DVD Watch: 'Wilfred'
Original mangy mutt hits shelves today
By Monica Riese, 10:22AM, Tue. Jun. 4
"Grey. Alsatian. Angry. Wilfred."
If you've been spending any time on Netflix recently (and we can imagine you have), you might've seen ads around with this pup's mug advertising for a series called Wilfred starring Elijah Wood; that reboot's second season premieres June 20. But today, you can own the original Australian tails … er, tales … on DVD (Shout! Factory, 4-disc set, $29.93).
Wilfred has been around in some form since 2001, when co-creators Adam Zwar (who stars as Adam) and Jason Gann (as Wilfred, both here and in the reboot) came up with the idea for a short film inspired by the true story of a friend intimidated by his girlfriend's dog. A few years later, the film became a series – two eight-episode seasons of incredibly dark comedy – that followed Adam, his sailor-mouthed girlfriend Sarah (played by Cindy Waddingham), and her despicable dog through a series of short little vignettes, disconnected and incomplete, of their day-to-day lives together in the suburbs of Melbourne.
But here's the catch: Wilfred is a 9-year-old Alsatian/Labrador/dingo mix who has anger issues, a smoking habit, and possibly a slight case of Werner's aphasia. And Adam, the vanilla ginger at the heart of the show, can talk to him; to him and him alone, Wilfred is just a grumpy guy in a giant dog costume.
In season one, Wilfred's loyalty toward Sarah leads him to play a series of vindictive pranks against Adam in an ever-escalating quest between the boys to win over Sarah's heart. (Be sure to stick around after the credits for a couple-second outtake, or check out the crew montage extras to hear about the show from the gang's perspective.) As season two begins, though, not only do the writing and acting pick up considerably as the cast and crew find what works, but the animal kingdom expands to include overgrown possums, cats, and parrots in a deeply demented Doctor Doolittle of sorts.
The shenanigans eventually include nudists, an impromptu ski lodge porno, a Fight Club spoof, a murder, and musical interludes of widely varying though consistently questionable quality, as well as what happens when the boys are left to their own devices, so give the series a little bit to warm up before deciding if this particular brand of comedy is up your alley. (Bonus: By a few episodes in, the Aussie accents won't sound so thick either, so you'll catch more of the jokes.)
Can a dog be man's best friend and man's worst enemy at the same time? Only these two know for sure.
Also Out Today:
It's a Disaster (Oscilloscope, $34.99 Blu-ray): Still need to scratch that dark comedy itch? University of Texas grad Todd Berger has your back. Read our review here.
Breaking Bad Season Five (AMC, 3-disc set, $55.99): Just in time for the first of the final eight episodes to premiere on Aug. 11, you can mainline the first half of AMC's insane drama starting … now.
A Good Day to Die Hard (20th Century Fox, $39.99 Blu-ray, $29.98 DVD): "Yipee ki-yay, Mother Russia." Read our review here.