Running Wilde Is Definitely Up from "Don't Buy!"

By Stefanie Lee

Sep 30, 2010

After last week's premiere of Running Wilde, I was skeptical that the show would ever hit its stride—particularly because people (like me) would inevitably compare it to Arrested Development, and it would more than likely always fall short. Well, I stand sit at my desk corrected (at least for now). The second episode of Running Wilde was funny! And while I can't help but keep comparing the show to Arrested Development because the comparison is obvious (Come on!**), I'm feeling much better about its potential for greatness.

"Into the Wilde" had something obvious that last week's premiere did not: context. When we first met all of the characters, each of them seemed to have two very contradictory personalities, but for no real reason: Steve (Will Arnett) was a spoiled imbecile who also wanted to do nice things for other people. Emmy (Keri Russell) was a dedicated activist who also didn’t mind the occasional luxury. Fa’ad (Peter Serafinowicz) was a wealthy one-upper who also enjoyed the company of his neighbors. In Tuesday's second episode, we got a taste of the traits that fill the gaps between these two extremes: Steve just wants a family to spend his money on, Emmy just wants to set a good example for her daughter, and Fa’ad just wants some friends. The caricatures started to become real characters that we can root for. And, of course, laugh at.

Emmy’s facial expressions alone were a massive improvement from the pilot; she has this charming ingenuity about her that her fiance Andy (David Cross) only enhances with his crass remarks and removable beard rat tail. And Steve is a lot easier to relate to than Gob ever was—he actually does things for other people without worrying about how he’ll benefit. I'm eager to see the frenemy-mance blossom between him and Fa’ad.

At the moment, my only remaining qualm is, sadly, Puddle. The character isn't compelling enough to be the show's narrator, and Stefania Owen's acting doesn't match up to that of her co-stars. Or maybe it's just that her narration will never be as good as Ron Howard's.

What did you think of Episode 2?

**Did anyone else catch the AD connection in Running Wilde's use of the family cabin to metaphorically crush someone’s dreams?

Follow writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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  • torontogirl98 Oct 04, 2010

    I really enjoy the show I've never seen AD so I have no idea how they compare but I really enjoy Will Arnett and this show is really funny and interesting, I hope it get a chance to come into its own

  • adamonfire Oct 01, 2010

    I_Smell_Fishy is absolute right, if you want a show to succeed you certainly don't want to link it to another show that has won five Emmy's and countless other awards - that would be just downright stupid of them.

  • BonnieWinslow Sep 30, 2010

    I never saw AR so I Can't compare. The first episode had me in stitches...Steve pretending to play the electric piano and Puddle eating leaves and running out to get her thing...Fa'ad walking past the window on his horse. Very silly stuff but it made me laugh. Second episode was fine but I can't remember any of the funny stuff.

  • marktoll Sep 30, 2010

    Don't think we'll have to worry about it much longer.
    Tuesday's "RW" lost 2.5 mil viewers from it's
    Raising Hope lead in. Probably won't last
    thru Nov.

  • Spoontown Sep 30, 2010

    Not Peter Serafinowicz's best moment for that see the classic 'Look Around You' I still can't decide if his portrayal of Fa'ad is racist after all he is very much a white English man and seems to have a tinge to his skin.........

  • saraanela Sep 30, 2010

    It's a really good show and I hope people will stop comparing it to AD and see it as its own.

  • voilla Sep 30, 2010

    the lamest show on TV!!!!!

  • barryinthailand Sep 30, 2010

    Speaking of Second Chances. The second ep of CHASE was pretty darn good.

    Kind of like an Elmore Leonard novel.

    Hope they keep that style going.

    Dry, interesting, complex, violent characters and calm, efficient, relentless lawmen.

  • I_Smell_Fishy Sep 30, 2010

    I think both episodes stand well on their own, and this show has a better chance of succeeding if you stop referring to arrested development. The characters are strong, the acting is good. If you want to alienate people, just keep up with the AD references. The fact is, the show is really good so far, with top notch writing. The AD references are fun for those of us that followed the show. I'm amazed that you think a character that acts as the glue for so many others, at least in the first episode is a weak link. Maybe not amazed, but surprised. Interesting observation. Can't say I agree.

  • Verjigorm76 Sep 30, 2010

    First of all, I never saw AD, so I can watch this show without a constant need of comparism.
    I also liked the second episode better than the first one, but I'm still not convinced.

    Arnett and Russell toned a bit down on their annoying overacting from the pilot, but the Fa'ad character...oh my. If it wasn't for the really annoying activist, Fa'ad would be my no.1 dislike character.
    And in contrast to the author, I actually like Puddle and I really love how she is the only sane person between all the loonies.

    Let's wait for this week's Ousourced. Maybe after that, Running Wilde is only the second worse new Comedy this year.

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