[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wilfredisadog_488.jpg]]

->''"Don't worry, I ain't gonna bite you. I can smell your fear like I can smell the sour milk in your fridge. I'm seven years old, and too wise for lies."''

''Wilfred'' is an American comedy starring Elijah Wood as Ryan, a troubled young man, and Jason Gann as Wilfred, a dog who appears to Ryan as a human man in a dog costume but as a normal dog to everyone else.

The show's origins are in an Australian short film, "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2bYHOvnfRY Wilfred]]," which was a finalist at Tropfest 2002 and later adapted into a [[Series/WilfredAustralia darkly comic Australian series]] on {{SBS}}. In this version, Wilfred belongs to Sarah, and he can be seen by her boyfriend Adam. Wilfred dislikes Adam and decides to test him, having endured the ups and downs of Sarah's love life. So, in addition to winning Sarah's heart, Adam must also contend with Wilfred. The show ran two seasons.

''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' showrunner David Zuckerman adapted the show into an American version with a much darker and psychological edge. This time, Wilfred is seen by Ryan, a depressed former lawyer who [[BungledSuicide attempts suicide]], only to be interrupted by his beautiful new neighbor Jenna and her dog Wilfred. Ryan and Wilfred form an tumultuous friendship as Ryan attempts to work through his problems and find a love life. Wilfred's motives and origin are a recurring mystery, and show frequently teases various answers as to whether Wilfred is real or Ryan is insane.

See [[Series/WilfredAustralia this page]] for the original Australian show.
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!!'''This show provides examples of:'''
* AnAesop: Each episode is centered around Ryan learning a lesson about something in his life (it's the remaining word after the pre-episode quote fades). For instance, an episode in season 2 was about Ryan learning to abandon his guilt.
* AllJustADream: [[spoiler:Wilfred ''was'' just a regular dog. The whole thing was in Ryan's head.]]
* AlphaBitch: Jenna definitely does this to Ryan, especially in "Sacrifice".
* AmoralAttorney: [[spoiler:Ryan was known as the Archaeologist at his old firm for his ability to dig up dirt on the opposition.]]
* AndYouWereThere: Ryan's interpretations of [[spoiler:Mattdamon and Krungle]] are implied to be derived from people he vaguely remembered while he was still an infant.
* AnArmAndALeg:[[spoiler:Wilfred loses one of his legs after getting hit by a car. Though it appears to Ryan he lost an arm.]]
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: Wilfred only sees in black and white, but this is a popularly held myth. In reality, dogs can see blue and yellow. [[spoiler:Wilfred is all just Ryan's hallucination, though, so he apparently believes the myth]].
* AuthorAppeal: There are a lot of "anal" related things in this show.
* BasementDweller: Ryan spends a lot of time in his own basement getting high, even though he owns the entire house. [[spoiler:It's ultimately left ambiguous as to whether the basement exists at all]].
* {{Bathos}}
* BerserkButton: Wilfred does not like being hit on the nose by a newspaper.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Ryan, in "Identity".
* BiTheWay:
** In episode 3, Wilfred states he roots other dogs all the time to establish dominance. Later, in the same episode, he plays "fuck/marry/kill" with Ryan and says he'd "screw Toto, marry Lassie, and kill Marmaduke."
** Through most of the show, it's not clear what gender Wilfred thinks that Bear is, and he sometimes makes comments that suggest that Bear is male. In the final season, however, [[spoiler:one sequence shown from Wilfred's perspective shows Bear as a female bodybuilder in a revealing teddy bear costume]].
* BiggerIsBetterInBed: episode 6:
-->'''Ryan:''' What's the one thing Jenna hates most about Drew?\\
'''Wilfred:''' Vaginal tearing from his huge cock?
* BigNo: Sneakers after failing to kill Kristen and Dr. Ramos.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: As pitiable as Ryan can be, he can do some rather nasty things when he thinks that he's in the right.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:The real Wilfred dies of lung cancer. Then Jenna gets back together with Drew and dumps Ryan because she's afraid of change. If that wasn't bad enough, Ryan finds out that he really was crazy and his misadventures with Wilfred were all in his head. However, he does discover the truth behind the cult (and his origins), finds out that all three of his parents truly cared for him, gains the respect of his sister, and conjures up a phantom of Wilfred who promises to downplay his gross malevolence and help him out whenever he needs it]]. At the end of it all, Ryan learns that he is worthy of love and that it's okay to love himself, even if [[spoiler:part of him is a rude, boorish, if well-meaning man in a dog suit]].
* BlackComedyRape:
** Wilfred claims that Darryl puts peanut butter on his testicles to rape him; granted, it's generally taken very seriously, but Wilfred tells Ryan [[VulgarHumor by seductively licking two ice-cream balls whilst crying]].
** Wilfred also mentions that dogs settle their differences sometimes by rape-fighting. In the season three opener [[spoiler: He settles things with his clone this way. He doesn't like talking about its outcome.]]
** During an after credits sequence, Wilfred asks Ryan if he would rape somebody if he could get away with it. Repeatedly.
** Wilfred tells Ryan that his first sexual experience was raping a dog who had just been hit by a car so she was injured and unable to fight him off. He recalls the memory fondly and is oblivious to Ryan's horrified expression.
** An elderly male doctor at the sanitarium where Ryan's mother is treated was once gangraped in a big, black van.
* BlatantLies: Jenna obviously has good intentions. After Wilfred has fooled everyone into thinking Ryan has broken into all their cars, she tells Ryan that everyone is glad he came to the annual block party.
* {{Bookends}}: The first and last episodes of the show are called "Happiness". However, the quotes relating to both are different.
* ABoyAndHisX: The basic premise.
* BrickJoke: Several references are made to Kristen exclusively dating black men in the past. [[spoiler:When her date with Michael goes badly, she says it wouldn't have worked out anyway, listing one of the reasons why as the fact that "he's so ''pale".'']]
* BungledSuicide: Ryan attempting suicide with (unbeknownst to him) placebos opens the series.
* CargoShip: Wilfred enjoys relations with a large teddy bear and later, a stuffed giraffe. [[invoked]]
* CatchPhrase: Sneakers' seemed to have been "Yippity-doo!".
* CaughtWithYourPantsDown: In episode 7, Ryan walks in on Wilfred masturbating to giraffe porn.
* CharacterTitle
* ChewingTheScenery: Wilfred's entire character IS this.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: Ryan's mother. Ryan's father actually put her into a mental hospital for it.
* ComedicSociopathy: Wilfred's main motivation.
* CompanionCube: Bear and Raffi.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Wilfred is terrified of veterinarians and screams out microchip plots when Ryan takes him to one in episode 2. In episode 9, he apparently has similar theories about the post office.
* ContinuityNod: Ryan makes a quick reference to the car accident plot of episode 7 in episode 8.
* CovertPervert: Ryan's father had a particular fondness for black women and kept a secret stash of interracial pornography in an out-of-town storage locker.
* CringeComedy: Not much of what Wilfred does is unusual for a dog, but since the character is anthropomorphized to the point of being played by a man in a dog suit, his casual discussions of normal canine behaviors definitely pushes the show into cringe territory on a regular basis.
* CutenessProximity:
** Wilfred uses it to his advantage.
-->'''Wilfred:''' I once cracked a Nazi skinhead in the face with a beer bottle, and you know what he did to me? Belly rub.
** In "Dignity", Ryan's otherwise complete dick of a boss loses all coherency at the sight of Wilfred. Later in the episode, Ryan's coworker explains how this trope is based in neurochemistry. Also subverted; Ryan's coworkers get annoyed after a few days.
* DeadAllAlong: Played with in episode 13.
* DeadpanSnarker: Wilfred obviously, though don't be surprised to catch Ryan in on the action.
-->'''Wilfred:''' So chemistry, baking, and Ping-Pong. I guess my only question is how were you not blowjobbed to death by the entire cheerleading squad?
* DeceasedFallGuyGambit: Wilfred frames a dead homeless man for a string of thefts. Ryan wants clear his name before realizing his alternatives are to confess (and be hated) or tell the truth (which no one will believe).
* DespairEventHorizon: The end of season 1. [[spoiler: Ryan winds up splitting up his sister and her husband, gets Jenna to go back to Drew because the replacement urine he used for her drug test said she was pregnant, and worst of all, Wilfred gets hit by a car and forgets who Ryan is. Ryan is also forced to seriously question his sanity upon finding out the basement he was spending time with Wilfred in is actually a closet.]]
* DidNotGetTheGirl: [[spoiler:Jenna plays it safe and gets back together with Drew instead of taking a risk on true happiness with Ryan. She moves away in the final episode]].
* DidYouThinkICantFeel: Ryan uses this to find out what really happened to his old dog.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler:Ryan's dad...except that was in Ryan's head...and then he dies in a car crash.]]
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** Wilfred gets revenge on the kid down the street, who always faked him out by pretending to throw balls, etc, by framing him for breaking into all the cars on the block.
** Wilfred poisoned Ryan [[spoiler:with chocolate]] for hitting him with a newspaper.
** Wilfred [[spoiler:had a neighbor dog killed after Ryan complimented the dog's handkerchief]].
* DoggedNiceGuy: Ryan by this show's standards, though he does try to move on and dates other women even being prepared to marry Amanda.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: In episode 3, Ryan dreams of the moment his biker neighbor comes over to kick his ass for breaking into his house and stealing his weed, which occurs a bit later in the episode. Muddling the matter, however, is the fact that the dream is also full of the sort of weird things that happen in dreams, like a clock with spinning hands and Ryan having baby feet and pulling a tooth out of his mouth. [[spoiler:The tooth bit actually happens when Spencer punches him in the face in the waking world.]]
* DrowningMySorrows: When [[spoiler:Jenna gets fired from her TV station]], Wilfred goes on a toilet water binge. This includes him dropping a shotglass of toilet water into a pint of toilet water.
* DrunkWithPower
-->'''Wilfred''': I AM GOD! THUNDER!!! (Thunder roars.)
-->'''Ryan''': How did you do that?!
-->'''Wilfred''': LUCKY COINCIDENCE!!!
* EveryoneHasStandards: Wilfred might be a tremendous deviant in several ways, but the fact that Jellybeans' mother is also his sister really, really grosses him out.
* FantasticRacism: Wilfred seems to consider it racist to forbid dogs at a beach or be given a bone as a gift. However, he's apparently bigoted against Dobermans, calling them "Dobies"
* FlippingTheTable: Inverted; Drew flips a lawn chair after ''winning'' at ping-pong. He's just insanely competitive. Played straight, by Wilfred, who "wins" board games by flipping the board over and punching Ryan in the face.
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** In "Anger", Kristen is surprised to hear from Ryan that [[spoiler:their family home has a basement]].
** Kevin, one of Ryan's coworkers, says that jalapeņos are going to be the death of him. [[spoiler:Cut to the season finale, where we discover that Amanda framed Kevin, picking him as the fall guy for the sale of company secrets because he stole the jalapeņos off of her bagel five times]].
** At the start of "Resistance", Ryan muses that happiness is a rather flighty state of being. [[spoiler:He loses Jenna at its end after just getting together with her in the previous episode]].
* FreudianExcuse:
** Sneakers's death badly traumatized Ryan.
** Ryan and Kristen's manipulative tendencies, displays of passive-aggressive behavior, and tremendous difficulties with emotional control are a result of being chiefly raised by their father, who had similar psychological hang-ups. Their mother's numerous issues didn't help matters either.
** Throughout "Questions" Ryan can't figure out why Kirsten's baby crying makes him panic. [[spoiler: Turns out it was Kirsten telling the baby to stop crying that sent him into a panic, as she did the same thing to Ryan when his parents were fighting]].
* GagPenis: Wilfred uses his tail as one in "Doubt". [[TooMuchInformation It's 23 inches, apparently.]]
* GainaxEnding: The finales of seasons One and Two.
* GhostlyGlide: Parodied in the episode 'Respect', wherein Wilfred glides around the room as a dark messianic character, choosing which old people get to die.
* GilliganCut: In episode 8, Ryan is about to go off on Kristen for being a raging bitch. The next cut is Wilfred berating him for not actually going through with yelling at her.
* GirlOnGirlIsHot: One episode, Wilfred hears two female dogs "experimenting".
* AGodAmI: Wilfred does one of the greatest of these EVER, in "Respect". On a roof, in the pouring rain:
--> '''Ryan:''' "You've lost your mind. It's like you've got some kind of...God complex."\\
'''Wilfred:''' "I'll let you in on a little secret, Ryan. I don't have a God complex. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY4jAcmey8k I AM GOD! THUNDER!!]]"\\
''[Thunder]''\\
'''Ryan:''' "How did you do that?!"\\
'''Wilfred:''' "[[ChewingTheScenery Lucky coincidence!]]"
* GoneHorriblyRight: Episode 6's XanatosGambit. Ryan feels pretty terrible about it afterward.
* GrewASpine: Part of Ryan's character development is him learning how to stand up for himself.
* HarmlessVillain: Wilfred attempts to poison Ryan. [[spoiler:With chocolate. To be fair, it would've worked on Wilfred...]]
* HeelFaceDoorSlam: At the end of episode 8, Kristen reveals that it was her fault that Sneakers died and begs Ryan for forgiveness. She hopes that Wilfred will let her pet him, only for him to slap a glass of red wine at her.
* HiddenDepths: Wilfred speaks Italian. Then again, he's a dog.
* HideYourPregnancy: Averted - the actress playing Kristen was pregnant throughout the season and Kristen gave birth to baby Joffrey.
* HypocriticalHumor: From episode 6:
-->'''Wilfred:''' Have you any idea what it feels like to have someone come into your house, treat you with no respect, and act like they own the place?\\
'''Ryan:''' Did you eat my sandwich?
** And this line.
-->"Community service is for drunk drivers and wife beaters, not upstanding citizens like us. Now let's go to the playground and blaze a fatty."
* ImAHumanitarian: Wilfred and other dogs are not adverse to the taste of human flesh. In the course of one episode, he eats [[spoiler:the brains of Ryan's dead boss and Kristen's placenta]].
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: The series uses one word taken from a quote; for example, episode one is "Happiness", from the Mark Twain quote "Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination."
* InformedJudaism: Played for comedy by suddenly revealing that minor characters are practicing Jews.
** Spencer (Ryan's biker neighbor), who complains about his old friend Jesse banging his girlfriend on the Shabbos.
** In season 5, Wilfred references Bear's observance of the Jewish High Holy Days.
* InsaneTrollLogic: Spencer's ex-girlfriend is a prostitute. Having sex with clients is considered work and not cheating. However she does not work on the Shabbos, so when his friend banged her on the Shabbos that counted as cheating.
* InsultBackfire: In "Compassion", Wilfred fails to see why "son of a bitch" and "eat shit" is insulting.
* InvisibleToNormals: With few exceptions, no one else notices Wilfred's undoglike behavior except Ryan. [[spoiler:This is because Wilfred is just a regular dog, and Ryan is hallucinating his behavior. The people who also see Wilfred as human are also either hallucinations or are themselves hallucinating]].
* ItRunsInTheFamily:
** Ryan has pretty big concerns about ending up crazy like his mother, who had a mental breakdown around his age. [[spoiler: TheStinger reveals that she sees her cat Mittens as a woman in a cat suit]].
** [[spoiler:The series finale lends more weight to this, as Ryan discovers that his birth father Charles also suffered from hallucinations and is now medicated. When Ryan asks if his dog talks to him, Charles says, "Not for a long time."]]
** Kristen is revealed to have inherited her father's fetish for black people.
* IvyLeagueForEveryone: Ryan went to Stanford Law.
* {{Jailbait}}: Apparently, age of consent for dogs is three.
* JerkAss:
** Wilfred, although he is ambiguously a JerkWithAHeartOfGold. [[JerkWithTheHeartOfAJerk Very ambiguously]].
** Ryan's sister Kristen.
** Ryan's boss at his job in the second season. He interrupts Ryan and a female coworker discussing a future date with this:
--->'''Boss:''' The CNVN 311 patent. I need you to review and summarize by Friday. Possible?\\
'''Ryan:''' This Friday? ...Sure.\\
'''Boss:''' Ooh, you sound confident. ''Thursday.'' Possible?\\
'''Ryan:''' ...Sure, Thursday. Whenever you need.\\
'''Boss:''' I like your attitude. Let's make it Wednesday. ''(clicks tongue, leaves)''
** Drew borders on this. He's never seen doing anything overly dickish and is mostly just an obnoxious overgrown child who takes competition way too seriously, but he's bragged about doing things that would absolutely qualify him for this. Of course, it's never confirmed if he actually did them or if he's just a blowhard.
* JerkassHasAPoint: Wilfred is a selfish bastard, but he's often pretty accurate with his assessment of Ryan's shortcomings. Sometimes his schemes and advice really do seem like good ideas.
* JustFriends: Jenna and her "old college chum, Bobby 'Blueballs' Davis". Wilfred warns Ryan that he is nearing the friendzone in episode 6.
* KickTheDog:
** Drew's KickThemWhileTheyAreDown moment against a former rival as well as other expressions of his competition-related rage issues.
** Also, this is the only show on television where it's dog who [[KickTheDog kicks the dog]].
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: Jenna's boyfriend Drew is a beer salesmen for Sheboygan Lager. He tells Ryan this anecdote in episode 6: when Drew discovered another brewery talking to his clients, he turned around and carried the same plan to completion. A month later he encountered a salesman for the rival brewery at a bar, who had been fired thanks to Drew. Drew decides to buy him a bottle of Sheboygan Lager. [[spoiler: He later reveals he didn't even buy the guy a beer; he bought himself one and told the guy to lick his nuts]]
* TheLadette: The beer-chugging, cheesesteak-gobbling Jenna, Ryan's object of affection in the series. The problem is that Ryan spends all of episode 2 thinking that [[UnsettlingGenderReveal she has a dick]], and all this manliness does not help matters.
* LargeHam: Wilfred at times. Commonly accompanies an affected accent.
* LaserGuidedKarma: Wilfred usually escapes an episode without getting his comeuppance, but "Responsibility" has karma catch up to him when [[spoiler:a car runs him over and he loses a leg. After spending an entire episode mocking a three legged dog.]]
* LikeAnOldMarriedCouple: Ryan and Kristen, more so than with either of their various lovers. Lampshaded during "Stagnation".
* LonersAreFreaks: Ryan has to deal with the rest of the neighborhood believing this in episode 10.
* LovingAShadow: [[spoiler:Ryan ultimately comes to the conclusion that he only loved the fantasy of Jenna as the sweet, bubbly GirlNextDoor]].
* TheMagicGoesAway: Ryan sees Wilfred as a [[spoiler:regular dog after he dies in "Resistance".]]
* MagicalNativeAmerican: Parodied in the form of Ryan's "Spirit Guide" from "Questions". He notes that he's so stereotypical, cause he's in Ryan's head.
* ManChild: Ryan, sort of. His personality isn't very childish however a lot of his actions stem from him acting against things he's held grudges against since he was a child. Drew might be this moreso than Ryan, though...
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Cinzia.
* ManipulativeBastard:
** Wilfred. You never know whether he's really trying to help Ryan become a better man or if he's working some other angle. Ryan gets wise to it, but he's still drawn into Wilfred's schemes, often because JerkassHasAPoint.
** As revealed during the season 1 finale, Ryan was one too. When he returns to his old ways [[spoiler: he screws pretty much everyone's life up]].
** Ryan's father, [[spoiler:if you believe in [[UnreliableExpositor Ryan's interpretation of his character.]]]]
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Wilfred. Is he some sort of magical creature, or is Ryan either dead or completely insane? [[spoiler: It turns out that Ryan really ''was'' crazy the whole time.]]
* {{Metaphorgotten}}:
** When Wilfred wants to rescue a stuffed teddy bear from Darryl, [[ItMakesSenseIncontext an animal raping daycare owner]]:
--->'''Wilfred''': What Darryl does to Bear is even worse!\\
'''Ryan''': It's a stuffed animal.\\
'''Wilfred''': Yeah, Ryan. Stuffed with pain! ...and humiliation! ...and Darryl's cum! ...and bits of foam I think.
** In "Dignity":
--->'''Wilfred:''' ''(as he chips away at some wall molding presumably painted in Arctic Glow Semi-Gloss)'' Well, that's because you let your boss walk all over you. You can't let him keep chipping away your dignity like a cheap coat of Arctic Glow Semi-Gloss.
* MindScrew: The picture we see [[spoiler: in the second season finale, drawn by Ryan as a child. "Who's the dog?"]]
* MoralMyopia: Ryan has a hard time accepting the idea that dogs have the same feelings and rights as people. Wilfred on the other hand, can't seem to understand that the feelings and rights of others aren't his to violate as he pleases.
* {{Motif}}: The Truth. There are a lot of secrets, lies and uncertainty in the show, especially concerning Wilfred. Sometimes learning the truth helps, but other times the lie seems to be better.
* MrViceGuy: Wilfred. Ultimately deconstructed in the final season where it's revealed that [[spoiler:all his substance abuse (all of the times Ryan held a smoking bong underneath an ordinary dog's nose) has given him lung cancer]].
* MunchausenSyndrome: Wilfred shows frequent obsession over having the monopoly on providing emotional support to the cast.
* MushroomSamba: "Questions" and "Answers".
* MyGreatestFailure: In episode 8, Ryan reveals that his childhood dog Sneakers drowned because Ryan left the gate to the pool open.
* NotSoDifferent: Ryan and his father, to the point that they both entered relationships with [[spoiler:mentally unstable women]] that ended very badly.
* NothingIsTheSameAnymore: [[StatusQuoIsGod Usually averted at the end of each episode]]. Notably played straight, however, when [[spoiler: series 1 ends; Wilfred sacrifices himself for the greater good and forgets Ryan, Ryan may or may not be insane, Jenna thinks she's pregnant after Kristen's urine is unknowingly tested instead (causing her to settle down with a man she doesn't really like) and Kristen, who doesn't realize she's pregnant, tells her husband about her affair so Ryan can't blackmail her anymore, ending her relationship and causing her to disown Ryan and run off to India.]]
* NWordPrivileges: "Franchise/ScoobyDoo" is apparently the N-Word to dogs.
** Wilfred also stops Ryan when he says the word "Dobies" to describe Doberman, claiming that it's "their word"... then proceeds to use Dobies as a slur for the rest of the episode without hesitation.
* ParentalIncest:
** Spencer has a transsexual for a father, finds his father's porn hot, and considers her to have perfect breasts.
** Turns out Wilfred managed to trick his friend Bruce into making out with his own father. [[spoiler:Assuming it wasn't just one of the many lies they told as part of the plan.]]
** Jellybeans, one of the neighborhood dogs, was a product of this.
* PingPongNaivete: Wilfred can be tremendously insightful at one moment and incredibly dense the next.
* PlayedForLaughs: Ryan's complete failure at suicide is initially treated lightly: Wilfred even remarks that the fourth revision of his suicide note wasn't very good. Later, the topic is revisited [[PlayedForDrama with a much darker tone.]]
* ThePollyanna[=/=]KidsAreCruel: Ryan's childhood dog Sneakers. Golly! [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge Let's punch Kristen's tits off!]]
* PublicDomainSoundtrack: "Claire de Lune" is used in episode 12.
* RageQuit: After getting a TabletopGame/{{Clue}} accusation wrong in episode 7's tag, Wilfred flips the game board and sucker punches Ryan.
* RedHerring: [[spoiler: Everything to do with Dog Gods. Wilfred is just Ryan's hallucination.]]
* RomanticFalseLead: Drew, Jenna's current husband. He's not a bad guy, but he's got enough flaws to make the viewer want Ryan to succeed.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Ryan's boss Jeremy walks in late and rants about how there needs to be a special speed lane on highways for "the people who contribute the most to society".
* SdrawkcabName: Sort of, with Ryan's hallucinatory spirit guide "Red Wolf" [[spoiler: Wolf Red]]
* SecondEpisodeMorning: Technically occurs in the first episode, but after Ryan meets Wilfred and wakes up after a minor [=NyQuil=] coma, he sees a normal dog in his yard, causing him to write off the man-in-a-dog-suit weirdness as a dream...until he looks in another direction and sees that there's a man in a dog suit in his house.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: Sensitive Guy and Manly Dog
* ShadowArchetype: Trash Face the homeless guy is this to Ryan.
* ShoutOut:
** In episode 3, when Wilfred is taken away by animal control for attacking a neighbor, he is wearing [[SilenceOfTheLambs Hannibal Lecter]]'s mask.
** Episode 13 [[DeadAllAlong casts doubt]] on whether Ryan actually [[BungledSuicide bungled his suicide]]. Cue ''{{Lost}}'' references from Wilfred.
** In "Dignity", Wilfred pulls a stupid stunt, holds his arms wide, and exclaims, [[Film/{{Gladiator}} "Are you not entertained?!"]]
** In "Sincerity," Wilfred shows Ryan a picture of himself on a mountaintop with his "arms raised in a V" in front of a "lemon-yellow sun." These are from the lyrics to PearlJam's song "Jeremy."
* SnapBack: Most of the MindScrew revelations in the first season finale are snapped back in the beginning of the second to the point that the basic structure of the show continues.
* SoreLoser: Jenna's boyfriend Drew, to the point of throwing the Wiimote through the window after losing to Jenna's dad at [[WiiSports Wii Golf]].
* StartsWithASuicide: Ryan attempts suicide in the opening scene.
* TheStoner: Wilfred gets high pretty often, but he doesn't fit the rest of the stereotype very well; he's too much of an asshole. Ryan is also an example, especially once he gets a medical marijuana recommendation in episode 2.
* SuddenlyShouting: Wildred does this during his "AGodAmI" speech.
* TheTag: Most episodes of the series end with Ryan and Wilfred chatting and getting high in his basement, though sometimes this is left off when it wouldn't make sense with the episode's ending.
* TallPoppySyndrome: Kristen has a habit of trying to cut people down so they can be as miserable as she is when she's in a bad mood, which is incredibly often. This is taken to the extreme in the final season when [[spoiler:she tries to break up her mother's romance and have her re-committed because her own life is in shambles. She cops to it and makes amends]].
* TechnicolorScience: Appears near the end of episode 6.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Just how straight this trope is being played is debatable. Wilfred ''does'' tell Adam/Ryan things that the latter couldn't have known on occasion.
* ToiletHumor: In episode 3's {{Tag}}, Wilfred plays with a Play-doh press that excretes a little turd of dough, groaning and making fart noises all the while.
* TookALevelInKindness: Kristen after both she and Ryan get "[=FUN=]employed."
* TorchesAndPitchforks: Wilfred has a torch in "Isolation": "I say string up [[LonersAreFreaks the weirdo]]!"(Oh, and that's Ryan. Of course.) He doesn't understand why [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight he's the only one with a torch]].
* TricksterMentor: Wilfred definitely qualifies as this.
* TheUnfavorite: In the present, Ryan. During their childhood, it was actually Kristen because her parents considered her to be the reason that their relationship went south.
* UngratefulBastard: In episode 3, Ryan buys Wilfred a Kobe beef chewing bone. Wilfred simply complains that it's not a bong or vaporizer.
* UnreliableExpositor: Wilfred makes a habit of bending the truth on several occasions, but it's usually to make a point or get his way (such as telling Ryan [[spoiler: that Jenna has a penis, only to reveal he was actually just fucking with Ryan to get revenge]]).
** Episode six has [[spoiler:Wilfred giving Ryan a lethal dose of Theobromine, only for the pair to discover it's the chemical in chocolate that makes it lethal to dogs,]] making it one of the few examples of Wilfred getting his facts wrong.
** See Drew's anecdote in "KickThemWhileTheyAreDown" up there? What ''actually'' happened was that [[spoiler:Drew bought ''himself'' the Sheboygan Lager, spit it in the other guy's face, and yelled at him to "lick my balls"]].
* TheUnreveal:
** Many episodes leave the plot ambiguous at the end: We never find out if the day-care owner in episode 4 actually molested Wilfred or not or whether Wilfred actually killed anyone at the hospital or not in episode 5. We also never find out if Wilfred was genuinely possessed by Ryan's old dog Sneakers, or how Bruce and Wilfred met, and how he sees him like Ryan does. However, all of these are explained in the final season when [[spoiler:we get confirmation that Wilfred's humanlike interactions are all just hallucinations]].
** Whether or not [[spoiler:Ryan's basement exists. In the final episode, Ryan opens the door and looks inside, reacts, and shuts the door before we see inside]].
* UnusuallyUninterestingSight
* VerbalTic: Drew and "bro".
* WellDoneSonGuy: Ryan only became a lawyer to please his father and to keep him from throwing him into the loony bin like his mother.
* WhamLine: From "Confrontation" regarding [[spoiler:Ryan's childhood painting featuring Wilfred]].
-->'''Ryan:''' "[[spoiler:Then, who drew it?]]"
-->'''Catherine:''' "[[spoiler:Kirsten.]]"
* WipeThatSmileOffYourFace: Done with Ryan's tongue, in "Isolation"
* XanatosGambit: In episode 6. It was meant to be a BatmanGambit, but it worked out after the "lose condition" happened anyway. The plan was for Ryan to challenge Drew to a ping-pong game and win, hoping that Jenna would be in the vicinity to see him [[SoreLoser lose his shit]]. He still went pretty crazy after ''winning''.
* YourCheatingHeart:
** Wilfred cheats on Bear with a stuffed giraffe named Raffi in episode 7 and has to deal with Bear's suspicions the next day.
** Wilfred acts like Ryan having another dog 20 years ago is like cheating on him in episode 8.
** [[spoiler: The final episode reveals that Ryan's mother had an affair the leader of the Grey Shepard cult and he's the result. His biological father gave up his parental rights so that Henry could raise Ryan as his own son]].
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