Wilfred Season 1-05 ‘Respect’ Recap

Ryan isn’t getting any respect from anyone in this episode of the quirky dark comedy Wilfred, including himself. Wilfred, the obnoxious Australian man-dog, thinks he’s not getting any respect either, and takes a walk on the dark side of geriatric care.

While at lunch with cute next door neighbor Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann), Ryan realizes he’s not doing anything with his life. A super-successful friend stops by for a chat about all his volunteer work in Africa. When the friend asks Ryan what he’s doing, Jenna jumps in and says that he used to be a very powerful lawyer, but he’s taking some time off. It bothers Ryan that Jenna had to defend him, and that people see him as a loser.

Ryan, with Wilfred in tow, goes to a retirement home/hospice so he can volunteer to help the oldies, and do something people will notice and respect him for. Even though Wilfred tells him it’s a bad idea, and that the only opinion that should matter to Ryan is his own, Ryan doesn’t give up on his plan.

Meanwhile, Wilfred is getting tired of everyone telling him what to do, especially Ryan who never lets him have cheese because it makes him gaseous. He doesn’t care for the retirement home at first, but when he is caught sleeping next to an old person who dies, everyone in the hospice thinks Wilfred has a special power to detect who is dying (like that famous cat).

This catapults both of them into the limelight, as Jenna decides she wants to come to the retirement home and do a TV interview and special on Wilfred. Wilfred’s new-found power goes right to his head. He uses his new “celebrity” status to tell Ryan that he can do whatever he wants, and he does.

But when Ryan walks in on him just after someone has died, and Wilfred has a pillow in his hands, Ryan suspects him of doing the unthinkable to maintain his status. When Wilfred becomes impossible to deal with, developing a God complex, Ryan decides to stop him no matter the cost. He realizes that worrying about what other people think about him is going to drive him crazy, and make him do things that compromise who he is.

In a mock dramatic scene on the roof of the hospice, a storm raging in the background no less, Wilfred announces that he is God. And then Ryan concedes that he was wrong, and the only thing that matters is how he feels about himself and that he’s going to expose Wilfred and the truth.

But before he can tell the sad denizens of the hospice and Jenna and her film crew, a nurse is discovered to have been stealing drugs and suddenly all attention is turned away from Ryan and Wilfred, ending the climactic situation for them both.

This episode is weaker than previous episodes, despite the fun roof scene which I’m sure Wilfred actor Jason Gann loved. The script grew pretty heavy-handed when it came to solving Ryan’s self-esteem/respect issue. Instead of using biting satire to approach the theme, this episode relied on flat platitudes and a beating-him-over-the-head attack.

Elijah Wood was up to his usual standard playing Ryan, the vulnerable every-man who just wants to do the right thing. We did get more of a look at Jenna’s character in this episode, and by the looks of the preview for next week, we’ll be seeing even more of her.