Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Dorian Brown, Ed Helms, Fiona Gubelmann
Writer: Jason Gann
Director: Randall Einhorn
Network: FX, Thursdays @ 10 PM
Airdate: July 14, 2011
Come with me in the Wayback Machine, Sherman. Remember when the original PLANET OF THE APES came out in 1968? No? Well, it was hailed at the time for, among other things, its social satire. Talking apes could say and do things that, had humans been depicted doing the same, could have really annoyed some folks. Later, ALIEN NATION grappled with some of these things in the same way, and STAR TREK gave an extraterrestrial sci-fi spin to some topics that would have been verboten at the time in straight drama.
What the hell, you may be asking, has any of this got to do with an episode of the FX half-hour comedy WILFRED? Well, the episode “Acceptance” boldly goes where it is unlikely that too many other half-hour comedies, or indeed, many serious dramas, will go – into the realm of sexual molestation at day care centers. Yes, the words “half-hour comedies” did crop up earlier in that sentence.
In this case, it’s doggie day care, where Wilfred (Jason Gann, who also wrote the episode) is left for the day when his owner Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) and regular dog sitter Ryan (Elijah Wood) both have other things to do. In Ryan’s case, he’s reconnecting with his judgmental sister Kristin (Dorian Brown) after she sprains her ankle on his property. Things actually go well for once between the siblings, but when Ryan returns to get Wilfred, the dog’s behavior is very odd and subdued. Ryan at first doesn’t understand, then is horrified when he hears Wilfred’s tale, but then decides Wilfred is manipulating him with lies and puts him back at doggie day care. Then Ryan starts to envision what may be happening to Wilfred and runs to the rescue after all.
This would be where all those science-fiction examples come in. No material featuring a toddler in this situation would be construed as sitcom fodder. With a grown man dressed up in a dog suit, it is somewhat less queasy-making, though whether or not it is actually funny – whether or not it can by funny – is up for grabs. It should be noted that the title of “Acceptance” is about Ryan and Kristin coming to grips with each other’s respectively unambitious and control freak personalities, rather than what’s happening at the doggie day care center. “Acceptance” gets points for nerve, certainly, and also for coming up with a scenario in which, if it happened, Wilfred is somewhat complicit in his own exploitation and isn’t being violated in a way that could cause grievous bodily harm. (This explains on a practical level why Ryan doesn’t take Wilfred to the vet for confirmation.)
However, the parallels are unmistakable, and either way, they’re pretty horrible. A child subjected to something like this would be tragic, and the suggestion that a toddler might invent this story in order to stay home isn’t precisely hilarious, either. If the idea was, “Well, would this be funny if we substituted a talking dog for a child? Only one way to find out,” the answer can now safely be said to be “no.”
It’s not that WILFRED can’t go here – of course it can, it just did – or shouldn’t do it. The show does what it does very well. It’s just that it’s hard to figure out exactly what it is doing and what it hopes to achieve. In this, the show is actually very much like its title character a lot of the time.
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Related Link: The Scoop on WILFRED Season 2
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Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Respect”
Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Acceptance”
Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Conscience”
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Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Isolation”
Click on link: AX’sreview of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Doubt”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Sacrifice”
Article Source:Assignment X
Article: Review -WILFRED – Season 1 – “Acceptance”