Friday, June 24, 2011

"Wilfred" - "Happiness" (Series Premiere)

Spoilers for the series premiere of "Wilfred" after the jump:

Whether or not you liked the series premiere of FX's "Wilfred" probably depends on if you find the idea of a depressed man conversing with a guy in a dog suit funny. This may sound obvious given the promos for the show, but it's worth repeating: mainly because pretty much all the jokes in this very funny opening episode stem from this premise.

Oh, there are a few Wilfred-less moments  here and there involving the miserable Ryan's hilariously inept attempts to kill himself, not to mention a couple of choice quotes from his sister ("I have to eat with these hands"). But just about all of the episode's other humorous moments are derived from the absurdity of the central concept, making me a little worried about the show's long-term potential once the novelty has worn off.

But in the meantime, there's plenty to praise here. The lead performances from Elijah Wood as Ryan and Jason Gann as Wilfred are funny and engaging, and give the show a solid buddy movie type of atmosphere that's just plain fun to watch. The dialogue is profane but hilarious (with the highlight being Wilfred's speech about eating dead possum). And for all my worries about the central idea getting less funny with time, it certainly works in this first installment: such as when Wilfred kisses Ryan on the lips in front of his blissfully unaware owner or chases a motorcycle screaming, "I'll kill you!".

I'm not saying that this is a masterwork of an episode. Some of the jokes are hilariously filthy, but other times the show's vulgarity feels a bit forced. That tag scene, for instance... not entirely sure what the point of that was. In addition, the characters still aren't all that developed: a pretty standard problem in most comedy pilots that will certainly be remedied with time. I'm definitely looking forward to learning more about them, and to seeing where this bizarre and funny show goes.

Grade: B+

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