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Wilfred – Pride

After putting out fantastic episodes
for the past two weeks, Wilfred fell back down with its latest
installment. “Pride” wasn’t the worst the series has done, but
it also failed to build on the momentum of its predecessors.
Starting out strong, most of the jokes didn’t make it past the
halfway mark before they started souring. The episode did feature
some top notch acting though, including the episode’s guest star.

Things were looking up early on, with
one of the funnier recurring characters making an appearance.
Kristen didn’t stick around for long, but she got in a few humorous
jabs at Ryan with her brief screen time. If the character had
stayed, the episode likely would have been better, but her small role
mainly served to setup the plot. In which, Ryan is trying to save
face, only to lose more than he ever thought possible. Refusing to
ask Kristen for money -which she makes clear is the only way he is
getting any- Ryan contemplates finding a job, which Wilfred voices
his firm objections to, “Jobs are for immigrants.”
Wilfred’s plan to make some quick cash actually winds up putting
Ryan deeper into debt. Proving dogs don’t know much about the law,
Wilfred veering Ryan’s car into a parked Escalade probably seemed
like a good idea to him at the time.

Filling
the role of the irate owner of said SUV, was veteran actress, Jane
Kaczmarek(
Malcolm in the Middle).
The character might as well have been written for her, as Kaczmarek
was doing what she does best: playing a prickly and unpleasant
middle-aged mother. The role was not a new one for the actress, but
it is one she has mastered – and then some. Not unlike Kristen,
Beth was a woman you just love to hate. Kaczmarek was pitch perfect
in portraying Beth’s icy attitude and derogatory demeanor. Her
laughs did drop off somewhat, as she softened for Ryan’s insincere
flirting; which was spurned on at Wilfred’s insistence of course.
However, her highly disturbing sexual persona as a bunny did provide
some creepily comedic moments; especially that voice. By the end
though, Beth’s -as well as Ryan and Wilfred’s- only source of comedy
were overly crass sex jokes; which did their best to make the
audience forget the hilarious scenes the character did have.

After starting the
whole mess, Wilfred lets his libido overrule any concern for Ryan’s
predicament. With his and Bear’s relationship becoming strained,
Wilfred spends the episode lusting after a new stuffed animal. The
plot highlighted how little material the show’s initial concept has
generated -just more attempts to find humor at a man doing things a
dog would- but Jason Gann’s performance did redeem it. During his
conversation with Ryan after first meeting, “Raffi”, the stuffed
giraffe, the actor flawlessly captured the nervous and giddy behavior
of a young girl who has just met a boy she likes. Wilfred’s smooth
talking as he makes the moves on Raffi, was also elevated by Gann’s
commitment to the role. The doggy Don Juan couldn’t help but get
laughs, mainly because of the actor believably selling he is not
talking to an inanimate object. This was the second episode of the
US adaption that Gann has written, and while he may not be deserving
of much praise for that, the Aussie more than earned his paycheck
with his acting.

After Wilfred
pinch-hits for Ryan in the bedroom with Beth, Ryan’s sense of pride
is strained to its limit. Though Wilfred’s influence was out of
Ryan’s control for most of this episode, it is still becoming harder
to believe that he would listen to anything the psychotic mutt says.
Or that Ryan would put up with having him around at all. Even after
Wilfred’s bad advice culminates in Ryan being caught by Beth’s son
humping his stuffed animal, Ryan seems to bear no ill will to
Wilfred, or even hold him accountable. At some point soon in the
series, an episode either needs to be dedicated to Ryan attempting to
remove Wilfred from his life, or focus on why Ryan allows him to
stay. Because lately it seems the only time Wilfred isn’t trying to
ruin Ryan’s life, is when they are getting stoned together, and
Wilfred often manages both at the same time.

While many of the
jokes did hit, the ones that missed their mark hurt this episode
quite a bit. Wilfred has proven itself capable of delivering
episodes that are hilarious from start to finish, but “Pride”
wasn’t one of them. An incredibly funny first half dissolved as the
show went on, due to a weak storyline for its titular character, and
bad jokes steeped in debauchery. Though there have been worse
episodes, “Pride” did point out some of the key flaws the series
is dealing with, and how important it is to the life of the show that
they be fixed.

Rating
7.5

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