This week Wilfred studies the concept of the alpha male and dominance, as Ryan finds himself becoming jealous of cute next door neighbor Jenna’s boyfriend. Man-dog Wilfred hates Jenna’s boyfriend Drew, and launches a campaign to rope Ryan into destroying him.
Wilfred is usually the obnoxious existential wizard to Ryan’s everyman push-over, but this episode sees Wilfred completely cowed by Jenna’s alpha-male boyfriend. Wilfred can’t bear not being the alpha male, and he manipulates Ryan into breaking Jenna and Drew up.
Drew is a long-distance boyfriend, and when he comes for a visit, Ryan has to face some competitive posturing and Wilfred’s mad pursuit to get rid of Drew and regain his control. After a few head hits with a newspaper, and a natural alpha-male dominance, Drew has Wilfred just where he wants him. Drew lets everyone know who is in charge, and his competitive spirit borders on the insane.
Against his better judgment, and his conscience, Ryan is pulled into Wilfred’s scheming. Ryan knows Jenna is in love with Drew, but Wilfred convinces him that Drew is wrong for her. Ryan hatches a plan to tempt Drew into a competitive game to reveal his inner-asshole, and successfully breaks them up.
Ryan then tries to turn the tables on Wilfred and be the dominant one. He also announces that he must follow his conscience and he will do what he has to do to get Drew and Jenna back together. He’s tired of Wilfred manipulating him into doing things he doesn’t want to do.
He follows some of Drew’s examples, using a newspaper to swat Wilfred on the face and demands he obey. Wilfred sulks and leaves, but then secretly puts a piece of chocolate cake on Ryan’s table with a note that it’s from Jenna. As Ryan eats the cake, he gets a call from Wilfred (putting on a fabulously funny mad-scientist voice) who says that he will not give up his alpha status without a fight.
Wilfred then tells Ryan that he has poisoned him with the cake and a neurotoxin called theobromine. Ryan finds Wilfred in the basement standing over a smoking chemistry set. When things start catching on fire, Ryan saves Wilfred’s life. Ryan gets Drew and Jenna back together and feels better about himself. He follows his conscience, and he also explains to Wilfred that he never wanted to dominate him, he just didn’t want to be dominated.
Wilfred can’t understand humans, and he goes to the hospital with Ryan. The doctor tells Ryan his toxicity lab came back negative, and when Ryan tells him about the theobromine, the doctor said it is a chemical in chocolate and totally innocuous…unless he was a dog.
This episode was one of the funniest yet, and was completely on target. The humor was witty and sharp, and not overly crude. The whole alpha male/male domination theme was hilarious, and Wilfred was at his wittiest as a dethroned alpha male. The chocolate poisoning bit was hysterical, and accented the strange bizarro world that Ryan and Wilfred inhabit, sharing outlooks from two separate universes.
Jason Gann was on top form as Wilfred, with a script this week full of the snide comments he does so well. There were also some great pop culture references, and Wilfred got to hump his giant teddy bear a-plenty and do some other physical dog/man comedy bits.
Elijah Wood was spot on as the unassuming sweet guy Ryan, and we got to see more of neighbor Jenna than ever. Played by Fiona Gubelmann, Jenna is a major player in this episode and we get to see her fun but honest nature.
Guest starring as Jenna’s boyfriend, Chris Klein (American Pie) played Drew with convincing testosterone-laced crazy. Looks like he will have a recurring role on the show, as his character got back together with Jenna at the end of this episode.
Not sure if next week’s episode can top this one, which may go down as the best of the season. If you are going to start watching Wilfred (which is extremely episodic), it wouldn’t hurt to start with this episode and then go back to the beginning. You won’t regret it.