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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this adult cable comedy series relies upon vulgarity, stereotypes, and sexual innuendo for most of its humor. The language is questionable throughout with no bleeping of even the strongest words ("ass, "s--t," "p---y," etc.). Scatological and culturally offensive jokes are peppered throughout the dialogue, from both the lead and supporting characters. Heavy recreational drug use from the lead characters is frequently depicted on screen. The tone of the show's humor is unrepentantly dark.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ryan (Elijah Wood) is having a hard time of it -- so hard, in fact, that he's ready to end it all. After a night of failed suicide attempts, his cute new neighbor comes by to ask a favor -- would he be willing to dogsit for her while the exterminator is over? And so Ryan meets WILFRED, the series' title character. Wilfred (Jason Gann) is a dog. Everyone else in Ryan's universe sees him as a dog. But when Ryan sees Wilfred, he sees a surly, vulgar, insightful guy in a dog suit. Wilfred eats chips, drinks beer, smokes cigarettes, and also happens to enjoy the typical behavior of any other red-blooded American dog, including chasing cars and licking faces. As Ryan's world disintegrates around his new relationship with a talking dog, he also begins to learn the value of abandoning what his family expects him to be, and instead pursuing what he really wants for his life.
Is it any good?
There's the germ of a great comedy series at the heart of Wilfred, which takes the term "high concept" to a whole new level. A talking dog that gives a sad-sack single dude advice, especially one with as much personality as actor Jason Gann brings to the role, could have a long life on cable as an underground cult hit. But the show has too much cheap vulgarity and inexplicable racial humor to properly support its clever concept.
When it comes to cable shows, there are still moments when it feels as though writers have a certain quota to fill on scatological jokes, swear words, and sexual innuendo in order to get a paycheck. Wilfred often feels as though it's merely trying to provide cheap shocks and occasional laughs, rather than anything more substantial. If the occasional laughs were more plentiful, or even if the offensive jokes were at least funny, that might help redeem the show. Instead, Wilfred is a dog -- both the character and the show.
Talk to your kids about ...
For kids who love comedy
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.