Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Fiona Gubelmann, Dorian Brown, Chris Klein, Ray Wise
David Zuckerman, series created by Jason Gann & Adam Zwar, adapted for American television by David Zuckerman
Randall Einhorn
FX, Thursdays @ 10 PM
September 8, 2011

It seems somehow appropriate that the first season of WILFRED should end with main human character Ryan (Elijah Wood), along with the audience, more confused than when all this started. After all, once he and/or we start asking the questions that finally occur to Ryan about dog-who-appears-as-man-in-a-dog-suit Wilfred (Jason Gann) – “Who are you? What are you? Why are you?” – things can only get more surreal and baffling than they’ve been so far.

“Identity” picks up where last week’s “Sacrifice” left off, with Wilfred badgering Ryan to help Wilfred’s owner Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) fight her firing as anchor for the local news. Jenna was stoned on the air, but she doesn’t know it (she doesn’t realize she ate Wilfred’s pot-laced candy). Ryan’s only shot at winning would seem to be a return his days as “the Archeologist,” a lawyer who dug up blackmail dirt on his opponents to make them cave.

Ryan doesn’t want to be that guy again, but Wilfred promises to get Ryan together with Jenna if only he’ll get her job back. Ryan eventually stoops to the tactic, which succeeds in getting Jenna reinstated, but Wilfred reneges, and Ryan’s ruthless side comes out. He manipulates Jenna’s boyfriend Drew (Chris Klein) into pressing a marriage proposal so hard that Jenna refuses. When the TV station demands that Jenna take a drug test, Ryan threatens his sister Kristin with revealing one of her secrets if she doesn’t supply clean urine for Jenna’s test. Wilfred pleads with Ryan not to make the switch, but Ryan insists.

Wilfred throws himself in front of the station rep’s car to give Ryan time to substitute Kristin’s urine sample for Jenna’s. This all backfires terribly – Wilfred is hit by the car and has to go to the vet, where a call from the station shows that Jenna passed the test – but is pregnant. Jenna now feels obliged to marry Drew after all, leaving before Ryan can bring himself to tell her why she knows she’s not pregnant. Kristin, not knowing she is pregnant, has left her fiancé and Wilfred, coming to at the vet’s, seems not to recognize Ryan. When Ryan goes home to find Wilfred’s will, which he hopes will explain things, not only is the will gone, so is the entire basement where Ryan and Wilfred have spent so much time hanging out. Instead, Ryan finds a regular closet – although a lone tennis ball falls out of it.

Much is made by Ryan throughout “Identity” of not wanting to return to his old extortionist, anything-to-win persona. If Wilfred turns out to be simply a manifestation of this side of Ryan, this might allow Ryan to not carry the burden of those traits. However, Ryan comes to the conclusion during the episode that Wilfred is here to stop Ryan from sliding down the slippery slope of immorality, when the rest of us have long since concluded that if Wilfred has a definable purpose, it’s to shove Ryan off the cliff – never mind the slope.

Ray Wise is a fun guest star as the station manager and it’s great to see Wood unleash a cheerfully unwholesome side to his generally nice-guy character.

By the episode’s end, we have many things to ponder. Is Wilfred faking it, or does he really not know Ryan? Will Ryan return to his unethical old ways without Wilfred’s guiding paw? Will Jenna find out she’s not pregnant? Will Kristin find out she is pregnant? With Wilfred’s self-centered, calculating personality, why is he a dog instead of a cat? Given that FX has renewed WILFRED for a second season, all, some or none of these questions may be answered until it returns.

The first season has often been funny – just as frequently, it’s been frustrating. But Dog knows it has never been boring, and in being true to its own brand of weirdness, WILFRED has been a barking success thus far.


Click on link: Exclusive Interview with WILFRED co-creator and star Jason Gann

Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 premiere
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Trust”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Fear”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Respect”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Acceptance”

Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Conscience”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Pride”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Anger”

Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Compassion”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Isolation”
Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Doubt”

Click on link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Sacrifice”

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Article: Review -WILDRED – Season 1 – “Identity”


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  1. Pingback: TV Review: WILFRED – Season 1 – “Identity” – Season Finale – Assignment X | Dog Blog Store

  2. I’m going as wilfred for halloween!

  3. While I found this show to be very interesting, I don’t think I ever once laughed out loud. I just don’t find it all that funny. I don’t think I’ll watch season 2. Sorry Mr Wood, I still think you’re an amazing actor, and loved Greenstreet Hooligans.
    Louie doesn’t make me LOL all that much, but the show is so real, I can’t stop watching. I’ll probably just record(who doesn’t, these days?) my usual comedy. Sunny, 30 rock, Louie, or Archer. The latter will make you laugh until youmpee blood.

    John arcron
    • – HEY!I’m Jenna & Ryan’s friend Allison from the wddeing!I saw some of your pics on FB and saw the website and thought I’d check it out! You’re absolutely fabulous my dear!Jenna & Ryan’s pics were amazing you truly captured them June 18, 2010 11:21 AM

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