Running Wilde, "Pilot": the tribe has spoken

Quick Take: Running Wilde, "Pilot"
"On the night of the party, Steve was worried he'd made a huge mistake." - Puddle

running wilde

Review: Running Wilde, "Pilot"
(S0101) Let's get the Arrested Development talk out of the way early.  Is the Running Wilde pilot in the same ballpark as Mitchell Hurwitz's Arrested pilot?  Not quite.  But, the Arrested pilot's greatness was earned in retrospect as the series progressed.  Only after we as the audience realized how much we had to pay attention to every minute detail in order to enjoy the show to its fullest extent, were we able to appreciate the groundwork for greatness that was laid in the pilot.  I'm not sure if taken on its own, I'd feel the same affection for it without the 52 episodes that followed.  

In many ways, the first Running Wilde episode works in that same way.  It has several very funny moments, but it's going to need to take its fairly straightforward concept and really run with it for me to fall in love with it like I did the Bluth clan.

My favorite Bluth was G.O.B., so putting Will Arnett in the title role is a good start.  And he plays the part pretty perfectly, if maybe only because Arnett has been playing smarmy his whole career and it just comes natural at this point.  His Steve Wilde is somewhat like an exaggerated version of G.O.B. anyway: on Arrested he was the spoiled, neglected son of a rich man; on Wilde he is the spoiled, neglected son of a SUPER rich man.  So far, though, I'm completely on board with Arnett's performance.

I can't immediately say the same about Keri Russell's turn as childhood sweetheart/environmentalist Emmy Kadubic.  She just doesn't seem to have the comedic chops, at least not for the screwball nature of the writing seen here.  I worry about this because a great deal of the show seems to deal with the supposed chemistry between Steve and Emma, but I didn't really see much of it.

The supporting cast, though, was quite strong.  I especially liked Peter Serafinowicz as Steve's competitive neighbor Fa'ad and the young, unfortunately-named actress (Stefania Owen) who played the even more unfortunately-named daughter of Emmy (Puddle) handled the necessary excited cuteness needed for the role.  I don't think Owen's narration abilities will hold a candle to Ron Howard's, but it was streets ahead of the Scandalmakers narrator.

I just wish I would have gotten some more laugh-out-loud jokes.  I found myself smirking often, occasionally breaking out into a mild giggle, but only once really impressed to the point of guffawing: the scene where Fa'ad pretends to be a doctor in order to trick Emmy into staying in town for the sake of the mute-but-faking-it Puddle was downright priceless.  

Running Wilde needs to keep up with the kind of tone displayed in that scene for it to come close to Arrested's glory.  And while the creative team behind Wilde is probably trying to downplay the comparisons to AD, it's going to be on the mind of Bluth fans like me, whether they like it or not.  It's a tough shadow to live under, but the resume of the cast and crew might be just talented enough to create its own legacy.

More thoughts on Running Wilde's debut: 

  • Oh, lordy, what a hilarious title for a show.  Steve's last name is Wilde.  And it's called Running Wilde.  Get it? Like the expression "running wild."  Comedic genius, I tell ya.
  • Gotta love (non-sarcastically this time) the G.O.B. reference in the quote that sits atop the picture above.
  • "Fa'ad is going to feel a holocaust of envy."
  • I didn't even mention David Cross because, unfortunately, there wasn't much to discuss.  He showed up, was dirty, and then disappeared.
  • "I'll go get my thing."
  • Video: Running Wilde, "Pilot"
    Check out a sneak peek of the show, from Hulu:  

    By Mike Proper

    About the author

    I work hard.  And I play hard.  

    Actually, I don't work that hard.

    Also I Tweet.

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    On: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    Dude, did you just drop a "streets ahead" reference? Very nice... :-) 

    Interestingly, I just watched the pilot of The Increasingly Pour Decisions of Todd Margaret, which features (wouldn't you know) Will Arnett and David Cross, so much of what you wrote above with regard to AD comparisons were on my mind. And, interestingly, my overall take on that show was not so far off your take on Running Wilde. 

    I thought Russel held her own in the charming family comedy Bedtime Stories (opposite Adam Sandler) but can see where you're coming from with dropping her into a role where she has to play opposite Arnett's intense zaniness. 

    Looking forward to checking out RW and great review !

    On: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
    Mike Proper said:

    I saw the Todd Margaret pilot a few months ago too and I found that to be a little stronger than this, but maybe with less potential overall. 

    On: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    Very interesting take -- longevity definitely feels like it could be an issue for Margaret (though maybe it'll go that British route of super short series by American standards?). 

    On: Thursday, September 23, 2010
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    Caught up on Running Wilde tonight... I'm feeling like I could take or leave it at this point, but will try to give it a chance for a few more episodes. I agree that the bits with Fa'ad and the miniature horse was funny, and I enjoyed the overly fawning butler character as well. 

    Arnett was solid as always and I thought Russell was fairly good as well, and agree that they both need to be served up strong writing to be able to hold our interest for the long haul 

    On: Sunday, September 26, 2010
    totallytv said:

    Finally watched Running Wilde tonight--I loved it! I thought it was hilarious and yes, laugh out loud funny in parts. Maybe it helped that I really don't remember Arrested Development at this point. My favorite character was Puddle. I hope this show continues to be funny, though I could see it easily going downhill.

    On: Sunday, September 26, 2010
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    Great point, Puddle was very cute, and good actress. 


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