The dog throws us a bone

The second episode of Wilfred (US) took a turn for the better this week with Wilfred’s passive/aggressive bullying of Ryan toned down a lot, and the show generally feeling more like a reluctant buddy comedy. From The Odd Couple to Red Dwarf to Mother & Son, countless sitcoms have generated laughs from begrudging respect and forced interaction, and guess what, so did this one.

In this episode (and now’s the time to get out of here if you don’t want spoilers) Ryan decides that the best way to get to hot next door neighbour Jenna is through Wilfred, so when Jenna complains that Wilfred won’t go to the dentist with her Ryan eagerly volunteers to take on the task, tricking Wilfred into believing that the two of them are going to have a fun day at the movies. But upon discovering Ryan’s trick, Wilfred takes revenge by ruining any chance Ryan has of wooing Jenna. And then to cap it all off, Jenna’s boyfriend appears. Roll credits.

This show isn’t going to win any awards for originality – this is all standard sitcom plotting – or indeed for hilarity (although this episode was a lot funnier than last week’s), but now that the premise is actually one that you can laugh at, it’s looking like this show could be a reasonable second-tier sitcom.

It’s also interesting to note that all the things that were wrong with the Zwar/Gann original – the characters and premise that didn’t really work, the oppressive darkness of tone, the lack of gags – have mostly been fixed in just two episodes. No wonder TV fans in this country are constantly forsaking local product for US shows; American writers can make anything work.

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