Comic-Con Interview: Fiona Gubelmann Talks ‘Wilfred’ and Dog-isms

Fiona: "My favorite stuff is stuff that’s played for real"

fiona-gubelman-comic-con-wilfredComic-Con: After three seasons on Wilfred, Fiona Gubelmann‘s character, Jenna, has grown into a “flawed” and “darker” person and that’s absolutely fine with Gubelmann. “I’m really grateful to the fact that my character is much more of a real person,” she said. “She makes mistakes and I like that.”

Wilfred is the story of a guy named Ryan (Elijah Wood) who see’s his neighbor Jenna’s (Gubelmann) dog Wilfred as a crude Australian guy (Jason Gann) in a dog suit.

Fiona was at Comic-Con to plug the new season and I got a chance to chat with her in a roundtable interview. In the interview, she talks about the direction her character is going, if she has any input into Jenna and what it’s like acting opposite a guy in a dog costume.

Wilfred airs on Thursdays at 10pm on FX

What’s interesting about your character, when the show started, Ryan was in love with you. And that’s still there, but that doesn’t seem to be as dominant. Are you pleased with that direction that they’ve sort of broadened their interaction?

Fiona Gubelmann: Definitely. I’m really grateful to the fact that my character is much more of a real person. She’s flawed, she’s not perfect, she’s darker, she’s got, you know, she makes mistakes and I like that.

And I also really like that their relationship is real as opposed to them stringing…  You see in sitcoms and people stringing the relationship along and it just… like ahh! So I like that, yeah, that they’ve developed a friendship and their relationship with two characters. Even this season, Jenna and him, you really start to understand Jenna and Ryan’s relationship and see them as friends who really care for each other as opposed to, “Oh, hey. Can you watch my dog?” or, “Can you trick him into going to the vet?” It’s like I get to actually do more with him and be more of a friend and I really enjoy that. And I also just love working with Elijah. It’s really fun.

Do you think Jenna and Drew are gonna make it?

Fiona Gubelmann: God, I hope so. I don’t know. I love working with Chris, so I can’t imagine Wilfred without Chris Klein. He’s such a sweetie. Yeah. I have no idea, I’m not a writer so I have no idea what they have planned for the next couple of seasons.

Do you have any input in your character?

Fiona Gubelmann: Somewhat. I know what I brought in the beginning to Jenna was, I think, a little different than what they had planned for originally, what I’ve been told. And there’ll be times when I’m like, “Oh my God, you guys. You’ve got to do an episode when Wilfred has a cone around his head. And we should do this, we should do that.” And then they’ll listen to that and come up with funny dog-isms that have happened to people that I know. And we’ll talk about stuff, but I’m not writing the show. I’m not a producer. So it’s pretty much like they have it all mapped out and planned out and thank God because I couldn’t do it.

How difficult is it to play it straight when you have a guy dressed as a dog?

Fiona Gubelmann: Sometimes it can be difficult to play it straight just because Jason is so funny that if I turn and catch and see him doing something that’s really funny, I will break. But what I love about the show and what I love about comedy in general, my favorite stuff is stuff that’s played for real. And so we pretty much keep in that tone and that mood when we’re shooting. Although this season it got a little ridiculous and we were definitely pretty goofy with each other, but so it’s not too hard. To me, Wilfred is my dog so I just kind of treat him like he’s one of my pets.

Which episodes do you like better, the dog-centered humor ones or the more psychological?

Fiona Gubelmann: I like the Jenna episodes the best. [laughs] You know what? That’s a hard one because I like both aspects of the show. One of my favorite things about the show is the comedic element in terms of yes, the dog-isms are really funny but I also really love the lines, the intelligent lines that they’ll just kind of throw away. I’ll never forget something, the first episode, when Wilfred’s like, “Oh, when I’m eating off of the ass of a possum,” and little things like that. They’ll just say things that are so funny and brilliant and just throw them away and I love that. And then I love the dark stuff too because there’s something that you can connect to as a person on that level.

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