Friday, July 22, 2011

‘Wilfred’ Recap (Season 1, Episode 5): Hipsters & Hospice


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This week’s theme is respect. Respect thyself. Eating lunch with dreamgirl-Jenna, it’s odd that Ryan doesn’t know what day it is. Jenna sees a friend, who talks about how he built houses in Africa. Cue Ryan inadequacy. As an aside, haha! A girl with a clipboard thinks Ryan is homeless. When your day starts with this much shit shoveled onto you, you have to believe there’s nowhere to go but up. Ryan explains that he wants to earn himself respect, so volunteer work it is. Wilfred is skeptical, natch.
Flying in from the land of good news and unicorns though, Rashida Jones is guest-starring as Lisa, a hospice nurse! Oh, dangit, she’s wearing gigantic, unbecoming glasses that even the most tight-sphinctered hipster would slap off of a Starbucks barrista in disgust. It’s called meta-sarcasm, you’ve probably never heard of it. First Harry Potterends and now they make Rashida Jones act like a venti-grade bitch — hasn’t our nation suffered enough this week?!
I like it when Wilfred complains that Ryan doesn’t let him do anything. These are the moments when I become more and more certain that the doggie is just the mouthpiece for Ryan’s unfulfilled id. Wilfred goes on with further displeasure when the two of them smoke a fatty-boombatty on the hospice roof, insisting that Ryan only does things because he wants to be admired, not because he’s actually compelled. He ain’t got no self-respect.
Wilfred does score Ryan some points with Lisa when he predicts that one of the old folks is going to die. There was a hellcat (like, probably, an actual cat from Tartarus) that did this in real life, sleeping on patients’ beds, who would die shortly after. Ryan takes Wilfred’s prediction the absolute wrong way and sees an opportunity to utilize Wilfred’s abilities and appeal. Lisa is bitchy and honest, which I feel is only made possible by the infinite snark-face her hipster glasses endows her with, and goddammit, I hate them! People, take note, hipsterismdom can destroy all human-appeal. Don’t be a snarky, pretentious Debbie-downer with no real ambition. Ryan wants to look like he’s giving a shit for reasons vague even to himself and the lies about Wilfred’s abilities to predict the patients’ deaths digs them into a deeper hole. This is the quietest, most effective blend of moment-to-moment joke telling that I’d always hoped the show would reach. Wilfred rampaging around the hospice is relentless and Elijah Wood, the poor guy whose character seems to have so little fun on the show, is growing paler and more guilt-stricken as the minutes pass.
Things snowball even further when Jenna wants to do a news story about Wilfred’s so-called death-prediction gift, which is half coincidences and half him smothering octogenarians with pillows, all at Ryan’s request, mind you, who wants people to be impressed. Plus, Wilfred gets cheese in return, as per his demands, but whenever the two of them make deals like this, Wilfred inevitably back-stabs his human protege.
“This is what you wanted, right, Ryan? To be a well-regarded douchebag?” Wilfred, your wisdom, sir, is like the second coming of Chewbacca. Ryan can’t fake this humility in front of Jenna and Lisa, regretful git that he is. “What would Wilfred do, Ryan?”
Snort something white and teach Ryan a lesson, that’s what! Yay!
Confrontation time! On the roof, in the rain, Wilfred insists that the old people were praying to him to come and kill them, to put them out of their misery. Typing that last sentence, I realize that this man-dog-god is a cruel, creepy enigma. Sometimes he’s a great influence on Ryan, other times though, he’s the absolute last sort of entity that should be involved in a formerly-suicidal man’s life. He might be his best friend. He might be his best thoughts come to life. He might be harsh advice with bad timing. One of the other hospice nurses kills herself right before Ryan is about to go on-air — Ryan suspects that it might have been Wilfred that pushed the nurse off the roof, the truth of which is never made entirely clear.
And then the episode just kind of ends. Ryan doesn’t get a chance to regain his self-respect, Jenna goes with the new story about the allegedly-suicidal nurse, who they think was stealing drugs, but was actually just Wilfred using the nurse’s keycard. This is much to Lisa’s chagrin, as it will be bad press for the hospice. Then the episode ends. Without closure.

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