dealings with this cliffhanger and digs pretty deep into whatever implications this may stem from. It toys with the idea that Wilfred is either a figment of Ryan’s imagination or some magical figure that’s existed for a very long time, without toying with the audience and without talking down to the audience. Of course, these are both tossed out the window very quickly because they would be too easy an answer for the mythology that U.S series adapter David Zuckerman has set up for the characters. And wisely so, because while the strand of Ryan and his obsession over the drawing could lead to a whole episode of timelines and mystery in its own self. Again, much deeper than the average stoner comedy. Still, it is funny to see Ryan with his crazy board of theories and Wilfred with his own board of crazy theories (tossing in a brief visual gag recurrence of Wilfred’s hatred of Ben Affleck), and Wilfred to feign immortality by drinking a martini made out of anti-freeze, which is another recurring gag (at least in this episode), but one that doesn’t land as well as say Wilfred’s constant abuse of Bear which is always funny.

The plotline with Wilfred meeting his clone, Stinky is funny for the most part if only because Wilfred will always be funny when he’s a petulant monster and the way that they make both Wilfred and Stinky alike and separate is pretty funny. And the little elements that they throw in regarding the dog behavior (Stinky and Wilfred’s anger towards the cuckoo clock, the poop hanging down behind Stinky, and licking clean windows to smear them) shows that the writers weirdly understand dog quirks to a tee. Plus, it’s worth it just to see Wilfred dressed up like a superhero in his creepy photoshoot with Stinky’s caretaker. The plotline sadly ends before anything can really come about, and really ends just as it gains momentum. But, they still leave more threads hanging in the last shot of showing Wilfred burying the incriminating evidence of the drawing after he supposedly burned it and that last little sting leaves you wanting more. Like why Ryan sees a cloned dog as a whole new personality and so forth.

Overall, it’s a great premiere but certainly not as wild as most premieres for the show, and one that doesn’t quickly dismiss the strands as easily as they did last season. That’s a great relief.

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