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Wilfred – Doubt

Wilfred has given us some
hilarious moments, some tragically unfunny moments, and a few
perplexing ones, but with “Doubt” it said to hell with logic all
together(you know, more than it has with a talking dog) and for the
most part, humor. Not without a few bright spots -and I stress a
few- this episode suffered from setting itself up to answer the
series most troubling question, and instead brought the issue front
and center only to leave it worse off than before.

As someone who has been wondering for
awhile now why Ryan is such a glutton for punishment and refuses to
at least try to oust Wilfred from his life, “Doubt” seemed like
the episode I had been waiting for. With the arrival of the
enigmatic, Bruce, and Ryan finally putting some thought into ridding
himself of the demonic dog, things were looking up. Though Ryan
actually needing someone to point out that Wilfred is ruining his
life was beyond belief, even for his wide-eyed naivete. Dwight
Yoakam(Crank) was certainly memorable, making an appearance as
the disturbed shell of a man left behind from Wilfred’s handiwork(Who
wouldn’t be a little unstable after making out with their dad?).
Yoakam has that face that’s hard to forget anyway, so his roles
always make an impression. Though not even his performance was
enough to save an episode doomed from the start.

Before the plot fell apart, even before
Bruce showed up, it was the jokes themselves that were souring the
episode. Wilfred has two comedic crutches it leans on far too
often; those being overly crude attempts at humor and the “Oh look,
it’s a guy doing something a dog would!” gags. I don’t have a
problem with either, so long as you aren’t being vulgar just for
vulgarity’s sake, or are too lazy to come up with more than
physical acts involving a man in a dog suit. Wilfred attacking the
vacuum cleaner is the kind of joke that’s funny once and then feels
like you’re hearing the same punchline over and over. The series
used up that one shot way back in the pilot(with Wilfred chasing down
a motorcycle) but that hasn’t stopped the writers from returning to
it repeatedly to try and score easy laughs. Wilfred inhaling the
intoxicating aroma of yoga students’ asses actually made use of both
crutches, and stopped any thought of laughing in its tracks. The
real crime against comedy came in watching Bruce run his fingers over
Ryan’s lips before he got around to washing them. It was
unnecessarily disgusting, and had already appeared in more than one
bad movie. There are times when it seems that half the jokes could
be replaced with dialogue not even attempting to be comedic and the
episode would actually be more enjoyable. Of course, there are also
those times when the series brings the funny like few others.

It took awhile for “Doubt” to score
a single laugh, but once it did, they started coming a little more
freely – for a time at least. Wilfred’s fear that his entire
relationship with Ryan had actually been with a man standing behind
him was charmingly clever and made up for the groans elicited from
the earlier jokes with an outburst of laughter. The mutt scored
again with the uproarious image of him putting some swagger in his
walk when approaching the gang members. It was guest star Katy
Mixon(otherwise known as the love of Kenny Powers on Eastbound and
Down
), playing Ryan’s blind date, that really stole the show.
She did it in only one line, though surprisingly it was thanks to one
of the few good “He’s not really a dog!” jokes the series has
given us. Wilfred’s hate of the post office isn’t any more clever
than the duds in this episode and others, but the way it’s being used
is; in this case the wonderful randomness of hearing Ms. Mixon
announce: “I don’t really know what snout rape is…but I hate
my mail man too.”

The laughter ebbed away again with the
frustrating final moments of the episode. After a standoff ends with
Ryan shooting blanks -literally- it’s revealed that Bruce and Wilfred
are actually friends, or not, that’s never really made clear.
Equally unclear is why Ryan felt like he had come away learning
something. It’s one thing to have Ryan put up with the nightmare
that is Wilfred in exchange for life-altering lessons, but when
Wilfred’s lesson is, “I can make you do whatever I want and ruin
your life on a whim.” What’s the point? He still needs Wilfred in
his life because Wilfred has so much control over him? That’s the
only take away Ryan gets from having almost shot a man. He
apparently also needs to keep smoking joints the size of double
Coronas; which makes him quitting at the end of “Isolation” as
pointless as this episode’s entire plot.

The episode could have had Wilfred
re-endear himself to Ryan, or at least had the hapless human finally
realize how destructive his canine companion is, but instead it
whitewashed the issue with a baffling turn of events. Which would be
forgivable if the episode hadn’t floundered just as hard in its
attempts at humor. I don’t need to understand what’s happening so
long as it’s making me laugh; that just wasn’t the case with “Doubt.”

Rating
6.0

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