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Wilfred - The Original Australian Seasons 1 & 2

01/08/2012. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

Buy Wilfred - The Original Australian Seasons 1 & 2 in the USA - or Buy Wilfred - The Original Australian Seasons 1 & 2 in the UK

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Wilfred - The Original Australian Season One. (region 2 DVD: Fabulous Films B006U1AWEW. 200 minutes 8 * 25 minute episodes. Price: 16.89 (UK)) cast: Jason Gahn, Adam Zwar and Cindy Waddingham Wilfred - The Original Australian Season Two (region 2 DVD: Fabulous Films B006U1AW3S 200 minutes 8 * 25 minute episodes. Price: 17.89 (UK)) cast: Jason Gahn, Adam Zwar and Cindy Waddingham.

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Some people could be confused because 'Wilfred' has appeared on BBC3 television but this was a USA version which is different in nature and character from the Australian original reviewed here. While it's the same man in the same dog costume, the behaviour of 'Wilfred' in the American version is much more sanitised.

There are eight episodes in each season, and with an episode lasting 25 minutes, it's short but definitely not sweet. Wilfred isn't exactly man's best friend.

The actor Jason Gann plays Wilfred in both the Australian and American shows . Starting life in 2006, it ran for a couple of seasons and created quite a following on the way. Supposedly a comedy, which it certainly is in many respects, it's also a dark and sinister tale, a wagging tale perhaps, and the picture on the front cover of the DVD tells all. He's not a nice doggy!

This is an adult comedy. Not for children because it contains drug taking and alcohol abuse with plenty of swearing. It also contains scenes of pizza eating! I would say Wilfred migrates towards Stephen King!

It commences when Adam (actor Adam Zwar), a hapless and gormless young man, a born victim if ever there was one, turns up at his new girlfriend's house to stay. Sarah (actress Cindy Waddingham) isn't alone. She has a dog called Wilfred. Now, Sarah thinks that Wilfred is a normal canine but Adam sees a man dressed up in a dog's outfit. Surprisingly, he says nothing and as soon engaged in conversation with Wilfred.

It quickly transpires that Wilfred is a foul-mouthed, tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking and pot smoking degenerate who takes an instant dislike to Adam, with the sole intention of getting the newcomer out of the house. The first couple of episodes are a bit tedious because the viewer is getting used to the situation. Surprisingly, it grows on you, once you get past that first hurdle, and it becomes rather engaging. While it's supposed to be a comedy, this tumour is dark and there is a menacing edge to the proceedings.

Strange things begin to happen like the digging up of bones in the garden, human bones by the look of it. Wilfred constantly unnerves Adam by making references to past boy-friends, mysteriously disappeared. He is always there at the wrong time but in Sarah's eyes, Wilfred can do no wrong and does Wilfred know this!

Adam is made to do unfortunate things such as looking for a ball on a roof in a lightning storm and chasing after an automobile full of yobs. He is even beguiled into stealing cannabis from an illegal farm. Trying to get his own back doesn't work because Wilfred is always one step ahead.

This in essence is the nature of season one. Having watched so far you'll probably want to watch season two. It only gets worse for Adam! You would think the unfortunate guy would take the point and run a mile but no, he actually asks Sarah to marry him and she accepts. This is too much for Wilfred and he decides to get rid of Adam for good. This leads to lots of misunderstandings, dastardly deeds and a monumental battle between man and beast. It's funny, it's dark and it's compelling to watch in a macabre sort of way. Wilfred is like dog pooh that sticks to your shoe which you can't get off and makes a mess everywhere!

Why does Adam accept the situation? He has been to a psychiatrist with little result but he doesn't seem to be able to talk to Sarah about Wilfred in a meaningful way. He is the only one who sees a man in a dog costume!

This isn't ordinary situation comedy. It's very much better than the Americanised re-make and while it's low-budget and slow in parts, it does leave a distinct impression. Maybe you'll never look at dogs in the same way again.

Both DVDs come with the usual sort of extra material including bloopers, the making of the series and information about the actors. The star of the show is Wilfred who really gets into his part with such conviction that you begin to believe it yourself.

If you have only seen the TV version from the United States, it's worthwhile taking another look at the Australian original. Wilfred must be one of the most irritating characters ever produced! If you've got a dog, don't let it watch the TV in case it gets ideas! I would even go as far as recommended Wilfred to any other watchers!

Rod MacDonald

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