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?
Follow TV.com writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom