Film and TV

Wilfred: "Trust"

I suppose one complaint to make about "Trust," the second episode of FX's summer series Wilfred, is that it doesn't do much to advance the plot. Then again, when your plot involved a quasi-suicidal young man who visualizes his neighbor's dog as an Australian dude in a fursuit, how much plot do you really need.

Aside: I initially typed "dog" as "god." Now that would be an interesting TV show.

This week, we learn Ryan doesn't appreciate surprise fingers in the butt (a topic that has inspired much fevered internet debate, I understand) and neighbor Jenna may or may not have a penis. Also, dead pelicans are hilarious.

The problem you're going to have down the line with Wilfred is maintaining the premise that Ryan must clearly be insane (or the only sane man in a crazy world, but let's forget that for the time being) to see a talking dog, but he has to benefit from this insanity. That's why Wilfred's occasional nastiness - which appears to have no relation to the fact he's, you know, a dog - doesn't really help things. If you see a talking dog that makes your life better, you might be on to something. If you see one that causes bad things to happen, you're the Son of Sam.

The "Trust" in last night's episode comes from the betrayal of same. Ryan lies to get Wilfred to the vet (dogs, male dogs especially, have a probably rational fear of veterinarians). In so doing, he becomes privy to some the previously disclosed fact(?) about Jenna's genitalia.

Ryan also repeatedly shows trust issues with members of the opposite sex, including the woman who insisted on giving him impromptu rectal exams. Wilfred, aghast that he would throw away such an otherwise fetching female, briefly believes him to be a eunuch.

To be fair, Wilfred only mentions Jenna's flaw to head off Ryan's burgeoning romantic interest. But he can't expand on this because he's doped up to get his teeth cleaned. All Ryan hears is that she has a dick, a nonstarter for most guys. This, of course, leads to Ryan questioning everything about her femininity (she likes sports and beer, which automatically makes her suspect) and sending the second half of the show down a more conventional (read: predictable) sitcom path.

Wilfred still gets some good lines, and Ryan demonstrates enough potential psychosis to keep us guessing as to where things are leading with the friendly neighborhood man-dog. And in the end we discover actually does have a dick...for a boyfriend. Clever.

Next week: Actually, I don't know. My DVR cut off before that. I'll bet there are shenangians, however.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar