"Guilt: The gift that keeps on giving." Emma Bombeck
Even though both Wilfred and I were in San Diego for Comic-Con last week (here's the "Live Blog"), FX aired a new episode of the comedy anyway. How dare they! After some slogging through my DVR, I was able to finally track down "Guilt" and catch up in preparation for this recap. "Guilt" was a wonderful episode that managed to re-introduce Kristen, the now pregnant and single sister played by Dorian Brown, as well as continue to develop the sparks between Ryan and Amanda. Wilfred was mainly just worried about and threatened by the arrival of the baby - a 'Cute Trojan Horse' - so he was busy trying his damnedest to perform a MacGyver-like abortion. I particularly liked the watermelon, the voodoo doll and the pink and blue garbage bags. It all sounds so innocent listed like that. "Now" what does Wilfred have in store for us?
"Be here now." Ram Dass
Instead of stop and smell the roses, the lesson of last night's Wilfred was stop or you'll step in some shit. Despite the fact that the show managed to turn its namesake's perfectly pinched 'Mona Lisa' into a nice metaphor for living in the moment, this is the first week that I felt the 'training' was heavy-handed. We see Ryan stumble into Wilfred's mess because he's too busy talking real estate on the phone instead of paying attention to his pup on their work-day walk. We also quickly learn how important the nose is to our canine friends and not just because it serves as a compass of sorts, keeping them from getting 'lost,' but also to help keep them in the now. I love the smell of dirty diapers, sour milk puddles and used tranny-ass condoms in the morning.
"Gimme five! Ten coming back! I think I just doubled your investment, wha-wha-what!"
The smells continue to the bathroom where Kevin is making big deals and, well, taking big shits. Ryan overhears (hopefully only) the former and conveniently now has something to do with all that extra money he was talking about investing. That is, unless he wants to live in the now and splurge on the $9000 doghouse that Wilfred has been eyeing. It's kind of like investing in real estate and this way Ryan will get to see his money go to good use during the little time he has left. Come on, no one bought that tumor bit. The writers manage to slip in another little ontological jab (last week Wilfred said that he'd tell Ryan if he was a otherworldly entity) but the scene with the gun felt oddly out of place. And a lot like the scene with Tyler Durden and Raymond K. Hessel, the guy who wanted to be a veterinarian, in Fight Club. How Sartre!
"Stop yelling at me! I just had a gun jammed in my face you insensitive prick. Do you have any idea how terrifying that is?"
Did someone say veterinarian? Ryan has to take Wilfred to see the Vet after the pup lost his sense of smell thanks to a nostril raping by a Glock 17. Once again, we're told how important the sniffer is for a dog and how Wilfred is more susceptible to confusion after losing the ability to register scents. Ryan suggests filling the void with books but unless they're starring Matt Damon the pooch isn't interested. He instead starts pondering the big questions with a nearby squirrel, like whether the UPS guys are switching uniforms or the uniforms are switching guys, while Ryan has his first meeting with Warren, also known as the Warden from The Shawshank Redemption. Until now, the show has had stellar guest stars but the man (or part) is as funny here as his role in the prison drama. And spoilers, it wasn't that funny.
"Wipe that smirk off your face and listen to this Kant."
It doesn't take long for Wilfred to get even more lost and turn to the words of Immanuel Kant for, well, little comfort but at least he can use it as a plea to get Ryan to rethink his real estate deal and perhaps help out some less fortunate pooches. Amongst the many books Wilfred consumed, all of the them, he also happened to have a go at Ryan's investment prospectus which may net them a pretty profit but at the cost of some inner city dogs from broken fences losing their place to play. He may have lost his sense of smell but he's found his humanity - I think he means dogmanity - and decides to fight the good fight. Wilfred says the fight is for the the now but isn't saving a park really for the future? I'm confused. Either way, Ryan's going to go ahead with the deal and Wilfred is left chanting...
"Here I'll bark, save this park!"
When the protest falls on deaf ears, the still smelling-impaired pup has retreated to the basement to call the sun a whore, listen to some somber records and read some seriously depressing literature like "Marley & Me." Ryan does his best to cheer up his best friend but Wilfred is so far gone he can't even dream anymore. He's down in the dumps but oddly philosophical, waxing about how his life is like the record just spinning around and around. Ryan doesn't stay to drown in the sorrows and instead heads to the final meeting with Warren to secure his future. That way he can become rich and treat other people like shit. At least, that's what Kevin plans to do with his cash because he's certainly not gong to waste it on his sore scrotumed son. And that's the moment when Ryan finally learns that friendship is more valuable than security, not to mention that Kevin's kind of an asshole.
"This is Wilfred. Please leave a... whatever. If this is Ryan, goodbye. If this is Bear, I'll see you in Hell!"
Ryan may have learned his lesson too late as all he can get is Wilfred's suicide-note sounding outgoing answering machine message. That is actually the most sensible place to leave the note really (and a mouthful to say). Anyway, Ryan makes it home just in time to find an emo kid version of Wilfred sitting on the back balcony but manages to see through the makeup and ascertain the real reason behind the turn to leashes, he still wants that expensive doghouse. Well, he's not falling for that which causes Wilfred to go through with the jump. This is where the episode completely lost me. I feel like they didn't quite know how to wrap things up and the hanging seems really overblown. Luckily, that scene is not the last thing we're left with and the final image for the week is Wilfred making sweet, sweet love to Bear. Got to love that saved from suicide sex.
"I'm just trying to get you to save what little time you have left!"
The closing minutes of last night's Wilfred were maybe the messiest that I've ever seen the series and the episode as a whole was the first significant misstep of the second season. The writers were worrying too much about the "Now" and not worrying enough about the laughs. Or the story. Am I worried? Of course not. Not every episode of every season is going to be razor sharp and, like always, there were many stylistic choices to admire even when the narrative was lagging or the jokes mis-firing. And besides, I've seen an upcoming installment (thanks to the aforementioned Comic-Con) and know that it won't be long till they are back on track. Wilfred returns with Episode 5, "Control," Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on FX. It stars Elijah Wood and Jason Gann.