Elijah Wood Looks Back On Four Seasons of ‘Wilfred’

Wilfred Season 4 Episode 5 Forward (1)

In the landscape of American television comedies, Wilfred stands alone. Part heady psychological exploration and part buddy comedy with a healthy helping of a man in a dog suit– Wilfred has made dark comedy both fun and entertaining. For the past four seasons, Elijah Wood has played Ryan, the guy who sees a dog as a belligerent Australian man. With Wilfred coming to an end, TV Equals joined in a conference call with Wood to discuss the evolution of Ryan, the end of Wilfred and much more.

Check out highlights from the interview below. Catch the final episodes of Wilfred, Wednesdays at 10PM on FXX.

Wood Talks His Favorite Episode

Fans still reeling from the mind-bending season four episode “Answers,” can take heart knowing Wood loved the episode as much as everyone else did. “Reading the script, it was honestly I think my favorite script that I’ve read, maybe in the entire show,” Wood said. “The thing that kind of blew my mind about the particular episode is that we actually delve into so many things that I think we as viewers, and to a certain degree Ryan, is concerned with, which is like seeing Wilfred step out of his suit. Basically, articulating all these things that are sort of deep in Ryan’s psyche, seeing them actually play out and to be able to come back from that as just something that he imagined in the hallucination is totally incredible.”

“Answers” is part of the larger picture of season four which is leading to the series’ end. It may also be prepping fans for an ending that is satisfying, but not straightforward. “I’m really pleased with how it ultimately comes to an end and I think without revealing anything I think it has a sense of being definitive whilst still plays with ambiguity, which I think is really important,” Wood said of the final episode. “I think, to a certain degree, answering, to me in some ways it’s not even about answering questions.”

On Props, Regrets and Saying Goodbye

For Wood, the most important thing he is taking away from Wilfred is the sense of family that grew amongst the cast and crew. Wilfred is unique for having a single director, Randall Einhorn, direct nearly every episode of the series, and Wood is thankful for Einhorn’s guiding vision. “We got to go to work every day and have a laugh and what a gift that was, to work with people that you love, to work with material that was constantly hilarious,” Wood reflected. “It was genuinely something I would look forward to every year, that for three months I got to go to work with these great people and have a laugh.”

Wood’s passion for the series extends so far he tried to convince a friend to build an exact replica of the basement set. As it stands, most of the furniture did end up in his friend’s home, so Wood can still hang out in the famed basement, even if it is not quite the same. The prop Wood is most proud of rescuing though is Bear, Wilfred’s significant other who has seen his share of trauma for a stuffed animal.

“I have Bear in my possession. I was actually really scared to take Bear home. I was primarily worried about where Bear was going to go and I didn’t want it to fall in the wrong hands or to be sold or anything, so I felt like I had to save it,” Wood explained. “And I drove Bear home and put him in my house and sat him in a chair and it just felt so right.”

As for regrets, Wood’s only big regret is that there were upwards of 20 basement codas left unfilmed due to time constraints. “There’s like I think maybe 20 scripts for Couch Beats that we never filmed, which kind of breaks my heart a little bit, because we loved shooting those Couch Beats and they’re some of my favorite moments in the show where you kind of just sit with Ryan and Wilfred and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do or pertain to anything in regards to the story of each individual episode. They’re just sort of these stand-alone Ryan and Wilfred getting high moments that are sort of some of my favorite.”

Ryan Now and Then

The Ryan introduced in the pilot of Wilfred was ready to take his own life until Wilfred came along. Since then, the character has gone on one of the most dramatic explorations of self ever committed to the small screen. Ryan has grown from being fearful, malleable and ashamed about his past, to truly learning about who is and what he wants out of life. This growth is also marked by his need to define what Wilfred is to him.

“The character that he is now I think has developed a sense of strength and an understanding of what he needs to be happy and in some ways that it’s not about being happy, which I think is probably the greatest thing that he can learn,” Wood said. “He also, in the earlier seasons, the way that he interacts with Wilfred is really to be easily manipulated and the sort of wool being pulled over his eyes quite simply. Now I think he’s far wiser to Wilfred’s methods. Ultimately, when you see the resolution of the show I think he really comes to an understanding of his place in the world and who he is and, more importantly, I think to be okay with not knowing. I think that’s probably one of the greatest lessons of the show and for him in his life is that you can’t necessarily have all the answers. The sort of seeking for happiness and the pursuit of that and the pursuit of clarity is ultimately futile. That is, it’s about progressing through life and not knowing and the unknown being really good.”

Wilfred Season 4 Episode 5 Forward (5)

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