Quick Take: Wilfred, "Anger"
"Anger is like herpes, you're not meant to keep it to yourself." - Wilfred
Review: Wilfred, "Anger"
(S0108) Just about every week my Wilfred reviews turn into discussions about genre and experimentation. I didn't plan for this platform to become an ongoing analysis of this particular aspect of the show -- there are certainly many other aspects worthy of discussion -- it's just that I continue to be surprised and impressed by Wilfred's willingness to take each episode to new and unexpected places. Louie, the show immediately following Wilfred on FX's programming line-up, has all of the critics fawning over it (deservedly so) for being so innovative, but I think Wilfred deserves some credit for eschewing convention as well.
Most of Wilfred's experiments in genre-bending take place within the realm of comedy. But "Anger" goes in a different direction entirely, trying the horror genre on for size. This certainly makes sense, as many horror movies double as comedies and include sizable doses of humor to provide a bit of levity and comic relief. By no means is Wilfred breaking any new ground here, there have been plenty of "horror comedies" in the past, but most (if not all) have been movies. It was interesting to see this translated to the small screen.
"Anger" provides us with a clue about why Ryan (Elijah Wood) has become so attached to his furry, foul-mouthed companion. As a child, he had a Jack Russell named Sneakers. Tragically, Sneakers escaped his designated "safe zone" and drowned in the family's backyard pool. Everyone blamed Ryan because they assumed he left the gate open and he has been haunted by guilt ever since.
Wilfred (Jason Gann) discovers Sneakers' collar, which Ryan has been holding on to all these years, in the basement and puts it around his neck. Suddenly something strange happens: his behavior changes (he starts sleeping in Ryan's bed, licking his ears), he starts talking in a strange, high-pitch voice. It's actually really freakin' spooky at times.
Wilfred claims he's possessed by the spirit of Sneakers and initially Ryan assumes it's just Wilfred being his normal a-hole self. Then strange coincidences begin to happen that make Ryan wonder if Sneakers really is reaching out to him from beyond the grave. Through Wilfred, Sneakers says that it wasn't Ryan's fault he drowned, it was actually Kristen's (Dorian Brown). She was the one that left the gate open and Sneakers wants revenge. Specifically, he wants to "punch her tits off."
As the episode progresses, things get crazier. Wilfred/Sneakers terrorizes a garden party Kristen is throwing for her boss. At one point he literally attempts to murder her by throwing her in a pool and tossing a bundle of electrical lighting in after her. All the while, he's trying to convince Ryan to stand up to his sister, to stop taking all the guilt and blame and let her have it, once and for all.
Of course, Ryan finally does sack-up and go off on Kristen, who promptly breaks down and admits to being responsible for Sneakers' death. She offers to let him off the hook for the loan she gave him to pay for Beth's car repairs if he will agree to forgive her. Ryan is a softy at heart, so of course he agrees. The fact that he's broke certainly makes the decision to forgive her a little easier as well.
Lingering thoughts on "Anger":