Published on June 23rd, 2012 | by Ernie Estrella2
‘Wilfred’ Interview: Elijah Wood Still Sees Dog People in Season 2
In The Dog House
Among the returning guest stars include Dwight Yoakam, the aforementioned Bruce character, and Mary Steenburgen will be back as well as Ryan’s mother, who Wood feels has the right amount of madness and sweetness in the character to give great insight as to where Ryan comes from.
The mystery of Bear continues to baffle and fascinate viewers. The oversized stuffed bear is a throw-away joke to some, while others have gone so far to think it’s the key to understanding what Wilfred ultimately is. Then there are those who want to know what gender Bear is. In Wood’s mind, Bear’s gender will never be defined but assured fans that it will be feature more this season.
“Bear really comes into its own,” Wood explained. “What’s so interesting about the relationship between Wilfred and Bear, is that Bear is to Wilfred, as Wilfred is to Ryan in a way, and it’s clearly something that’s internally happening with Wilfred. We definitely explore that a little bit more this season.”
I asked Wood about the return of Chris Klein as Jenna’s boyfriend/fiancée Drew who in the early episodes of Season 2 reveals himself to be a potential harmful influence on Wilfred while Jenna’s not quite right either as the mistaken pregnancy pushed their relationship into an uncomfortable place.
“Drew represents what Ryan doesn’t have,” said Wood. “There’s this infatuation with Jenna, and there is a battle in his head about Drew, and what he gets and what he doesn’t get.”
Work and Play
Last season there was a dance between what was real and what was hallucinated. Personally, I believe the new mystery for Season 2 is Ryan’s job. We find our troubled protagonist suddenly working for a biotech startup, and I wondered how this new employment fits in with Ryan’s recovery, how it offers an escape from Wilfred, and how it gives him an opportunity to establish new connections, as well as, fill the speculation of what’s real and what’s fantasy.
“It certainly is,” Wood replied. “It’s the first time that we see Ryan in the workplace interacting with other people, having responsibility, accepting being a lawyer again, getting out of his house, really, literally and interact with other people and grow, and not so much to stay away from Wilfred, but to grow as a human being to psychologically be healthy enough to be in a workplace with other people. It was the most logical place for us to go, I think.”
Two of the new connections Ryan makes are with his boss, Jeremy Caufield, played by Steven Weber (Wings), who launches his company after becoming an Internet billionaire and Kevin Ghesquire (Rob Riggle). Another is with Allison Mack’s character, Amanda, a biochemist at the startup who Wood says represents a sense of normalcy, a “connection to someone that isn’t Wilfred, that isn’t Jenna, that does not represent the immediate world around them, and it represents a major step forward for him.”
I think Amanda is much more realistic [pursuit] for Ryan. Jenna is an infatuation and I think Allison’s character represents the possibility of a real connection with someone who’s available and I think she might understand him and get him in a way that Jenna may not. Allison is fantastic. She’s a beautiful, very soulful individual and a very wise individual and I think imbues the character with that. As much as she’s also a hot co-worker, there’s real depth to Allison as a person that she brings to the role.”
But Ryan must also try to repair the bridges he destroyed along the way, especially mend his relationship with his sister Kristen (Dorian Brown), who will return from her trip to India–with baby–after driving a wedge in her marriage. Will she come back having found enlightenment or even more bitter and cynical? We’ll find out. And even though Ryan’s father has only been spoken about in the past, he will continue to come up as a theme that needs to be explored.
“Ryan’s father obviously has a major role to play in Ryan’s difficult psychology and the head space that he’s in. He’s not proud of that led him to the place that he’s in, and the shadow of his father, is felt a lot in this season.”
Smoke, Wilfy. Smoke! Good Dog.
Not everything will be about the multiple layers of the show, the several relationships that spoke out of Ryan’s life, or the cerebral themes of the show. Wood says that Wilfred is all of that, and Season 2 will explore these roads and inlays, but at the end of they day, “it can also be enjoyed on this level of just being hilarious; that it’s also a guy and another guy in a dog suit sitting around smoking pot. So that’s intrinsically funny as well. It’s definitely unique and I don’t think that there’s anything quite like it on television.”
Wood is correct, and I believe because of its unfamiliar wrapping, some viewers who have been slow to latch on don’t know quite how to respond because they’re expecting something that’s more defined or packaged as a traditional comedy. It’s so far from what is typically drawn up as a comedy and yet fills so much of what’s needed in genre–a refreshing air of originality and creativity.
One more thing that Wood is excited to experience again is invading people’s living rooms with the show and hearing the instant feedback from Twitter, something that’s not felt in film because the release of a feature is so far down the road from when it’s finished shooting, it suddenly arrives and then goes away. Not so with television.
“It was the thing that was kind of happening every week and that people were constantly reacting to, and it was an enjoyable experience and I’m looking forward to people seeing it again and reacting to more of what we’ve done.”
Neither can we.
Tune into FX Thursday, June 28 at 10pm ET/PT for the “real” Season 2 premiere of Wilfred.
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