Wilfred – Dog and funny show

March 11, 2008

I just finished watching the SBS Australian TV series Wilfred on DVD. Wilfred started as an award winning short that later was developed by Renegade Films with the shorts creators Adam Zwar and Jason Gann into a funny little TV show. Its about a mid twenties girl who has a Dog and her new boyfriend. The main joke of the show is the Dog is a full grown guy in a Dog suit who amongst other things likes to smoke bongs (that’d be Jason Gann). The girls bumbling new boyfriend (Adam Zwar) then gets into various adventures, predicaments and existential conversations with the dog. The first three episodes wore the premise a bit thin from the short… then suddenly the show took a walkie and got better when a Dog Whisperer shows up, an old boyfriend with his own man-dog (Angus Sampson) visits. The episode of Wilfred at the beach and a funny break out a kennel are episodes that are also very good.

By the end of the season of 8 episodes its really beginning to grow on you like flea eczema. Wilfred’s laconic and psychotic nature are oft witty with an odd surreal humor. The show itself is surreal and funny because you are unsure if the dog is just a guy in a suit playing a dog in reality and Zwar’s wimp cahracter accepts this kinky relationship. Or that the guy in the suit represents what your average dog might be thinking, feeling and saying if he could talk, etc.

Gann is excellent as Wilfred and comes up with inspired lines about scratching his ass on the rug, digging holes in th backyard for bones and bodies, barking at ducks in a pond, insulting people who ring the front door and many other ‘dog’ issues. This all goes to prove there is probably more to your pooch than an unthinking automaton science tells us he is. Wilfred is clever here in its portrayal of man’s favorite animal that thinks, does odd behavioral things and protects its mistress. It is both endearing and bizarre at once and one of the better comedy TV shows from Australia in recent years. Maybe not as daring as The Chasers War on Everything or the world class suburban tragi-comedy of Kath and Kim or prankster John Safran’s media interventions. But Wilfred holds his own close to these aforementioned three Oz comedy gems and that is something all involved should be proud of.

Australian TV is much healthier than its film industry it would seem…


One Response to “Wilfred – Dog and funny show”

  1. Rupert said

    I’m good friends with Adam, co-writer and performer in Wilfred, it took them a long time to convince the Networks of being allowed to have space and they had to pay the price by committing themselves to The Wedge before SBS turned around and said “Here you go, make the show the way you want it, no restrictions” – unfortunately or fortunately it flew off the back of Rats & Cats their feature film that sat waiting for a distributor for years but hopefully with the cult following of Wilfred will see a release soon – we have an industry built this way, by appropriation.


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