Fiona Gubelmann of ‘Wilfred’ schools us on Australian comedy and where to get tacos in L.A.
If you missed the first season of “Wilfred” on FX, move it to the top of your NetFlix queue and clear your Saturday. It’s the kind of show you’ll watch one episode of because a friend of a friend said they love it, and the next thing you know it’s 1am Sunday, all your roommate’s chips and salsa are gone and you can’t believe you managed to ignore your internet for an entire day. And the next morning you’ll wake up wanting to start Season 2, and you’ll be in luck, because you’ll have already DVRed tonight’s episode (10pm).
For the uninitiated, “Wilfred” is based on a critically acclaimed Australian series by the same name, and stars Elijah Wood as Ryan, a depressive, down-on-his-luck 20-something who happens to see his neighbor’s dog Wilfred as a caustic, hyperactive, though endearing Australian man in a dog costume. If it sounds a little insane, it totally is, and in the best possible way.
Fiona Gubelmann, who plays Wilfred’s owner and Ryan’s potential love interest answered a few of our questions about the show, her career and where to eat in L.A.
“Wilfred” is completely different from everything else on television—I mean, a guy in a dog suit? What did you think when you first got the script?
I have a very dark sense of humor, so when I read the script I just thought it was brilliant. I kept cracking up, and I thought it was a good sign that as I read I kept wanting to quote lines from it. But in all honesty I was a little thrown by the guy in the dog suit. I didn’t quite understand it and couldn’t quite visualize it, you know? So many pictures came to mind. So I went on YouTube and watched the 7-minute short that was the original “Wilfred” and as soon as I saw it, I got it.
Did you think it was going to be a guy on his hands and knees?
I had no idea. I was picturing a cheap Halloween costume. I really couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I was like “What? Why is there a guy in a dog suit? I don’t get it.” And of course I was thinking of Brian from “Family Guy” too.
Working with Jason Gann must be hilarious.
Oh my God. The things that come out of his mouth are brilliant. He’s so funny and witty. I’m always laughing. I love Australian and British humor. My mom grew up in England so growing up we watched British comedies. Also I have a natural bubbly-ness to me, so I’m attracted to a dry sense of humor because it’s different from mine. I love Ricky Gervais and Chris Lilley. Have you ever watched “Summer Heights High”? It’s amazing, it’s brilliant. Also “The Increasingly Poor Conditions of Todd Margaret.” That’s with David Cross but it’s very British. I highly recommend it.
Have you always wanted to be a comedic actress?
Actually, I always wanted to do drama, but I kept booking comedy. I was like, What? I’m not even funny, I don’t get it.
You’re funny. Was there a moment when it switched for you and you realized you should be doing comedy?
No, right from the beginning I just kept booking comedy. Like even on “The Mullets,” which was one of the first jobs I did. It was so silly and such a fun character, and making people laugh just felt so good.
I struggled with sitcoms and I still do. I think sitcoms are extremely difficult to do well. Really good comedic sitcom actors make it look so easy but it takes a lot of work and skill. I’ve spent a lot of time training when I realized how much I love comedy and it takes a lot more work than drama.
“Wilfred” is great because I get to do comedy but I also have some beautifully scripted emotional, dramatic moments, which are fun to get to do. I get the best of both worlds.
You were a Woodland Fairy in “Blades of Glory.” Did that involve any figure skating?
No, I wish. That would have been a lot of fun. I had an ice skating birthday party as a kid. Originally I thought I might get to but then Jon Heder broke his ankle and they had to shut down production for a little bit. So I was told I wouldn’t get to. This is a vague memory. But that would have been a lot of fun.
What do you have coming up?
I’m going to be in “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” this Fall! I play a mean girl, and actually the episode is called “Mean Girl,” and my character’s name is Stephanie. I play the queen bee of these Pilates girls who call themselves the Hotties for Pilates. It was really fun getting to be a mean girl and play opposite Kristin Ritter and Dreama [Walker]. They’re both wonderfully talented, sweet, funny women. It was great. I got to have a cat fight with Kristen Ritter. It was amazing.
You’ve lived in LA all your life, right? You must know all were all the best tacos are.
I was born in LA but I was raised in San Diego, then moved back up for college.
El Cholo is incredible, especially the el Cholo on Western. There’s one in Santa Monica, which is definitely more hip and trendy, but the one on Western is awesome. I bike there sometimes. It’s far from my house but it’s well worth it.
Then if you haven’t been to Spanish Kitchen or El Compadre, I highly recommend them.
What were some of the funniest things people have tweeted at you while you live-tweet during the show?
Let me think…one time I asked everyone to tweet their favorite lines for the season, and if they used them and how in their daily life. That was fun, that was really cool to see people incorporating our show in their daily lives.
And I think there’s a lot of Linkin Park fans who watch our show.
Yeah, so many fans are always asking me about about Linkin Park on Twitter.
No way, what’s the connection?
Oh, I don’t know what the connection is between Linkin Park and “Wilfred,” but they’re always like: “Do you like Linkin Park?” I think it’s hilarious. I have no idea why. I can’t quite figure out that connection.