8.4

Wilfred Review: “Avoidance” (Episode 2.06)

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<i>Wilfred</i> Review: &#8220;Avoidance&#8221; (Episode 2.06)

It’s always surprising to me when I hear the word “ejaculate” used on TV, let alone several times in a 20-minute span. Even more surprising is that it’s probably a first for Wilfred, a show that has come to define itself through often crude and definitely shocking humor.

But wait, let’s slow things down or I’m going to finish this review too fast. Ryan runs into his best friend James from law school, but an old grudge keeps him from making amends. He avoids James’ attempts at friendship, instead opting to spend time with Wilfred. Episode 6 really puts the dance in “Avoidance,” as the pair prepare for a doggy dance recital. True to nerdy white boy stereotypes everywhere, Ryan has no rhythm. After sharing some deeply personal (and slightly rapey) stories, Ryan and Wilfred perform awkward dance montages all over town. But just when the two are finally hitting their stride, Wilfred pulls a muscle in his groin. Ryan offers a quick massage to work out the knot with a less than happy ending. For him.

After Wilfred’s accidental slump-and-pump, things get a little awkward. Ryan finally agrees to hang out with James, if only to escape Wilfred. But his canine friend isn’t willing to let him go so easily. He’s demanding his post-dance “treat,” and he’s not afraid to get physical to get it. Eventually, Ryan works things out with both James and Wilfred by simply talking through the issue.

“Avoidance,” like most Wilfred episodes, continues its tradition of following a theme. Unlike its past few episodes, it does so without feeling completely formulaic. Its flow is much more successful, and for the first time in a few episodes it feels more like a sitcom and less like a conflict-solution-moral show. The episode has a lot of focus on “rapey humor,” but this is one instance where it actually works—because Wilfred is a dog. It’s not threatening in the normal sense, but rather diminished to that awkward moment when your friend’s dog humps your leg. And thanks to “Avoidance,” I can finally say I’ve seen Elijah Wood’s awkward dance moves.

But better than the episode’s jokes are the sinister implications surrounding Ryan’s father. As James tells Ryan, his father would do anything to get him back. Could this be Wilfred’s first villain? The show is woefully devoid of a serious antagonist up to this point. Let’s see what daddy can do.

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