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Dog days of summer

"A dog is a man's best friend" is a concept that has been emulated countless times in life, literature and film. Some of the more prominent examples of dogs that symbolize this idea include Lassie, Scooby Doo, and Dug from "Up." Now, TV and film writers have begun to explore a much more different view of this everyday pet. While characters like these are good and wholesome examples for children, the recent premiere of FX's "Wilfred" has provided a much darker version of a man and his so-called best friend.

After a failed suicide attempt, Ryan, played by Elijah Wood, is given a new lease on life through the time he spends with his neighbor's dog Wilfred, played by Jason Gann. What makes this relationship unique is that while everyone else sees a normal dog, Ryan sees a crude and obnoxious Australian man wearing a dog suit who drinks, smokes and dishes out his own brand of "animal" justice. Through the time they spend together, Ryan learns from Wilfred how to walk on the wild side and that sometimes it is ok to live like an animal.

"Wilfred" is so entertaining because it offers an alternative view of the mind of a dog and how he is willing to help his master. While Wilfred is driven by his animal instincts such as hunger and irritation, he is also very keen on human nature and how to properly motivate and manipulate Ryan into trying new things whether it is telling a girl how he feels or standing up to a bully. Instances like these touch on key issues like trust and fear in ways that are not only dark and demented, but downright hilarious.

With a TV-MA rating, "Wilfred" is clearly not for all audiences, but can be enjoyed by those who can appreciate witty and vulgar humor as well as frequently mentioned taboo issues like drug use, sex and racial stereotypes. For those with an open mind and an appetite for insanity, "Wilfred" is nothing short of a must see on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. With nearly 2 million viewers per episode, it goes without saying that there is something worth watching about a crazy man in a dog suit.

Christopher Spall can be reached at


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