Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Fiona Gubelmann, George Coe, Eric Stoltz, Peter Stormare, Kelli Williams
Writers:
Steve Baldikoski & Bryan Behar, series created by Jason Gann & Adam Zwar, adapted for American television by David Zuckerman
Director:
Victor Nelli, Jr.
Network:
FX, Thursdays @ 10 PM
Airdate:
August 18, 2011

Judging by the list of name actors in “Isolation” – George Coe, Eric Stoltz, Peter Stormare and Kelli Williams – let alone the whole series so far, WILFRED is clearly a popular destination for guest-starring gigs. Coincidentally, popularity, and the lack of it, is the topic of “Isolation,” which breezily makes its points without engaging us too much at any point.

When Ryan (Elijah Wood) is determined to avoid participating in the neighborhood block party, Wilfred (Jason Gann) pulls one of his customary stunts to force the issue. Ryan discovers he is suspected of a series of car break-ins and burglaries, largely because almost no one on the street knows him very well. Wilfred insists that attending the block party will help Ryan become one of the pack.

Unfortunately, everyone except Wilfred’s titular owner Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) still thinks Ryan is the burglar, so Wilfred frames a young boy who has been taunting the dog. Ryan is relieved when people apologize for thinking the worst of him, but he doesn’t want to see an innocent child punished, so he’s ready to confess to being the burglar (even though he isn’t).

Wilfred doesn’t want to see Ryan go to jail and presto, the local homeless man (Peter Stormare) is found dead with a cart full of purloined items. Wilfred points out to Ryan that at least this way the deceased (who apparently died of a heroin overdose) will be remembered for something.

Stormare has always been a fearless actor, and he adroitly handles all the outrageous dialogue given to his character (pre-death). Stoltz is suitably smarmy in a dream sequence that ends with Ryan losing his tongue. Gann is particularly amusing when Wilfred is at his doggiest, hypnotized by a tennis ball and tormented when he can’t find it.

However, the episode as a whole feels a little disjointed. Granted, we’re talking half-hour comedy here, but it still feels as though Ryan’s predicaments here are over and turning into new issues before they’ve had much of a chance to register on us or on him.

Furthermore, the moral of the story feels wishy-washy. The title of the episode is “Isolation,” yet Ryan seems to derive nothing from interacting with other people. Granted, if Ryan ever made a real human friend, it might upend the dynamic of the show, so that may not be a narrative option. Still, while Ryan ready to do something self-sacrificing for a child he doesn’t even know by the end of the episode, Ryan still doesn’t want to break his isolation by getting to know the child, the child’s mother, or anyone else. Wilfred is right when he says that Ryan needs to show he’s part of the neighborhood so that folks won’t automatically suspect him when something goes wrong, but surely there are better reasons to avoid isolation than this.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW

Related Link: The Scoop on WILFRED Season 2

Related Link: Exclusive Interview with WILFRED co-creator and star Jason Gann

Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 premiere – “Happiness”
Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Trust”

Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Fear”
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”

Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Pride”
Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Anger”
Related Link: AX’s review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Compassion”
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”


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: Review -WILFRED – Season 1 – “Isolation”

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