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TV Review: ‘Wilfred’ Season Three, Episodes Three and Four, ‘Suspicion’ and ‘Sincerity’

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The newest episodes of FX’s Wilfred, which aired last night, are “Suspicion” and “Sincerity.” Not as deep as last week’s one-two punch of a season opener, these are still amusing installments that will satisfy the viewers who watch the show for its comedy, even if they may slightly disappoint those who are looking for the deeper meaning and trippy moments, which are in shorter supply this week.

W1The first, “Suspicion,” finds Ryan (Elijah Wood) trying to ‘be there’ for his sister, Kristen (Dorian Brown), so that he can be named guardian of her infant son. But, with Wilfred’s (Jason Gann) overly selfish and confusing help, Ryan runs off Kristen’s new love interest, Michael (Barry Watson, What About Brian, 7th Heaven), earning her ire.

The relationship between Ryan and Kristen is a complicated one. Kristen treats Ryan like he doesn’t have his act together and that she knows better than he, and yet, she makes poor decisions, too. Her attitude may be a bit more snobby, but the two have quite a bit in common, and it’s easy to identify them as siblings.

Thankfully, they are able to patch things up by the end of the half hour. This hasn’t always been the case, with their feuds in earlier episodes being arcs, rather than short spats. It’s nice to see that they now have enough understanding between them to be able to forgive and forget, showing growth on at least one of their parts.

Ryan is upset to learn that his father is involved in Kristen’s decision to choose a guardian, with Ryan believing that his dad sabotages Ryan’s chances at the position. Ryan’s father is someone frequently mentioned, but never seen, a figure that Ryan considers cruel, while Kristen defends. Who is correct? Likely, the truth is somewhere in the middle, but until we meet the character, we can’t be sure, even as Ryan demonizes him in “Suspicion.” One thing is certain, after waiting so long for him to show up, he is going to have to make an impact in his very first appearance.

I really like the Wilfred / Bear / Joffrey love triangle in this episode. It takes a trio of characters who seem innocent enough in real life – a dog, a stuffed animal, and a baby – and assigns them sinister and sinful characteristics. All of this may come from Wilfred (or from Ryan’s deranged mind if you think that’s what Wilfred is about), but things play out just realistic enough to make it work, and stil generate laughs at the utter ridiculousness of the scenario.

In episode four, “Sincerity,” Ryan takes Wilfred to obedience school when he learns his high school crush, Kim (Jenny Mollen, Crazy, Stupid, Love.), is the instructor. Kim takes an interest in Ryan, opening up the possibility of a relationship, but she is everything Wilfred hates in a dog owner, forcing Ryan to make a difficult choice.

W2Ryan will always chose Wilfred over anyone else. No matter how much trouble Wilfred causes his neighbor, the dog has been an invaluable companion to Ryan at a vulnerable time. As such, sex cannot come between them, and Ryan will stay loyal. The same cannot be said about Wilfred, proving that man is dog’s best friend, rather than the reverse, as is commonly quoted.

I love that “Sincerity” pokes fun at the mommy-style dog owners. I agree with Wilfred, that that style of behavior towards ones’ animals is stupid and should not happen. It’s not cute, it’s disturbing. Since Wilfred is a series about a dog, it’s always fun when the series reminds us of that, which is easy to forget since Wilfred is a man in a dog suit. Like the episode right before this one, “Sincerity” succeeds on that front.

Other than that, though, much of the A plot in this half hour falls flat. Kim is not a very interesting character, and she doesn’t have any chemistry with Ryan, making it hard to invest in them. Which is why when Ryan is lukewarm on her, not bending all that far to make her happy, it makes sense. She is clearly a one-time character, and it will be surprising if she returns.

However, she does have purpose. This is the installment where Ryan deals with his unresolved feelings about Amanda, his ex who is now in a nut house. Ryan has been holding some baggage, thinking he is not worthy of love, or capable of having a healthy, sustained union. It’s nice to see Wilfred console Ryan, and Ryan come to terms with himself, no longer believing some negative things.

Wilfred continues to delight in its third year, delivering consistently good programming, with great bits even in a comparatively mediocre episode like “Sincerity.” Wilfred airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com