Wilfred “Resistance” and “Happiness (Series Finale) Reviews

Instead of separating these last two reviews…I’ll do them together. One last giant, wonderful review for a wonderful piece of television. Wilfred has always been a show under the radar. It’s far too weird to possibly become popular with a mainstream audience but has a decent enough cult following where it managed to get four seasons somehow and those four seasons have been spectacular fun, pure surrealism, on-point poignancy, and just the right amount of sentimentality. It managed to balance so many things without tumbling over. Most shows can barely do that. Most shows either tack on over the top sentimentality to add story to their jokes or go for pure jokes (which is okay…the pure jokes one anyhow). And this is the precise reason I’m going to miss this show and why this review is just going to be an orgy of love for the show.

The first episode begins with Jenna and Ryan still struggling on the news of Wilfred’s cancer. Ryan still wants to help Wilfred get better by making him eat better but Wilfred feels okay with dying since his job as a God is done-he got Jenna and Ryan together. Ryan, Jenna, and Wilfred go visit his Mom and they learn about eastern medicine that could potentially help Wilfred but Jenna doesn’t really want to have that kind of false hope and sees no point in it…and then Drew shows back up…oh boy. Drew is over because Jenna’s mom told him about Wilfred dying, he has nowhere to stay and is going to stay with Ryan but Wilfred does some typical antics and kills a squirrel and leaves the head on the couch where Drew was going to stay. (That shit was fucked up, man. OH GOD I’M GOING TO MISS YOUR STUPID ANTICS, WILFRED!) Drew is then invited to stay with Jenna and Wilfred freaks the fuck out in the basement with Ryan in a scene where I wasn’t sure of whether to laugh/get emotional/both all at once especially once Wilfred starts to have a seizure of some sorts.

Wilfred is in the hospital and they are officially putting him to sleep but Ryan has one last sequence with him as they say their goodbyes in the setting of the painting in the basement. The sequence is beautifully emotional, poignant, and wonderfully done and isn’t fearful of its sentimentality. It is on-point for all the right reasons. We then see one of the biggest jaw dropping moments of the show as we see Wilfred as an actual dog post-death, not a human in a dog costume, a real fucking dog. Like jeez. That came out of fucking nowhere. But I loved it. I especially loved the crane shot giving us a perfect view of everything. That scene nearly brought me to tears. (It might be worth noting that this is a show about a human who sees a dog as a guy in a dog costume in case you forgot…which would be kind of weird considering you must have seen the episodes if you’re reading this. Otherwise, what the hell are you doing reading this?)

Ryan finds out that Jenna and Drew are going to stay together and that Drew already got a new damn dog! (SERIOUSLY WAY TOO FUCKING SOON, BRO!!!!!) Ryan is obviously pissed off about the whole thing and is sick of being played over and over again by her. And this is actually the last time we see Jenna and Drew. It is a bit…depressing. And what I mean by that is in the end; Jenna and Drew don’t come across as the greatest people in the world (neither is Ryan though). Jenna kinda just throws Ryan away and these fuckers get a new dog immediately! (I still can’t get over that. WILFRED IS TOO FUCKING COOL TO BE REPLACED SO QUICKLY!) But seriously, I think Jenna leaving Ryan was far too important to the plot and actually needed to happen. It isn’t forceful and actually works pretty well. Sure, it does make it seem like them getting together was a bit pointless but Wilfred wouldn’t be a “God” otherwise. Everything matters. That is why this show is pretty damn great.

The last part of this episode is Ryan running along the beach as a charming montage plays with a wonderful song pick and we get clips of some of the happier moments between him and Wilfred. Again, I was almost moved to tears. I give so many shits about these two characters and that shows how well written this crazy show is. It also ends with Ryan throwing the tennis ball he used to use to play with Wilfred into the water. And then the obligatory…”to be continued”. As a whole, this was one of my favorite episodes of the entire show. I honestly liked this episode better than the series finale (which was great…we’ll get on with that in a minute). It had some of biggest emotional factors of the entire show and is one of the episodes that make me realize how much I’m going to miss this show. Essentially, the episode last week and this episode were the “Ozymandias” and “Granite State” (Breaking Bad) and the series finale is “Felina” (Also Breaking Bad). “Felina” essentially being an epilogue-esque episode answering the few questions left but not the most emotional on point episode because it doesn’t need to be. (Did I just fucking compare Wilfred to Breaking Bad? I mean I’m not claiming either show is better than the other…but uh, I don’t think they are very comparable but I somehow managed to do it…what?)

Shit, we still have an entire other episode to talk about! Ryan is about to kill himself again in a scene that seems like they are just replaying a clip from the first episode but nope, HE’S FUCKING TRYING TO KILL HIMSELF AGAIN! He sorta realizes everything just turned to shit without Jenna or Wilfred. Ryan’s mom visits before he can totally do the deed and she mentions how she believes pets are basically for that specific person and go to another person and make them happy when they die which leads to Ryan questioning her about The Flock of the Grey Shepherds…and we finally get the answers. Ryan’s mom got involved with the cult after not being able to handle the life of a mother (she had Kristen thus far) and was isolated from Ryan’s “father” except his real father was actually the leader of the cult since she was isolated from his actual “father.” The cult leader died in jail (but not really) but Ryan’s mom and his “father” eventually got back together and he adopted Ryan. I think this answer to The Flock of the Grey Shepherds was really sufficient to be honest, it feels real enough and doesn’t seem so outlandish or out of left field. It was a really good answer to an important question the show needed to answer. AND THEN WILFRED JUST SOMEHOW MAGICALLY FUCKING SHOWS UP AGAIN!

Wilfred has come back as a God/ghost type of thing (Ryan is the only one who can see him) but he is pretty pissed about Jenna and Ryan breaking up which killed the entire point of bringing happiness as a God. Wilfred then brings him to the blue barn from that trippy ass sequence from earlier in the season (which that sequence sorta just remains as a trippy ass sequence, right? It wasn’t really answered what the hell that was about but it was just another crazy, surreal moment in this crazy, surreal show, I suppose). Ryan meets someone…a man…it’s HIS FUCKING FATHER WHO IS TOTALLY NOT DEAD!

His father tells him about the cult and how it’s a whole bunch of bullshit. He was a sick man telling people sick, unreal things, which makes enough sense since that is what every cult is. A pretty awesome montage is shown of previous scenes with Wilfred and Ryan throughout the seasons where Wilfred is an actual dog instead of his human/dog costume self. I really think this montage helps play with the notion that this COULD still all be bullshit. Ryan could just totally be an insane man who saw this dog due to a mental disorder. (And hell, he might be. We really don’t know in the end.)  It fucks with you a good way and is answered within the episode (unlike some of the other annoying, trippy shit in the show which can be entertaining but was starting to run its course by this season). Ryan flips the fuck out at Wilfred and yells that he isn’t real and starts to drive away.

Ryan tries to avoid Wilfred for weeks on end and Wilfred eventually disappears which once again, plays with the notion that this is all in his head but of course, that is far too simple. There is no way that it could end with it all being one big mental illness. Ryan is talking to his sister on a bench by the pier and sees Wilfred once again after seemingly letting go of him. He decides to run home and see if he is there…he isn’t…at first, he wishes for him to come back and he does, he can’t have a life without Wilfred, it makes his life far too ordinary and he has no real reason for living without him, and he wants him back despite the consequences. It’s pretty charming to see how important Wilfred is to Ryan. Ryan has become so incredibly attached to him that a life without him really is boring as all hell. You can even see it in the conversations he has with his sister or most of the people around him, the conservations are drab compared to the craziness that is Wilfred. Wouldn’t you rather smoke a Gatorade bong with a dog? Or fuck a toy giraffe or bear with a dog? Or just do the craziest shit as possible with a dog? (Now that I think about it…most of that doesn’t sound that enticing…but fiction made it seem like it was…)

Ryan looks down at the basement one last time…but it isn’t shown although I think it’s easy to assume the basement is real and isn’t some bullshit place but we can never know for sure. (I mean Ryan did smile though. He could still be totally crazy.) But wouldn’t it be boring as shit if we knew for sure Ryan was crazy? It simply doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Ryan is a happy motherfucker with a crazy man in a dog costume/actual dog/God/ghost. Who gives a flying fuck if he wants to live out his days with Wilfred? It brings him joy, ya know? They go to the beach together and are back to the good old days of them simply hanging out together. The tennis ball Ryan threw in the water magically rolls back on shore. He looks at it and smiles. Everything’s good. Cut to credits. It may seem kind of easy to go this route but this is the exact ending I’d want. I don’t want Ryan to be some miserable insane man. I’d rather he spend his days with Wilfred (who is the person who brought him happiness instead of Jenna) and be happy as fuck. Some cynics will probably find the ending too sentimental and easy. Fuck that. I loved it. It is the exact lighthearted ending that I wanted while also managing to answer the tough questions the show put out.

I will miss this show. So. Fucking. Much. I only began watching it on TV during its third season and it has easily become one of my favorite shows ever. I only started reviewing it three episodes into this season (and I really wish I had started reviewing it a long time ago). It never was afraid to be too weird. It was darkly humorous. (WILFRED FUCKING KILLED AN OLD LADY? DOES ANY ONE REMEMBER HOW HORRIBLY HILARIOUS THAT WAS?) Yet, (and this is what almost ALL dark comedies fail to do), it had heart. Lots of fucking heart. It was sentimental in a truly beautiful, brotherly way. In the end, Wilfred was a show about happiness. What is it that truly makes you happy? Proceed forward with that even if it is talking to a crazy dog. (Okay, you might actually want to see a doctor if you have that problem in real life.) It strayed away from the cynical nature of misanthropic television shows that fill television. It was a “cautiously” optimistic, surreal, dark, beautiful, and well put together show that will forever have a special place in my heart. I’ll miss you, Wilfred. Thanks to the entire cast and crew who kept this show going for all four seasons. I applaud you. You’ve brought plenty of happiness to plenty of others and myself with this strange, strange show. And I don’t want to end this review but I guess I probably should. (I mean it’s already long as shit.) Thanks to the crazy people who actually read this entire thing too. Post in the comments. Discuss. I wanna talk about this amazing show with all of you.

Funniest moments (there wasn’t an extreme amount of jokes in these episodes for obvious reasons, questions needed to be answered but regardless, they managed to fit a few jokes in):

  • Wilfred finding happiness in that pair of tits was beautiful. Seriously. That is some beautiful shit right there.
  • “Looks like a good place to curb stomp ducks.” This made me laugh so hard and I still don’t know why considering how beautifully fucked up it is. God, I love this show.
  • “Got ya!” Wilfred faking his death is probably THE WORST thing he has ever done to Ryan (but it was totally going to happen).
  • Wilfred eating that bird made me laugh far too much.
  • The repressed Uncle Larry memory is some seriously fucked up shit. I mean I’m assuming he uh, jizzed right in front of him, right? What the hell is wrong with you, Uncle Larry?


Author of this post (and every post thus far and maybe forever more):

Jesse Jordon is an aspiring comedic writer/filmmaker/performer/pieceofshit who writes this garbage on these blogs to make you laugh or learn something I guess. (Wait, why did I switch from 3rd to 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) You follow him on Twitter @WhyShitSoCrazy (I mean if you want to I guess). 


5 thoughts on “Wilfred “Resistance” and “Happiness (Series Finale) Reviews

  1. Thank you for writing a nice send-off to a very under rated show. I still don’t understand why Wilfred didn’t inspire more discussion and analysis in popular culture. I agree that the show ended about as well as it could have, but I found it kind of eerily depressing.

    • Thanks to you for reading it!

      The show is far too weird and surreal for a mainstream audience that typically prefers generic sitcoms that have been overdone for years now. It’s kinda depressing but I’m glad it at least established a nice cult following 🙂

      I could see how the ending could be eerily depressing…I mean we really don’t know if Ryan is totally crazy and Wilfred is still dead? (Sort of?) But I’m just satisfied for the fact that Ryan is happy.

  2. Again, a wonderful review and a fond farewell to one of the best shows on television in recent years. I’d like to point out one thing, and that’s no mention of the actors. This, in a way is not a bad thing. The real people who brought these characters to life did their job and did it wonderfully. You said it yourself. ” I give so many shits about these two characters…” If we didn’t care, then the show would have not succeeded. Ryan, Jenna, Kristen, Drew and yes, even Wilfred were real. So I say bravo to a great cast!

    You mentioned how you only started watching Wilfred in season 3. Backing up a little, the blue barn has been a underlying part of the story since the beginning of season two. A few reviews back, I mentioned how you have to look for subtleties. In the first episode of season 2, Ryan is rushed past a painting of the blue barn but he took the time to look at it. We saw that same painting in Amanda’s apartment, more obviously in the drawing and in this year’s mind altering episode, Answers. This season we saw the actual barn and what meaning it had. In the first show of this season, Ryan again rushes into the barn but his attention turned quickly to the mailbox. Didn’t catch that? Not sure how many did. Someone was at home and Ryan’s dream or premonition recognized it. We only got to know about everything in the last two episodes. The writing in Wilfred was outstanding!

    Personally I believe the basement to be no more. Their favorite sofa is now on the beach. I tried to understand why and I think it’s because a certain part that made Wilfred, Wilfred and a part of Ryan’s psyche was dying. Ryan had to place that important piece somewhere else because he still wanted to hold on to Wilfred. After Wilfred’s death and that part of Ryan’s mind released, there was no need for the basement. That’s why I think Ryan smiled. He understood. Of course this is my interpretation and Wilfred can have multiple ones.

    It was a simple ending, which you wanted and it still had its crazy moments, like explaining the cult and the people in it. It made perfect sense and I’m happy with that. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the scenes where we see Ryan with the real dog Wilfred. That really hit home and gave me the conclusion that Ryan is delusional. In the end he just had to realize it’s OK to be that way and I’m glad he called Wilfred back into his life. Ryan couldn’t function without him but in his recovery, curbed Wilfred’s existence. Finally, Ryan taking the reigns, which in turn made him happy. I’ve had some chocked up moments during the series run and seeing the flashbacks of Wilfred and Ryan together was one of them. So poignant and emotional. It hit me that the show is over and that’s probably the saddest part of the whole thing.

    • Thanks. And I always manage to forget to mention the actors in every review I write for this show for some reason…I have no idea why, maybe I just assume everyone knows how talented they all are, haha.

      Yeah, I totally don’t remember all of that since I watched all those episodes so long ago (along with watching far too many other movies and TV shows, everything sorta just blends together at this point). I plan to eventually just rewatch the entire show over again to catch onto all the subtleties, hopefully sometime soon.

      I really do love how open to interpretation the show’s ending is while at the same time being very satisfactory. You don’t really feel like you are cheapened out by them not precisely answering everything, they didn’t leave it “ambiguous” in order to seem smarter than they were, they did it because it made total sense.

      As a whole, the show really has a lot to say on mental illness and disorders and the fact of the matter is that a lot of these disorders and illnesses can’t be simply recovered…the person has to learn to live with them and that is sort of what Ryan did. He is totally okay with living with Wilfred still being a part of him instead of entirely pushing it away. I love how such a ridiculous dark comedy managed to still say a lot of important things and be so honest in all of its emotional beats.

  3. Pingback: Musings Episode 70: Balance… | Rego's Life

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