Review: ‘Wilfred’ – ‘Dignity’

Senior Television Writer
07.05.12 13 Comments

A review of tonight’s “Wilfred” coming up just as soon as I schedule an exit interview with the snow globe…

“Wilfred” is so unflinching about the darkness of its premise and its characters that there are episodes (or even multiple episodes in a row) where the writing seems to not feel the need for laugh-out-loud jokes. And I’m fine with that, but it’s still fun to get a more traditionally comic episode like “Dignity” – which, appropriately enough, casts Wilfred in the role of a frustrated stand-up comedian trying desperately to revamp his struggling act. 

Where last week’s episode focused so much on Ryan’s personal life, “Dignity” spent most of its time at the new job (albeit with many scenes involving his flirtation with Amanda), and also on Wilfred’s attempts to hang onto his surprising new role as “office dog,” well after the novelty had worn off for Ryan’s co-workers. I particularly enjoyed Wilfred brainstorming ideas on notecards, as if he was in the show’s own writers room trying to finish the next episode; I have to assume that the real “Wilfred” writers assistant does a better job at taking notes than poor Bear.

(Also, Wilfred going on and on to the pigeons about how well he did at work felt reminiscent – not in a bad way – to the “Seinfeld” episode “The Bizarro Jerry,” where Kramer stumbled his way into an office job.)

“Dignity” also gave Steven Weber more to do, first as Jeremy gives a horrified Wilfred a prolonged, intimate hug, then as we discover just why Jeremy is so friendly towards Ricky the janitor. Because he began on a pleasant but unremarkable comedy like “Wings,” then segued to a genuinely bad comedy like “Cursed” (aka “The Weber Show”), it took me a while to realize just how talented, versatile and game a performer he is. But now he’s someone whose presence I look forward to in things, whether as one of the few appealing parts of “Studio 60,” as an Armenian mobster on “Party Down,” or here as the boss Ryan now gets to blackmail. A fine addition to the larger ensemble, as is Allison Mack.

Very satisfying, funny episode.

And just to repeat the housekeeping points from the end of last week’s review:

1)I’m again moderating the “Wilfred” Comic-Con panel a week from today, with Wood, Gann, Gubelmann and Dorian Brown (who has yet to appear so far this season), plus producers David Zuckerman and Randall Einhorn. If anyone has anything they’d particularly like to have one of the actors or producers answer, I’m open to suggestions, either in the comments or by email.

2)Because of my upcoming travels, vacation, etc., plus my feeling that this show is probably better served not being analyzed every week, don’t expect regular reviews for the rest of the season. I’ll pop in again either when there’s a particularly notable episode or when I just have some extra time and can weigh in on a recent stretch.

What did everybody else think?

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