Wilfred, "Acceptance": peanut buttery goodness

Quick Take: Wilfred, "Acceptance"
"My anal glands need to be expressed, it's my constitutional right." - Wilfred

acceptance

Review: Wilfred, "Acceptance"
(S0104) The first handful Wilfred episodes have been kind of like the experiments scientists do with fruit flies. In an extremely short period of time, only four episodes, we have been able to watch the show mutate and evolve, virtually in real-time. It's been really interesting to observe.

Basically every episode has tried out different tones, different styles, in an attempt to find its voice. After the pilot episode, everyone thought the show was some sort of high-concept black comedy. Ryan was mentally ill, possibly schizophrenic, certainly depressed/suicidal. The second episode followed much of the same course, although with a slight brightening of tone. In episode three, the transition to some breed of hybrid-sitcom was fully underway. By the time we reach last night's episode, "Acceptance", the metamorphosis to full-fledged, traditional (albeit raunchy) sitcom, complete with a cameo from sitcom veteran Ed Helms, is pretty much finished.  

Please don't me wrong, I don't mean to disparage Wilfred's experimentation and inconsistency. Quite the opposite, actually. I really like that the show is trying new things. I liked the first two episodes a lot, but I think I like the lighter, more gag-oriented show Wilfred has become in the past two weeks even more.

The main conflict in "Acceptance" involves a game of tug-of-war for Ryan's (Elijah Wood) loyalty. Ryan's sister Kristen (Dorian Brown) is going through a tough time and needs Ryan to take her to and from work. She is still riding him about quitting his job and hanging out with a dog all day. Meanwhile, Wilfred refuses to be left alone during the day, so Ryan is forced to take him to doggy daycare.

The guy who runs the kennel, Darrell (Ed Helms), may or may not be into bestiality. When Ryan picks Wilfred up, there is clearly something wrong with the dog. He's quiet, withdrawn. Eventually he breaks down and tells Ryan that the Helm's character forced him you lick peanut butter off of his genital region. Wilfred couldn't help himself, ya know, 'cuz dogs love peanut butter.

Ryan is skeptical, thinking that Wilfred might be making the whole thing up in order to control his human counterpart. Wilfred can't believe his friend would question his story. "It's like you're shoving his big, hairy peanut butter ball bags in my mouth all over again."

The next day, Ryan is hanging out with his sister again and he finally stands up for himself. "I don't need a mother, I just need a sister who can accept me as I am." She seems to be willing to try, and reluctantly agrees to let Ryan leave when Wilfred calls from the kennel. Wilfred says he's in trouble, that Darrell is in the process of apply the peanut butter again. Ryan rushes over and rescues his friend before he can be sexual abused once more (even though Ryan isn't completely convinced he was molested in the first place).

In the end, just like Kristen has to accept the fact that her brother will never be a lawyer again, Ryan has to accept that he needs to relinquish a portion of control over his life to Wilfred. That's a price he seems willing to pay to keep the dog around. It's probably worth it, given the fact that Wilfred seems to have single-handedly pulled Ryan from the brink of suicide.

By Lucas High

About the author

Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at lhigh2@gmail.com, on Facebook and on Twitter at twitter.com/LucasHigh.

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1 Comment
On: Friday, July 15, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

I sadly have several episodes to catch up on, but I'm glad to see Wilfred is finding its groove and am slightly relieved that it (at least not yet) isn't treading into darker territory. This makes me think about the fact that basic cable has been leading the trend of experimenting with dramedy with varying results. And I think about something I heard a long time ago, about dramas with in them versus comedies with a drama in them. I think a show knowing what it is and executing is a large factor in its success...

Or something. I may need a lot more coffee today ;-) 

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