Wilfred

It’s about seven episodes in and I’m loving this show. It’s an Aussie transplant, co-produced by its star, Jason Gann, and starring Elijah Wood. Mary Steenburgen, Peter Stormare, George Coe and several other actors who have a nose for the offbeat have guest-starred.

The premise of the series is: after Ryan (Elijah) attempts suicide, he begins to see his neighbor’s dog as a guy in a dog suit (Jason). Everyone else (except for Bruce as we saw this week) still thinks Wilfred is a dog. Jason Gann has a silky, sly voice and a silky, sly attitude. His mission appears to be to lead Ryan further into the outer reaches of human relationships. Ryan is a bit of a nebbish (a Stanford Law grad, who has either quit or lost his job) and hangs around the house, when he isn’t fighting with his overbearing sister.

Wilfred is Ryan’s id running wild. He encourages him to shit in someone’s boots, assert his dominance in social situations, and pursue women in questionable ways. He discusses sensitive matters in an aggressively offhand manner and is rewarded by Ryan’s even more protuberant eyes, filled with alarm.

The last episode (titled ‘Doubt’ and guest-starring Dwight Yoakum, written by Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne) featured this charming exchange: the scene is set on a yoga class on the beach, and women doing the ‘upside-down dog’.

Wilfred (downwind of a young woman): “a whimsical light-bodied bouquet, crisp with a hint of peach and a little green rotten-egg finish.”

and: “leathery, with subtle tones of menstruation, when this opens up it’s going to be beautiful”

Another episode went with Wilfred being a companion dog at a nursing home. The staff is convinced that he knows when someone is dying. In Ryan’s mind, Wilfred holds a pillow over an old woman’s face.

It’s well worth a look. I hope it’s renewed.

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