From the network that brought you such diverse and widely-acclaimed shows as Prison Break, House, and Glee comes the quirky, off-beat show Wilfred. The original show is an Australian series, but this is an American remake a la Fox. Jason Gann, the creator and star of Wilfred, has brought his slightly dark comedy to audiences here in the U.S.
It’s a very bizarre show, in which a jobless, hopeless, love-struck and suicidal man, Ryan (Elijah Wood), sees his neighbor’s dog, Wilfred, as an Australian man in a scruffy dog suit. The dog is terribly crude, with a foul mouth and a penchant for inappropriate behavior, while Ryan is uncomfortably straight-laced and confused, and has a school-boy crush on his next-door neighbor, Jenna (Fiona Gubelman).
Ryan lives his life according to what other people want for him. His father wanted him to be an attorney, so he was miserable being an attorney. His sister wanted him to work at the hospital she works at, so he signed up for a job there, only to not show up for the first day of work. All in one episode, Ryan attempts suicide after (comically?) perfecting his fourth draft for a suicide note, skips work, smokes marijuana, breaks into and vandalizes a neighbor’s home and steals two
marijuana plants. He even gets the nerve to tell his sister off.
All these changes occur because of Wilfred, a dog that Ryan sees and hears to be a man. And that’s completely crazy because Wilfred is a dog, but even we, the viewers, see him as a man. That’s just what makes this show so hilariously, albeit bizarrely, entertaining. It’s so ridiculous to see a man in a dog suit, acting like a man/dog.
It can’t be said that Elijah Wood will be the star of this show, even if he is more well-known than Jason Gann to Fox’s viewers. Jason Gann is clearly the star, with his bad-boy antics and rough-around-the-edges appeal. Even more so, his character provides surprising words of wisdom to Elijah’s character, allowing him to develop from the boy he is into the man he will be. At least, that’s what it seems like he’s doing.
On top of everything, the fact that Elijah Wood plays such a strange and submissive character on such an unusual show is intriguing. He’s inextricably tied to the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, so it’s familiar to see him as Frodo. This show may be just what he needs to change his image. It will certainly be quite an interesting thing to see him in a new light.
The only negatives for the show are that some viewers may find the premise too far-fetched, and may not be drawn into the show as a result. The premise is quite new for American viewers unfamiliar with the Australian original. And although the show was a huge success in Australia, with even the government supporting it, it may not be as much of a success due to the difference between the two audiences. However, it is imaginative and enjoyable, so it would be a shame for viewers to skip out on this odd gem.
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