Wilfred, "Isolation": the two Wilfreds

Quick Take: Wilfred, "Isolation"
"It's nice to a part of the community." - Ryan 

Review: Wilfred, "Isolation"
(S0110) Wilfred aired two new episodes Thursday night: "Compassion" and "Isolation". Of the two, I would probably say that "Isolation" was "technically" a "better" episode, but I actually found it much more difficult to watch.

Allow me to explain: The character Wilfred (Jason Gann) seems to have two distinct personalities that serve two separate purposes. In certain situations, Wilfred acts as Ryan's (Elijah Wood) id, forcing him out of his shell and driving him to expand his personality. This version of Wilfred is basically harmless and most of the time he is actually a positive influence on Ryan. This is the Wilfred that saved Ryan from crippling, suicidal depression. The other Wilfred is more sinister. This Wilfred seems to have no interest in helping Ryan in any way (although he may claim to have an altruistic motive). The other Wilfred actively works against Ryan and seems bent on his destruction. This latter Wilfred is the one on display in "Isolation" and I often have a hard time watching him in action.

The reason why I have such a hard time watching Wilfred terrorize Ryan is because Ryan is such an easy target. It's like watching a seventh grade bully pound on a scrawny fourth grader. I get no pleasure in that, I want a fair fight. The problem is without the "Wilfred as Id" character around, Ryan has virtually no agency, no control over his life. He just floats along waiting for "evil Wilfred" to do something even more horrible to him.

Sure, Ryan stands up for himself every now and then, but never seriously, never in a way that would stop anyone from walking all over him. And yet, Ryan continues to allow Wilfred to remain in his life despite the terrible, dangerous things he does. During episodes like last night's "Isolation" I find myself wanting to scream at my T.V., "Just get the hell away from him, Ryan! Why in God's name are you still hanging out with this monster?" It's a similar feeling to the one evoked by the movie Bully. Bully is an extremely disturbing movie - one that I squint and squirm my way through, yet have seen at least three times - in which Brad Renfro's character continues to remain friends with Nick Stahl's character despite the the fact that Stahl constantly kicks his ass, brutally rapes his girlfriend, and forces him to engage in homosexual sex acts for money.

Wilfred begins last night's episode as "Wilfred as Id," trying to convince Ryan to stop being such a loner and attend his neighborhood's annual block party. "This isolation is becoming a problem, people are starting to think you're weird. Like, 'It puts the lotion in the basket' weird," Wilfred says. Quickly, this good-natured ribbing and well-intentioned nagging turns ugly and "Wilfred as Id" transforms into "Evil Wilfred". Wilfred breaks into a bunch of cars, destroys property and steals thousands of dollars worth of goods from Ryan's neighbors. Then he frames Ryan. When Ryan's innocence is proven, he frames a little kid. When Ryan's guilt forces him to take the wrap for Wilfred's crimes, Wilfred frames (and possibly kills) a homeless man.

Wilfred is a pretty sick puppy. Literally. And yet, by the end of the episode all is forgiven and Ryan and Wilfred are back in the basement doing bong rips and smelling each other's farts. It's mind boggling. What is it going to take for Ryan to part ways with his (imaginary?) best friend?

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: Saturday, August 20, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

Love the ongoing examination of who and what Wilfred is Lucas !

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