FX also has Louie, about the difficult life of New York comedian Louis C.K. It's not really that difficult, but Louie makes it so, seeing too deeply for his own good into relationships with women, friends, and his children. The press kit for the second season shows him walking Broadway in SoHo with a big cloud about 6 inches above his head.
Louis, who got tired of spelling his actual last name, Szekely, for telephone clerks years ago, returns for his second season at 10:30 p.m. Thursday on FX. Basically, he has carte blanche to write, direct, produce, and edit his show any way he wants. It's about one-fourth stand-up, with the rest vignettes from his supposed life.
"I like Mama's better [than staying with you]," his 5-year-old daughter tells him at the beginning of an episode, "because she makes good food, and I love her more."
I'd love to give you an idea of some of the jokes in Wilfred, but they generally involve language that's not allowed in a newspaper. Three of George Carlin's seven forbidden words are sprinkled liberally through the show, along with many other profanities and obscenities, some of which Carlin may have never considered, since he was an American, and Wilfred is Australian.
Jason Gann, who cocreated and starred in Wilfred in Australia, plays the dog, and goes the distance in reinforcing the stereotype of rough-and-tumble Aussie men.
He prefers weed to beer and smokes a prodigious amount of it, at the same time he's smoking cigarettes. With his sharp canine nose, he finds a whole roomful of marijuana growing in a neighbor's house. The neighbor is played by Ethan Suplee, who played ultra-slacker brother Randy on My Name Is Earl. Compared to the character on Wilfred, Randy was Cary Grant.
Elijah Wood leaves the plucky Frodo behind to become Wilfred's hapless neighbor Ryan, such a sad sack that he fails at suicide just before the two meet.
The man/dog is forever encouraging Ryan to be more spontaneous and less fearful, and you could speculate that the vision is some sort of coping technique, but that would take way too much energy.
Wilfred gets Ryan to break into the awful neighbor's house and steal a pot plant. They leave similar souvenirs in each of his boots. For the man, it's supposed to be a liberating experience. For the dog, it's basically the only souvenir he can leave.
Man and man/dog build a bond, as Ryan learns about loyalty, trust, fear, and other basic life conditions and emotions that are so difficult for humans, but come so naturally to dogs.
Most TV viewers won't like Wilfred or Louie, but I think the network will go and fetch a certain segment of the audience that will find Thursdays at 10 p.m. on FX to be their favorite hour of TV all week.
Thursday on FX
10:30 p.m. Thursday on FX
Contact television critic Jonathan Storm at 215-854-5618 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/jonathanstorm.