Third-episode verdict: Wilfred

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Thursdays, 10pm, FX
In the UK: Acquired by BBC3 for Autumn broadcast

Wilfred is surreal. Obviously, you gathered that from the fact it’s about a regular guy (Elijah Wood) who perceives his next-door neighbour’s dog to be an Australian guy in an unconvincing dog suit. But Wilfred is actively surreal, surreal in the old-style sense of unsettling one’s perspective on reality. As well as the fact no one ever acknowledges the fact Wilfred is really a swearing bong-smoker with opposable thumbs, this is a show in which Dune is quoted and Wood has prophetic dreams. It’s strange.

So after the funny first episode in which the show is set up, things dip slightly with the second episode, in which Wilfred’s doggie personality is explored more over the issue of trust. This lacked the subtlety of the first episode but was still entertaining. But with our third episode, things took off once again, into the dark, with Wilfred’s attempts to turn Wood is a stronger, less fearful individual resulting in a bizarre confrontation with his other next door neighbour (My Name Is Earl‘s Ethan Suplee) that leads to Wilfred poledancing in a strip club, amongst other things.

Again, the show’s creators do a good job of blending WIlfred’s human and doggy characteristics, with Wilfred mesmerised by a laser pointer at one point, and believing the story given to him by animal control that’s he going off to live on a beautiful farm.

While it’s not side-splitting, Wilfred is just so mesmerisingly odd and original, it’s entirely worth watching the show just to see Wood go through Wilfred’s Tyler Durden-style mentoring in all its surreal splendour. Tune it, enjoy but prepare to be slightly frightened by the whole experience.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: As dark as FX’s normal output but significantly more interesting and more entertaining, this should run and run.