It’s a much more profane interpretation on “Calvin and Hobbes”-style metaphysics: Is Ryan hallucinating Wilfred’s humanlike qualities? Why can no one else see the man in the dog suit?
You’re asking questions, which is apparently the wrong way to watch the show. Each episode of “Wilfred” is a rumination of sorts on doglike qualities every human might hope to attain: Happiness, Trust, Fear, Acceptance, Pride, etc. In concept only, that all sounds promising, but Wilfred is too bad a dog. He encourages Ryan to chuck his career, wreaks havoc in his life and eggs him on to be a worse person, not a better one.
Hank Stuever is The Washington Post’s TV critic and author of two books, “Tinsel” and “Off Ramp.”
( Michael Becker / FX ) - A depressed lawyer played by Elijah Wood is the only person who can see the surly man in a dog suit in the dark comedy “Wilfred,” a new show on FX.
The energy and edgy psychosis that Wood (now 30) brings to the part of Ryan is all but canceled out by Gann’s performance as Wilfred. Apparently Gann, who co-created the Australian version and starred as Wilfred, conveyed with the property — which is too bad. It’s fine with me if Wilfred is supposed to be surly and hateful, but Gann is also boring in the part.
What’s more, in spite of Wilfred’s occasional funny lines (giving a dog a bone is an offensive stereotype, “like giving a basketball to a black guy”), his impulses seem entirely un-doglike, absent the creature’s universal Zen. A few episodes in, I strongly wished that Wood had been cast as the dog instead. That’s a pup we could love.
What tennis balls are to dogs, “Louie” is to TV critics: We’re obsessed.
Written and directed by comedian Louis C.K., the show is back for a second season on FX, after “Wilfred,” and what else can I do but yap excitedly and try to get you to watch one of the best shows on TV right now? The first four episodes of the new season will not disappoint fans.
Shot in the gloomiest, grayest part of a Lower Manhattan winter, “Louie” broadens itself a bit, focusing on his semi-autobiographical character’s relationship to his daughters, as well as his more ambivalent misgivings about parenthood.
But “Louie’s” surreally awkward scenes are also firmly intact, exemplified Thursday with a trip to the E.R. with Louie’s visiting pregnant sister. And a Joan Rivers cameo a few weeks from now verges on the sublime. I’m barking my head off here. Let “Louie” in.
(30 minutes) premieres Thursday
at 10 p.m. on FX
(30 minutes) returns Thursday
at 10:30 p.m. on FX.