Elijah Wood learns more than bubble tricks from his dog pal in "Wilfred." (FX )
Elijah Wood doesn't think he's much like Ryan, the character he plays on the FX comedy "Wilfred"--at least he hopes not.
"Ryan's really struggling most of the time and is constantly questioning himself and the world around him and is not always in the most comfortable of places," he said Monday, "so hopefully none of that has rubbed off on me."
"Wilfred" officially begins its second season at 9 p.m. June 28, but at 9:30 p.m. Thursday FX will air a special preview episode called "Progress" that has been available online for a week.
Ryan seems to have made little progress from the crazy Season 1 cliffhanger. For the entire first season he took life lessons--and bong hits--from his neighbor's dog, Wilfred (Jason Gann). The problem was that while everyone else saw Wilfred as Jenna's (Fiona Gubelmann) lovable mutt, Ryan saw him as a hard-partying man in a dog suit who constantly got Ryan into trouble.
Then the finale turned the entire premise on its head, something Wood loved about the first season.
"We became very multi-layered toward the end of the first season, which allowed us to make that kind of finale work," he said during a call with reporters. "I think we do a similar thing this season as well, where from Episode 7 on things get a little bit more complex in the storytelling, and those are some of my favorite episodes."
So was Wilfred real or imagined? As "Progress" begins, our hapless human hero still is trying to answer that question while "resting" at a special clinic under the care of Dr. Eddy (guest star Robin Williams). Or is that imagined? In the weird world of "Wilfred," you never can tell, and Wood appreciates that part of showrunner David Zuckerman's storytelling.
"My favorite elements ... are when the show gets really trippy, and you don't quite know what's real and what isn't," he said.
One trippy part of the show I happen to love is Bear, the gigantic stuffed animal with which Wilfred enjoys a chaotic romantic relationship. Wood promises that Bear will come into its own this season.
"We're kind of obsessed with Bear," Wood said of the cast and writers. "Bear is to Wilfred as Wilfred is to Ryan in a way. It's clearly something that is internally happening with Wilfred. We definitely explore that a little more this season. It's very funny."
Wood talked more about where Ryan's head is at this season, new guest cast members and if Bear is a "he" or a "she."
They wrote you guys into a corner at the end of Season 1, or a closet, I guess. How pleased were you with the way that they wrote you out of it?
[Laughs.] I love what they came up with. It was definitely a challenge, I think, in writing that. It was an exciting end to our first season and something that David [Zuckerman] had told us about, about a month or so before it was written, so we knew where it was going. But to leave people on a bit of a cliffhanger in such an extreme way was really exciting, and then trying to figure out how best to come out of that was an interesting challenge, I think, for David.
I love the way that he ultimately did. We have an interesting finale this season as well that I'm very excited about, and I think what I'm proud of with the show ... is where it goes in that first season, and I think we have a similar trajectory this season.
The first season Wilfred helped Ryan stand up for himself a little more, and I was wondering, how does Ryan's newfound ballsiness change the dynamic in Season 2?
There's a little bit more of a push and pull now. As I was saying earlier, I think Ryan's a little bit more aware of the ability for Wilfred to trick him, so I think he's constantly trying to look ahead to any of the things that Wilfred's suggesting as possibly being a trick or a manipulation. So there is a bit more of a fight between them, a struggle between the two of them this time around. The dynamic is that Ryan's a little bit less passive. I think he's a lot more active in trying to almost stay ahead of Wilfred. He's not always successful, but he has his eye out. He's keen on where Wilfred can potentially be taking him this time around.
Not to sound like a fetishist or anything, but I noticed that sometimes Wilfred calls Bear "he" and sometimes Wilfred calls Bear "she," and I was wondering if that's going to remain a mystery?
Bear's gender will never be defined, I'll say that. We've actually, I think, taken to calling Bear "it," I'm pretty sure I'm correct in saying that, so Bear doesn't actually have a gender. It's a totally ambiguous gender. It's funny, I suppose he probably has called him "he" I need to check back on the first season. I can't really remember. But Bear is an undefined gender.
Bear features a lot this season. Bear really comes into its own. I love that character.