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Wilfred – Trust

If the first episode of Wilfred pointed out everything the series is doing right, its follow-up did just the opposite. “Trust” wasn't all bad, but a dependency on unrefined humor brought it down quite a bit, as did Jenna remaining a flat character despite having a larger role in the episode. Whatever the cause, the second episode of this new series just wasn't that funny.

While the writers have shown that they can do vulgar comedy well, there has been just as many times when they fell short. All their attempts at elevating toilet humor in “Trust” were unfortunately amongst the latter, at times coming closer to engendering groans than they did laughs. One fart joke is really too many and they've already done several, none of them particularly humorous. Wilfred's general crassness also lacked the wit shown at times last week, making his obscene remarks come off as juvenile. It's not a major problem, but if the series doesn't maintain a subtler touch on the broad humor the show could decline rapidly.

When the series is named after your character, you have to be funny in every episode, and for the most part, Wilfred delivered again. As mentioned, his sophomoric sense of humor went over the line, but he was responsible for the three funniest moments in “Trust.” Wilfred's stern defense of Jenna brought about the first one. Like any dog would - if he had the cognitive ability - Wilfred becomes enraged at anything negative being said about his master. It was amusing watching him go from taking a pull off his homemade bong, right into railing at Ryan for even implying Jenna might not be perfect. The second was for his overly exuberant reaction to swimming in the ocean and the pelican he finds wading in the surf. Wilfred killing it and presenting the carcass to a fellow beach goer and her daughter was disturbingly hilarious. One of the most charming things about Gann in his role as the titular character is his ability to convincingly capture a dog's wide-eyed enthusiasm at the times when it's appropriate. Wilfred's most comical scene by far was his freakout in the lobby of the veterinarian's office. The rant about a conspiracy to mind-control dogs was the kind of random insanity I love. It also provided the best line of the episode: “The puppet master is Bob Barker!”


After only two episodes the soundtrack has merited mentioning for how well it works with the series. It is truly infectious, with a selection of pop hits from around the turn of the century. Whether they are contrasting with the black humor or accenting Ryan's journey into happiness/insanity, the songs are incorporated beautifully. Peggy Lee's “It's a Good Day” was a brilliant choice to have playing over the montage of Wilfred and Ryan's day at the beach. Even when the playlist is not so upbeat (Buddy Holly singing “Raining in My Heart” during Ryan's failed suicide in the first episode, for example), they still add this kitschy energy to scenes, which complements the off-brand style of the series nicely.

It would be nice to love all four of the characters they've introduced so far, but Jenna was sadly deadweight again in this episode. Gubelmann is impressive for how she manages to keep from cracking up while Wilfred lunges for her face with mouth open and tongue out. She is also deserving of commendation for how well she performs scenes when her character has to talk right over Wilfred and ignore his comments completely. The problem is Jenna just isn't producing anything in the way of laughs on screen. The character hasn't been given much to work with besides the “girl next door” love interest role, so the actress is by no means all to blame. The scenes with Jenna were the driest in the episode, though as said, it was more the writing than her acting. The way she suddenly displays a tomboy side after Wilfred lied to Ryan about her having a penis was the kind of coincidental plot that doesn't have a place in well made comedy. It didn't help either that whenever you write the attractive blonde as having an interest in baseball and beer, no matter how good the actress, the performance is going to come off contrived. Another problem was that the reveal of her boyfriend was easy to see coming and too much time was spent on the build up to that one predictable joke. Though she was at the mercy of the plot, Jenna still failed to entertain, which will hopefully change soon as the actress has shown some potential.

“Trust” was definitely the worst of the first two episodes, and basically displayed the biggest faults in the show. With a stale female lead and humor bordering on tasteless at times, Wilfred definitely isn't perfect. This episode wasn't without its moments though, and there is still massive potential for comedy from the storyline.



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