June 22nd, 2011
“Wilfred,”beginning Thursday night on FX, is a semi-dark comedy in which Frodo Baggins frequently shares a bong with a large Australian man wearing a dog suit. Some shows aspire to cult status; this one goes straight there, practically bypassing the need to be broadcast at all.
Elijah Wood, who went to New Zealand to play Frodo the hobbit in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, maintains his Down Under bona fides with “Wilfred.” It’s the American remake of an Australian succès d’estime that grew from a joke between friends to a short film to a 16-episode television series; the series won several Australian Film Institute awards, including best comedy.
Mr. Wood plays Ryan, a clean-cut young depressive who tries with a notable lack of success to commit suicide as the pilot opens. Jason Gann, who created the original series with Adam Zwar, reprises his role as Wilfred, the dog belonging to Ryan’s nubile neighbor, Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann).
Ryan, and only Ryan, sees Wilfred as a man in a moth-eaten, floppy-eared dog suit. Viewers seeking an explanation for this, or looking for some symbolic framework — Wilfred as an expression of Ryan’s loneliness and insecurity, canine id beckoning to human superego, the loutish working-class dog versus the buttoned-up salaryman — will be disappointed, at least through the first three episodes. Sometimes a man in a dog suit is just a man in a dog suit.
The show’s casual surreality can be traced to its roots, when Mr. Zwar told Mr. Gann a story about going home with a date and encountering her jealous dog. That anecdote, expanded to sitcom length, became the first episode of the original show. The idea was simple: a dog fights a man over a woman, and gradually they become mates. It was a buddy comedy crossed with a talking-animal comedy, filmed on a shoestring (much of the action involved man and dog sitting on a couch and getting high) and featuring the foul language and full frontal nudity allowed on Australian broadcast television.
The new version has been put in the hands of the writer and producer David Zuckerman (“Family Guy,” “American Dad”) and toned down for American basic cable, though the humor still pushes the envelope. (Some of the nastiest jokes, as it happens, target Asians: the narrowness of their birth canals, the foulness of their cooking.)
The real signs of Americanization are higher production values, more plot elements and a streak of slightly gooey sentimentality. Instead of dating Jenna from the get-go, Ryan now admires her from across the fence, a chaste and emasculating rejiggering of the story.
“Wilfred” tries for a coarse sophistication that locates it somewhere between HBO’s winsome “Flight of the Conchords” and FX’s brutally honest “Louie” (which begins its second season on Thursday night). But it ends up muffled and not very funny. Mr. Gann’s bits of doggie business — turning in circles before sitting on the couch, chasing a laser-pen light — are reliably humorous, but beyond that the show doesn’t offer a lot of bark or bite.
FX, Thursday nights at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
Produced by FX Productions. Adapted from the Australian series by David Zuckerman; pilot written by Mr. Zuckerman; pilot directed by Randall Einhorn; Mr. Zuckerman, Rich Frank, Paul Frank, Jeff Kwatinetz, Joe Connor and Ken Connor, executive producers; Jason Gann and Mr. Einhorn, co-executive producers.
WITH: Elijah Wood (Ryan), Jason Gann (Wilfred), Fiona Gublemann (Jenna) and Dorian Brown (Kristen).
Elijah Wood was born on January 28th, 1981 acording to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Wood
January 28th, 1981
1 + 28 = 29 = his core number = Talented.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
how he obtains his heart’s desire = ED = 54 = Messing with your mind.