28
Sep
2010
Running Wilde: Season 1, Episode 2
Into the WIlde
Jordan
To show how far Running Wilde has gone in two episodes, one need only look at how simple the plot of tonight's episode is: Essentially, Steve wants to take Emmy on vacation, and Emmy wants to go on vacation. Yet because the two fundamentally don't understand their relationship, and because of the other elements the show throws in to make that relationship more complicated (and more hilarious), "Into the Wilde" transcended the simple basis for the episode, and became something more singular than just a "the cast goes camping" installment in the show.

First, the fundamental misunderstanding that starts off all the tomfoolery: Steve thinks he should take Emmy and Puddle on vacation to a resort, but Migo points out that Emmy would probably rather reduce Steve's carbon footprint, so Steve sets about sullying a cabin on his property to make it outdoorsy enough to seem like a vacation for the girls (by which I mean Migo sets about sullying the cabin, which, by the way, Mr. Lunt has been fixing up as a retirement home for himself for over a decade). Of course Emmy, having spent six years in the jungle, really just wants to be pampered for once, and so neither of them will get what both really want. This is a solid premise, which I'm sure the show will use repeatedly in the weeks to come: Steve and Emmy are not as far apart as both of them think, but their efforts to one-up each other and prove themselves superior will lead to some comedy gold.

Complicating matters, Emmy's fiance Andy (David Cross) shows up, shocked that Emmy has moved into a McTreehouse. Andy quickly hatches a plan to kidnap Steve and hold him for ransom to buy back the land that Wilde Oil took from the tribe. But because Andy knows Steve could clearly overpower him, he decides instead to invite Steve on a hike, and mail a ransom letter so that everyone will think Steve was kidnapped. Steve goes along with it, because he wants to show Emmy that he can get along with Andy and thus drive Emmy and Andy apart, leaving her free for him. And Fa'ad sweeps in once Steve and Andy are gone to win Emmy over.

All of this is the stuff of great comedy, but parts of Running Wilde still need some work. For one thing, Puddle's narration is seemingly wholly unnecessary, as she spends most of the episode explaining things we already understand. I'm not sure if Hurwitz threw in the narration out of habit (Arrested Development was narrated hilariously by Ron Howard) or as a way to dumb the show down for mainstream audiences, but either way it doesn't really work. When Puddle pretends to be running to stop the ransom letter from being mailed, only to stop running immediately out of her mother's sight, we don't need narration telling us she isn't going to hurrt because she doesn't like Andy. We can figure that out on our own. Also, while this episode through a lot at us, plot wise and joke wise, it did not all fit together as cleanly as it should. Yet it was very funny, and it also had a surprising amount of heart, most of which came from the realization that Steve's father recieved the ransom note, and just decided not to pay it (hearkening back to, and explaining the reson for, the game Steve was playing at the episode's open, in which he would not tell someone he was hiding, and then pay them $500 for finding him). Running Wilde has the makings of a great comedy, and even if it isn't there quite yet, I am more than willing to wait for it to find its feet.

Grade: B+

Notes:

-"They care about me. They just choose not to show it with words or actions."

-"I just couldn't figure out how to use your dishwasher." "Who, Oleg? Just shove the dish into his chest and he'll take it from there."

-"Oh, admit it, you find my wealth to be emasculating." "I am not a man." "Then shave your legs, sir!"

-"Just three weeks of her, me, and my four poster bed." "You always make me bring that, and we never put it together."

-"I'm not talking about financial worth." "Then please stop using the word worth!"

-"I did not win a Loose Cannon at the Eco Terrorist Awards for not knowing a little something about water pressure."

-Fa'ad confuses his B's and V's. An excellent joke subtly continued throughout the episode.

-"I'm so sorry. I didn't get that at all. Its so hard to hear under that Treehouse." Another excellent running gag, which lead to the brilliant physical comedy of pretty much everyone trying to climb up or down the treehouse ladder at the same time.

-"Is there room for one more on this bacation?" "Of course." "Oh, well then let's bring Steve. He's having a rough day."
Tags: Running Wilde
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