There are thousands of stories about a boy and his dog, but there are not that many where the boy's dog looks like a man dressed in a dog suit and can talk to him. Such is Ryan's relationship with Wilfred, his canine companion. Some might think the boy in the story might need a therapist. Who better to play the therapist than Robin Williams?
Acclaimed actor and comedian Robin Williams returned this week to the format that made him a household name in the 1970s, making a guest appearance on Thursday night's episode of the FX sitcom "Wilfred." And he did so in the role of a therapist, similar to the role that garnered him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Dr. Eddie (Williams) lent some professional help to the show's protagonist, Ryan (Elijah Wood), who was having some problems with his relationship with a young woman. Not that Ryan probably didn't need a bit of therapy anyway. He sees his dog, Wilfred, as a man dressed in a dog suit (Jason Gann). And that's not all. Wilfred talks to him.
Fans of Williams have become accustomed to seeing the talented comedic actor either in the role of a therapist or on the receiving end of therapy over the years. As noted by the Internet Movie Database, he gained critical acclaim for his portrayal of Dr. Malcolm Sayer in 1990 in the true story drama "Awakenings," receiving a Golden Globe Best Actor nod. He stepped to the other side of the mental divide with the part of a delusional homeless man in 1991's "The Fisher King," for which he received an Oscar nomination. And it was his role as a psychiatrist in 1997's "Good Will Hunting" that saw Williams take home the Oscar.
But it was on television that Williams was springboarded to fame. Cast by Garry Marshall as the alien Mork for an episode of the hit ABC sitcom "Happy Days," his character was so popular a spin-off show, "Mork and MIndy," was launched, resulting in a successful four-year run. Williams received two Emmy nominations and won one for Best Actor in a Comedy Series in 1979 for his work as the irrepressible Mork from Ork. Although he's made several guest appearances over the years and hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live" a number of times, Williams made a return to television in 2008 in a big way, garnering an Emmy nomination for his dramatic role on NBC's "Law & Order: SVU," this time as a manipulative genius impersonating a cop to get individuals to perform outrageous acts all in the name of thwarting authority.
So it would appear that Williams was in his comfort zone as Dr. Eddie on "Wilfred." And who knows? Perhaps it will become a recurring role for Robin Williams.
The show, "Progress," was the Season 2 premiere of the hit sitcom.
"Wilfred" airs on FX Channel on Thursday evenings at 10:00 p.m.
(photo credit: Steve Jurvetson, Creative Commons)