As a sitcom, the original version of Wilfred never really quite worked. Chief amongst the problems was this: if you expect audiences to suspend their disbelief when it comes to such logic flaws as “Why is Adam the only one who can talk to Wilfred?” and “Why does Adam put up with both his bitch girlfriend and her pain in the arse mutt?” you should reward them with lots of laughs. It’s one of the principles of comedy: you can get away with anything, no matter how outrageous or ridiculous, if it’s funny; but if no one laughs you’re sunk.
Clearly the US remakers spotted this flaw with the original programme, so have introduced a little logic to the premise – protagonist Ryan, in his depressed and suicidal state, could be seeing things, or mentally ill, or something like that. In fact it’s all a bit Fight Club, with Wilfred playing a sort of psychopathic alter ego to Ryan, who both drives him crazy and allows him to live his dreams. You should be able to get some dark comedy out of that idea, right?
Well, no. We’ve only seen episode 1 so far (thanks, internet!), but Wilfred US seems like the same almost laugh-free zone that the Zwar/Gann original was. There’s only so dark you can make a sitcom before it becomes a psychological horror film, where you’re screaming at the protagonist to get the hell out of there before it gets too bad. We can only hope this somehow turns out to be funny, although it’s hard to image how.