5
Oct
2010
Running Wilde: Season 1, Episode 3
Oil and Water
Jordan
I truly enjoyed the first two episodes of Running Wilde, and I think the show could become very funny and go to some very interesting places (though I admit that my faith arises more from the talent behind it than from the overall strength of the series so far). But "Oil and Water" was an example of pretty much everything I have problems with, and was also not as funny as the last two episodes to boot.

To begin with, as I mentioned last week, Puddle's narration absoltely has to go, or has to be changed dramatically to make it work within the context of a comedy for adults. Its only use, best I can tell, is to erase any semblance of subtlety from the show, explaining even slightly complex jokes just in case the viewer doesn't want to think at all (Think, for example, of when Fa'ad decided to rub himself with ice to keep warm and Puddle told us he war "incorrect," or worse, when Emmy was walking down a hall yelling "Steve! Steve!" and Puddle told us, "my Mom couldn't find Steve anywhere." Really? That's why she is looking around and yelling his name? Because she can't find him? Well thanks for explaining that, Puddle. I would've been lost otherwise). I understand that Mitch Hurwitz is trying to make Running Wilde more mainstream and successful than Arrested Development, but if that comes at the price of the show's intelligence and comedy, is it really worth it not getting cancelled?

Another issue I am finding is the show's repetitiveness. In other words, it seems to repeat itself a lot. Put another way, the show seems to say the same thing over and over again. I understand that its premise involves Steve trying to woo Emmy, even though they are polar opposites who are somehow still attracted to one another. I think this premise is a strong one, but not if every episode is reduced to "Steve tries to impress Emmy, but he fails comedically because he just doesn't understand her." Think about it:Episode One had Steve trying to convince Emmy to stay in all the wrong ways, Episode Two has Steve trying to take Emmy on a vacation in all the wrong ways, and Episode Three has Steve trying to show Emmy he's a conscientious guy in all the wrong ways. This episode tweaks the format slightly by having Steve do the right thing of his own desire while Emmy makes the big mistake, but it plays out pretty much like the last two. If this show doesn't think of more storylines to examine, its going to get very old very fast.

What did work tonight: Fa'ad's ridiculous, locked in the vodka cellar antics. This was cheap, lazy, and has been done many times before, but it was the only part of the episode that made me laugh consistently throughout, and Fa'ad's stupidity is something the show has used in every episode without the diminishing marginal returns of each of the other components I discussed tonight. Many series have a bad episode early in their runs, a sort of stumbling out of the gate as the writers and cast try to figure out what works and what doesn't. There are no two ways about it: This was a bad episode of Running Wilde. I just hope the immense talent behind the show sees that and starts to fix the problem before the show finds itself cancelled, and this time, for good reason.

Grade: C

Notes:

-"I think I know a little girl who should spend a little less time spying on adults and a little more time trying to find a husband."

-"I don't think a vodka cellar is the best place for a sober child."

-"You didn't learn that in history?" "I guess Bob Fosse didn't want to spook me."

-"Oh well. Its not like anybody ever froze to death."

-"I don't know what KFC is, and I generally don't handle my own champagne bucket."

-"What the hell did you do to Paul Schaffer?"

-"This is the example you're showing my daughter? When things get hard you...don't quit?"

-"Cake? Cake is for babies!" "Of course babies like it, because its so good."

-This may be my obsession talking more than actual callbacks, but I liked Andy's reference to the Blue Man Group, and Steve saying he hates high fives, both comments on their Arrested Development characters.
Tags: Running Wilde
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