Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Dog's Take on 'Wilfred', The New FX Comedy Starring a Dog (Sort Of)...

A Look at FX' Wilfred by Madison Chandler

It is my mama's birthday today, and because I don't have means to get to a store and get her a "real" present, I decided just to take over some of her workload. It can't be that hard. All she does is sit on the couch and watch TV. I sit on the coach anyway, so even if my attention span is short, I can get the job done. It just may take a little longer because-- ooh I think I smell bacon!

...Okay I'm back. Anyway, tonight on FX there is a new show called Wilfred starting. It's a show that my mama said she totally related to because the lead character of Ryan (some kid named Elijah Wood with really bright eyes)
starts to have conversations with his neighbor's dog. My mama says that the way Ryan begins to relate to this dog is really just an extension of how he relates to parts of himself he can't quite face up to yet. He has certain ideas or thoughts or beliefs in his head, but he can't justify fully subscribing to them so he needs to project them onto someone or something else telling him the things he already knows deep down-- to make it okay, to justify the changes he is going to make.

I don't really know what that all means. My mama has never put words in my mouth. She really doesn't take my advice at all! But she says that when she was growing up she did what Ryan does, only with another person instead of a dog. I think that's kind of dumb. Dogs are smarter; dogs have all of the answers; humans just don't really get to know us well enough to extract the information effectively.

Ryan and this dog, whose name is Wilfred, by the way, which should be kind of self-explanatory, sit on the couch a lot, just like my mama and I do. But sometimes they go out and have adventures, too. They go to Venice Beach in the first episode, which is a place I really like, and Ryan even shares his nachos with his new puppy pal. Ryan is my kind of people! They also had what seemed to be a pretty important conversation about a tennis ball and how it was the only thing that made Wilfred happy or friendly when he was in the shelter. I didn't quite get what was going on there-- maybe Wilfred was trying to teach Ryan a lesson about trust or security blankets or whatever, but really, all I saw was a tennis ball. And I wanted it. I can focus when I want to, but in that moment I wanted to focus on the ball, not the words.

At first I wasn't too sure about Wilfred. Mostly because I heard the show was all about this dog and I was all 'Um, I'm a dog; why aren't I on this show!?' But since Ryan sees this dog as a man (Jason Gann) in a big dog costume, and the two have full-on conversations, I guess a little dog like me couldn't make it work. I'm too small. Even when I stand on my hind legs, which I don't like to do unless I'm going to get something for my efforts, I wouldn't come anywhere near Elijah's eyeline. So I'm okay with it all now. Because
I have to admit that the guy in the costume looked super soft and cuddly, like my favorite blanket that my mama always hogs. But also because when my mama watched, she laughed a lot. And when she wasn't laughing she was smiling. One or two times her eyes got kind of sad, but in the good way-- when she's thinking about something deep and it's making her emotional. Those are the moments she gives me squeeze hugs, which sometimes last too long, but still make me feel really special.

If that wasn't enough to make you want to tune in tonight at 10 on FX, you may want to read my mama's take on the show and you can find that here.

About the Author

Madison Chandler is a purebred Shih Tzu, or so they say. He is four years old and lives in Los Angeles CA where he enjoys cookies, ice cream, cupcakes, short walks on the beach, napping on pillows, and barking at other dogs from afar only to run away when they get too close to him. He knows all of his toys by name, can pee on command, and wears the heck out of a tie. He also Tweets occasionally.

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