Wilfred: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
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You'll sit up and beg for more of Wilfred, the most hilarious and daringly original new comedy on TV. Elijah Wood stars as Ryan, a down-on-his-luck lawyer who forms a unique friendship with his sexy neighbor's pet pooch "Wilfred." Everyone else sees a dog, but Ryan sees a bong-ripping, beer-chugging, foul-mouthed Australian bloke in a furry suit (played by the outrageously funny Jason Gann.) By unleashing the surly, sweet and always adventurous Wilfred, Ryan may just learn to stand on his own hind legs and embrace the insanity of real life.
Is there a greater love than that between a boy and his dog? Or, in this case, a depressed and lonely man-boy named Ryan (Elijah Wood) and a tall, surly Australian in a not-very-realistic dog suit--Wilfred (Jason Gann)--who everyone else perceives as a normal dog? The morning after Ryan attempts suicide, his perky neighbor Jenna asks him to take care of her dog, who steps right into the role of Ryan's mentor/tormenter. Each episode of the FX sitcom Wilfred revolves around Wilfred teaching Ryan some Zen-like lesson about trust, loyalty, respect, and more--lessons that a dog seems ideally suited to teach, if Wilfred weren't a pot-smoking, manipulative beast. Wilfred's lad-mag comedy comes from Gann's rendition of the Machiavellian hound, who persuades Ryan that a doggie daycare attendant is molesting both him and a giant stuffed teddy bear; that Ryan should woo Jenna by competing with Jenna's alpha-male boyfriend; or that he should get into a fight with a rage-driven biker to prove dominance. Some episodes push at the ambiguous boundaries around Wilfred's identity, such as when a mystery man (Dwight Yoakam) informs Ryan that he too sees the man in a dog suit. But while Wilfred drives the plots, the show's impact depends on Wood; with his vulnerable blue eyes and elfin features, Wood gives this ridiculous premise some genuine heart. In most buddy comedies, one of the friends is metaphorically a dog; Wilfred's literal interpretation turns the series into a surrealist bromance. --Bret Fetzer