Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Foot: Review of Running Wilde--Pilot + Screenplay of the Day

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="442" caption="Keri Russel is adorable."][/caption]

A couple of years ago, Mitchell Hurwitz created the best American comedy ever. Yes, even better than Seinfeld in my humble opinion. The show went by the name of Arrested Development. Since the cancellation of the show in 2006, rumors about a movie have surfaced every now and then. Arrested Development is as beloved a series as it was when it was actually being produced. Arrested Development now follows the careers of the cast and the top writers. The actors have more or less been defined by their time on Arrested Development and anything Mitch Hurwitz writes will be compared to Arrested Development. Any review of the newest show from the AD writers, Running Wilde, contains a paragraph about Arrested Development and, inevitably, uses the perfection that was Arrested Development in the evaluation about the worth.

Is that fair though? The same sort of situation happens to bands. If a band writes an outstanding debut album, that album will follow the band around for the rest of the band's existence. Should the band stray from the roots of the first record, the fanbase will turn on the band for failing to write the same record. Critics insist they do not want Running Wild to be another Arrested Development; however, the widespread Arrested Development content in the reviews leads one to assume critics actually want Running Wilde to be Arrested Development 2.

The only similarity between the two shows is Will Arnett as Steve Wilde. Arnett basically plays Gob Bluth. Now, Wilde is the main character so the Arrested Development comparisons cannot be ignored. At times, the show feels like a spinoff with Gob Bluth. But Running Wilde is different. Arrested Development was about a rich family that had no interest in changing and, well, lacked the self-awareness to think about change. Running Wilde is about change.

Steven Wilde is self-involved and the kind of person who would give himself a humanitarian award just because he wants an award. He surrounds himself with yes men and friends whom he actually pays to be his friend; however, Wilde becomes a little less self-involved when Emmy, an old girl he once kissed and built a tree house for, attends his humanitarian award party. Emmy is an actual humanitarian, working to preserve indigenous cultures in the Amazon jungle. She also has a daughter, Puddle, who narrates the show, as well as a goofy humanitarian husband (played by David Cross).

Emmy, despite herself, experiences the same feelings for Wilde that she had as a young girl. Emmy also wants Wilde to ask his father stop an oil project in the location of her the people she's been protecting. Wilde simply moves the people into his house. But Emmy eventually decides to live with Wilde because she is good influence on him. She wants him to change, to become a better man. You see, Wilde took the fall for Puddle, who didn't speak for six months, and took the blame for lying to Emmy about a doctor and diagnosis regarding Puddle. Somehow, this led Emmy to decide that she wanted to live with Wilde.

The pilot wasn't very good. The laughs were few and far between; however, when the laughs came, they were good laughs. The supporting characters have potential as well as the inevitable clash between Wilde and Emmy's husband. I don't have issues with the two main characters either. Emmy is the archetype of a likable do-gooder and Keri Russel is so endearing and cute. Wilde's a bit of retread of Gob but that could change as the show progresses. I liked the first two acts but the third act ruined the pilot for me. I also strongly disliked Puddle as the narrator. The child narrator pretty much destroys any hope I had for some classic Hurwitz/Vallely humor.

I don't think I'll write weekly about Running Wilde. There isn't too much to write about. Ideally, I like to write a good amount of an episode. I'm going to continue watching though because Hurwitz has earned it. And I think the show will improve.


Party Down--"Steve Guttenberg's Birthday" written by John Enbom http://www.zen134237.zen.co.uk/Party_Down/Party_Down_2x05_-_Steve_Guttenbergs_Birthday.pdf

Party Down was a comedy that barely anybody watched and it was brilliant. Thanks for not watching America, you so and sos. I won't say much about the episode except that it's awesome. At least read the damn scripts for the show if you didn't watch the actual series.


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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.