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A "Conscience" for Wilfred

Wilfred (US) poster

Written by : published Friday 29th July 2011

Please click here to watch the latest Wilfred online.

     On this week's episode of FX's Wilfred, the series finally introduces viewers to Jenna's (Fiona Gubelmann) boyfriend Drew (Chris Klein). On the original version, the main guy and girl were living together when the series starts, but in the American version, Ryan (Elijah Wood) must compete with another guy. "Conscience" sees Wilfred (jason Gann) goad Ryan into breaking up Jenna and Drew. But Ryan is later struck by guilt, and when he tries to fix things, Wilfred decides perhaps Ryan should also be taken out of the picture. Permanently.

     The Wilfred character, of which even its existence is an enigma, is getting harder to figure out. While in earlier episodes, Wilfred has very clear motivations in retrospect, in "Conscience," things get a bit murky.

     Wilfred wants Drew to go away, but that doesn't mean he wants Ryan to take his place. Is Wilfred jealously trying to keep Jenna all to himself? While the mutt is played by a human, he shows little signs of sexual attraction to his owner, but instead, a fierce, dog-like loyalty. But wouldn't a dog welcome someone new to give him attention all the time? And since he spends so much time with Ryan anyway...

     Plus, why turn on Ryan so quickly? How come Wilfred can accept Drew's alpha male role without striking back directly, but goes after Ryan with a vengeance?

     The scene that feels most out of character for Wilfred is his mad scientist routine in the basement. It is hilarious that he tries to poison Ryan with chocolate and raisins, which are toxic to canines, but losing the typical voice and mannerisms of the titular character are confusing. It could be argued that Wilfred is slipping into a persona, a reasonable explanation. Instead, though, the script meanders, and it is disappointing how unclear that character has become.

     Ryan, on the other hand, remains true to the guy shown these past five weeks. He does want to improve his life, and being with Jenna is a goal, but he isn't willing to make Jenna unhappy, or hurt an innocent guy. Sure, Drew can be a jerk when acting ultra-competitive, but who doesn't have their faults?

     Klein makes the boyfriend sympathetic as he confesses he knows what he is doing wrong and, but struggles to stop it. His apology cinches the deal. Ryan's compassion mirrors the viewers', and so he must step in to correct his mistake. Drew makes Jenna happy, so he can't be all bad.

     Over all, Wilfred is quickly winning hearts as a charming comedy. But the dog needs to be nailed down a bit better. His motivations can stay a mystery, as long as they make sense in the larger context. Explanation for behaviors.

     Also, remind me again why the perpetually missing Kristen (Dorian Brown) is a main character?

     Watch Wilfred Thursdays nights at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

     If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter!

     

Article first published as TV Review: Wilfred - "Conscience" on Blogcritics.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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