September 08, 2011 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Wilfred' Finale: 'There Will Be More Questions Than Answers'
Turns out one little pot brownie can be pretty damaging for Elijah Wood’s Ryan on FX’s Wilfred.
When a famished Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann) digests the snack before heading for her first day on camera as a news anchor, Wilfred (Jason Gann) pushes Ryan, a former attorney, to confront his dark side and represent the former object of his affection in the subsequent wrongful termination suit.
“There will be more questions than answers,” Gann told reporters during a recent conference call ahead of Thursday’s finale. “Now that we’re this far into the season – we’ve created the rules and parameters of the show [so] we’re able to stretch those a little bit and play with the form a bit so it’s a little less packaged.”
Ryan’s choice to continue his romantic pursuit of Jenna and forgo Italy with a beautiful woman – and a life in which he puts himself first -- sets off a chain of events that will have drastic implications for Ryan and those around him in Thursday’s Season 1 finale.
“Over the course of this season, we’ve seen Ryan start to recover,” Wood said. “Ultimately it’s about Wilfred engaging Ryan in a way of life he was unfamiliar with and ultimately live a better life.”
Wilfred’s encouragement hasn’t always worked out well for Ryan, who first saw the foul-mouthed, pot-smoking human in a dog suit the morning after his botched suicide attempt, which Wilfred references in the finale.
“The foundation of their relationship is based on the recovery of Ryan,” Wood noted. “For Wilfred to exist, Ryan has to need him. I think that component will always be there; I think it will ebb and flow.”
Exploring the mental illness that runs in Ryan’s family will be part of the theme of Season 2, with Gann and Wood both noting the importance of Episode 9, in which Mary Steenburgen guest starred as Ryan’s mother and Rhea Perlman appeared as her pet cat the way in which Ryan sees Wilfred.
“It gave a lot of background for the Ryan character and a really interesting relationship developed between Wilfred and Ryan’s mom,” Wood says. “Ryan and his mother are certainly cut from the same cloth and [the cat appearance] potentially indicates that there’s a history of mental illness that may have been passed down.”
With the premise firmly established, Gann and Wood noted that the series can continue to take the story deeper into a more esoteric level, and explore who can “see” Wilfred – like Dwight Yoakam’s Bruce -- in Season 2.
“I think the expansion of that world that they’re in is going to be something that we’ll continue to play with,” Wood said. “We’ve traversed this world very much in the confines of Ryan’s environment. I think we’ll start to expound upon the outer limits and reaches of that in the second season and play with it a little bit more.”
Gann noted that the numerous references to Ryan’s father, who pushed him into law and turned him into the type of attorney he didn’t care to be, won’t be forgotten.
“We went to the mom in Season 1 and we’ll go to the dad in Season 2,” Gann noted. “It’s been touched on a number of times that Ryan was pushed into a certain direction by his father, and we’ve alluded to that. I think once we get to know the dad, it will shed new light on the mother.”
Gann, meanwhile, noted that the first season of the FX comedy surpassed his expectations and took Wilfred to deeper level than the Australian original.
“I think the ending of Season 1 is pretty tremendous,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to where we can take it in Season 2. I’ve had a lot of fun with Wilfred and he’s expanded; there’s a lot more layers to Wilfred that I didn’t foresee.”
Wilfred’s Season 1 finale airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on FX. Check out the trailer, complete with Lost references, for the finale below.