"Wilfred" is back (Season 2 premieres Thurs., June 28 at 10 p.m. ET on FX) and this sophomore season promises to up the ante on bizarre, dark comedy twists.
But, as the recent Season 2 premiere episode preview showed, they're also pulling in some more big guest stars like Robin Williams, Rob Riggle, Steven Weber and "Smallville" alum Allison Mack.
"Guiltily, I've been spoiled now," "Wilfred" star and creator Jason Gann said about their continued guest casting coups. "Sometimes we'll be looking at possibilities for casting, and you'll see someone and go, 'We can do better than him.' And it's someone quite high profile. Who am I? I'm in a dog suit!"
I caught up with Gann and fellow "Wilfred" stars Fiona Gubelmann and Dorian Brown at FX's summer comedy party in Hollywood to find out more about the fan reactions to the first season and how that informed a few changes for Season 2.
"For people who haven't seen Season 1, my advice is to go back and watch Season 1," Gubelmann said. "With 'Wilfred,' you honestly have to watch it from episode 1 because it's just so confusing. Like, what's going on? And why is there a person in a dog suit? That makes no sense. [Laughs.] This is what I've been saying since I read the first script: It's Calvin and Hobbes meets 'Fight Club' meets 'Harvey.' And then just think of some really f---ed up things."
So will Season 2 be any different? "I think Season 2 is going to be a lot more fun because people will now understand and accept the world, so now we get to really play with it and really just mess with people's minds," Gubelmann added with a laugh.
"I was able to see what people really loved about 'Wilfred' in Season 1, so I came to it with a fresh, new love for the character," said Gann, who's been wearing the furry dog costume since 2007 when the show's first iteration premiered in his native Australia. "It's also been less stress because I'm not thinking that I'm making a fool of myself in front of the world. I am! I'm definitely making a fool of myself, but the fans are laughing with me."
After years of "Wilfred" antics in Australia, what surprised Gann about the American version and American audience reactions? "They really embraced stuff like the closet door in the finale. They loved the dog stuff -- we expected that. They loved the comedy -- we expected that. They loved Elijah Wood's eyes -- we all do. But I didn't expect the same audience to really get into that trippy, 'Lost'-type stuff and really embrace it and chat about it. That's something that the Australian show didn't have, and I didn't want to come here and make the same show, so it's one of those pleasant surprises for me."
The first season's finale had several unexpected cliffhangers, so fans that are waiting to watch the premiere on TV are likely wondering where Season 2 picks up. "We pick back up with more questions," Brown said. "But things are answered about the basement. It kind of just picks back up in a different chapter of Ryan's life, and we also explain the whole amnesia thing from the Season 1 finale."
Once that's all explained, the show quickly jumps back into shock territory, according to Gubelmann. "Last season, I remember reading episode 6, the one with Jane Kaczmarek, and I was like, 'There's no way this is gonna air! They're gonna have to pull like half of this.' But, oh no -- they aired the entire thing. And again this season, it's the same episode number, the one with the doggy dancing ... I don't know how this stuff's gonna air, but I'm very excited to see it."
And then there's always the show's ultimate source of surprises: Wilfred himself. If you're thinking that wearing a furry dog costume all day, every day, can't be fun, you're absolutely right.
"What I've discovered is that, after a certain while, I pass the pain threshold and I get into a state of euphoria," Gann said of wearing the steamy and uncomfortable costume. "Everyone will say to me, 'Jason, are you OK? I think something's snapping inside your brain.' And I'm just like, 'Let's do another one! Let's do another one!' And I sing a lot -- anyone will say any word and it'll become a song. Everything becomes a song, and Elijah joins in. And we sing loud. I always tell people, 'The louder you hear me sing, the more insane I'm going.'"
Yes, he describes wearing the insanity-inducing costume for long periods of time as euphoric. It made me wonder if Gann has a back-up suit at home for kinky personal use? "I do have a suit sitting on a mannequin in the Wilfred room at home. Yes, there's a Wilfred dungeon. [Laughs.] And it is there for such purposes."
"Wilfred" Season 2 premieres Thurs., June 28 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.