Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Dorian Brown, Fiona Gubelmann
Writer: David Zuckerman
Director: Randall Einhorn
Network: FX, Thursdays @ 10 PM
Airdate: June 30, 2011
The second episode of WILFRED revolves in large part around the endless credulity of main character Ryan (Elijah Wood). While a lot of this is funny, given Ryan’s previous experience with the duplicity of the canine Wilfred (Jason Gann), it seems like our human boy should now have a sense of when his leash is being yanked.
Trying to get into the good graces of Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann), Ryan promises to take Wilfred to the vet for a teeth cleaning, and accomplishes this by lying to the dog (or, as Ryan sees him, the man in the dog suit). Wilfred, under anesthesia, tells Ryan (in blunter language than we’ll use here) that Jenna has male genitalia and Ryan subsequently starts trying to find out if this is true.
WILFRED still gets big points for weirdness and for the infallible performances of Wood and Gann. Gubelmann also deserves big props for the difficult job of treating Gann like she sees a real dog when she looks at him. And Wilfred, when he’s not winding Ryan up, has a lot of good insights.
But here’s a list of issues with “Trust” (the episode, not the social dynamic): On the specific to the show side, how is it that Ryan doesn’t notice that Wilfred is extremely jealous and possessive when it comes to Jenna? It doesn’t take anthropomorphizing a dog to know when he or she resents humans who are too close to a beloved owner. Yes, Wilfred screws with Ryan, but in this context, Ryan is lucky Wilfred hasn’t tried to bite his throat out.
Then there is Ryan’s behavior around Jenna once he thinks she may be a hermaphrodite. There are a whole bunch of really sexist notions stacked up around the jokes in this sequence. Yes, Wilfred is teaching Ryan a lesson (or Ryan is teaching Ryan a lesson, if one wants to take the view that Wilfred’s voice is really Ryan’s) about being judgmental and using his conclusions as a reason to close himself off to the world. It’s still disagreeable.
As to what the episode implies about actual hermaphrodites, nobody really thought this through, but the implication that a hermaphrodite’s dog might think them less than perfect because of this is also pretty insulting. Besides, it’s clear that Wilfred does think Jenna is perfect, so he’s either lying about her nature or lying about his opinion, and either way, yet again Ryan is being remarkably obtuse.
Finally, there is a racist crack that Wilfred makes about the veterinarian. Dogs are racist? Ryan is racist? This is meant to be funny? It’s the kind of thing that makes one want to hit the episode over the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.
Overall, WILFRED is still mostly funny and definitely original, but making fun of entire groups of people is generally not amusing, and putting these concepts in the mind and mouth of a dog doesn’t make them more palatable.
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Related Link: The Scoop on WILFRED Season 2
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”
Article Source:Assignment X
Article:Review of WILFRED – Season 1 – “Trust”