The concept of Wilfred - a man who sees his neighbour’s pet as a man dressed as a dog - is easily dismissed thanks to the pure zaniness of the idea, but behind Wilfred’s crazy premise lies a surprisingly ingenious exploration of self with a whole lot of comedy to boot. Featuring some of American comedy’s best writers, including David Zuckerman of Family Guy fame, Wilfred tows the line between high-brow laughs and gross-out gags, making for an enjoyable viewing no matter what your taste. With cameos from some of Hollywood’s comic heroes, including a handful of stars from The Office (U.S), as well as the late and great Robin Williams, Wilfred sets a high standard of comedy that’s rarely seen nowadays.
Wilfred follows the friendship and adventures of Ryan (Elijah Wood) and his neighbour Jenna’s dog (or should that be dog-man?), played by Jason Gann. Wilfred is a devious and cunning character with charm and wit, but unlike the typical man’s-best-friend, Wilfred’s purposeful lies and manipulations often get Ryan into troubling and sometimes shocking misadventures. Despite showing up when Ryan’s perpetual loneliness ended in an attempted suicide, it’s difficult to know who Wilfred really cares for – himself or Ryan.
The friendship between Wilfred and Ryan isn’t just a funny one, it’s surprisingly heart-warming as well. Through Wilfred’s plots and schemes - including breaking into his neighbour’s house to steal his weed plants - Ryan is able to embrace life, grow socially and learn to love himself despite his flaws. It’s easy to hate Wilfred at times, and it’s also easy to fear him, but this mistrust is well-balanced with the joy his friendship brings to Ryan, and of course, those all-important hilarious doggy moments.
Over its four seasons, Wilfred paints a picture of Ryan’s life wherein the people he isolates himself from – the desirable girl next door, his moody and over-bearing sister, the father who led Ryan to his suicide attempt, and the mother locked away in a sanatorium – all become relationships that are fully attainable thanks to the efforts and teachings of Wilfred. The depth and ingenuity of the show overtake the silliness of Wilfred being a man in a dog costume, and the concept not only becomes entirely believable, but almost normal. The question of who – or what – Wilfred really is, is one that runs throughout the series, but although it might seem like a prevalent or important question, it’s simplistic answer transforms the show from light-hearted entertainment into something much more ground-breaking.
A guiding spirit, a weed-smoking dog or a manifestation of Ryan’s unhappiness… whatever Wilfred might be, his history and the growing relationship between Ryan and himself make him an undeniably fantastical character, whatever his origins are. A heartfelt ride through mental illness, loneliness, love, family and acceptance, Wilfred is a must-see comedy that delivers nothing less than excellence. Featuring a decent amount of special features, including bloopers, deleted scenes and an exclusive short, this is a boxset that belongs on every shelf.
Special Features: Four featurettes / Stay – exclusive short / Blooper reel / Deleted scenes
WILFRED – THE COMPLETE SERIES / CERT: 15 / CREATOR: JASON GANN, DAVID ZUCKERMAN, ADAM ZWAR / DIRECTOR: RANDALL EINHORN, VICTOR NELLI JR. / STARRING: ELIJAH WOOD, JASON GANN, FIONA GUBELMANN, DORIAN BROWN / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 12TH