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WILFRED REVIEW - EPISODE 3 "FEAR" (2011)
"Fear" is the title of the third episode I had the privilege of viewing, and I found it to be a mixture of the first two episodes. Bawdy humor with a touch of sentiment tossed in.
It begins with Ryan freaking out over his bully for a neighbor, Spencer. The jerk with the motorcycle. The former owner of mind numbing potted plants and current owner of boots that smell really bad. In the hilarious debut, Wilfred set up Ryan by placing his wallet at the scene of the crime. Now Spencer knows who to look for thus putting Ryan in a situation he fears be in. Getting his ass kicked and he'll do anything to avoid that happening.
Ryan doesn't want a physical confrontation so he deceivingly reconciles with Spencer. Now that all is seemingly a misunderstanding thanks to Ryan's lying, Spencer infiltrates Ryan's safe space like that annoying fly that keeps buzzing your head. Only this is a 250 pound fly. Wilfred is peeved that his buddy won't stand up to the big dolt so he puts Ryan into amusing predicaments and incites him to confront Spencer and stop avoiding his problems.
After three episodes, the writing hasn't lost any of its punch and the acting is still strong as we see the two principle players bonding more as good friends tend to do over time. The oafish neighbor is the kind you try to avoid and played with intimidating conviction by Ethan Suplee. More characters are introduced in "Fear," and from how things progress, we'll see more of them in coming episodes. What really comes to light here is the editing. There's a mind tripping deja vu sequence and one segment in particular during the final confrontation is cut with such slapstick precision, I found myself replaying it over and over.
Again, the sight and physical gags are positively hilarious. I didn't catch one on my first viewing because it's so subtly and cleverly mixed in with the dialog. On my repeat viewing, it was seconds before the joke took place that I realized what was going on and started laughing before the punchline. Some may find it offensive, but we're talking Wilfred here.
What I'm seeing, and loving in these shows is that as Ryan begins to understand a thing or two, he always glances to Wilfred as if to say "I'm going to deal with this matter." It's that last minute vote of confidence before he gains his courage and there's Wilfred by his side to make sure he does it right. In this episode, that leads to an ending that gives Ryan an advantage. But leave it to Wilfred to sabotage what Ryan has accomplished and puts him on another rocky path he'll be forced to take for he still has a long way to go.
Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam talk to and interact with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck and we accept that they do. Sure they're cartoon characters but they defy all forms of rational thinking, yet we're amused that a fall from a 300 foot cliff will only bring a temporary sting. We chuckle at their antics and continue to watch.
I feel I can safely add Ryan and Wilfred with these characters. A human associating with an animal and as usual, it's the animal putting the human into all sorts of mischief and we continue to watch. Why? Because it's damn funny.
After much anticipation, it's been great to see how well Wilfred has been received by audiences. And glowing reviews of the show along with the entire cast, the excellent writing and my personal favorites, the editing and sound have been a welcome sight. Guesstimating the number of reviews from various online sites, critics and magazines, I must say the show has received an 80% thumbs up from the lot.
I as I said in my pilot review, this show won't be for everyone. It's raunchy, crude, and offensive. But I don't believe I've come across a show that can mix with those less than admirable qualities with honesty, cleverness and compassion and still manages to be funny. A tweet I came across the other day stated, "Dear @FXNetworks: please renew WILFRED for forever. Thanks."
I hope they're listening.