9
Nov
2010
Running Wilde: Season 1, Episode 6
Best Man
Jordan
The more I watch Running Wilde, the more I'm convinced that there's really only one episode of the show, with varying returns: Every week, Steve and Emmy are stubborn and unable to understand what the other wants, Puddle is precocious and over-explains everything, Migo and Lutz look out for Steve, and Fa'ad is the best thing on the show. All of those ingredients are pretty much acceptable for an episode when they're done well, but when they fail to coalesce, the show feels really repetitive, and worse, unfunny.

Tonight, Steve and Emmy engage in a game of chicken over her engagement to Andy, with Steve offering to throw Emmy a wedding in an attempt to get her to admit she doesn't want to marry Andy, and Emmy going along with the plans to convince Steve she does (Even though she doesn't). What results is a Renaissance style fairy tale wedding with games of skill, free cups, and costumes for all involved. Things get even more complicated when Steve decides he actually to wants to marry Emmy (he doesn't) and when Andy shows up to win Emmy back from Steve so he can marry her (which he doesn't want to do). The two joust, which results in Steve being a "total loser" (Puddle's unfortunate term, not mine) and Andy going to Canadian jail.

There is a lot of good material in "Best Man" and a ridiculous number of gags. I think the basis of Steve and Emmy's relationship is solid, and I still believe that it could form tha foundations of a very good sitcom; the problem I'm having with it currently is that every episode pretty much uses their relationship in an identical way. I understand that Hurwitz is going for a more traditional and repetitive sitcom (though I hate that goal), but that cannot mean that he makes the exact same episode again and again. There have to be permutations, at the very least, to his form, and so far Running Wilde has onyl shown us one story it can do. Similarly, Steve and Andy are well drawn and funny characters who have reasonable problems with each other, but if they are to be only thrown into the same rivalry over Emmy every time Andy appears, its going to get old fast. Even Fa'ad, easily the best character on the show and the most reliable generator of laughs, seems to have ostensibly one plotline (trying to "compete" with whatever Steve is doing, which is really a pretty stupid idea but a potentially funny one) but manages to transcend it better than the rest of the cast by being so strange that you almost forget he's doing effectively the same thing every week.

There have been a few pretty good episodes of Running Wilde and a few pretty bad ones. I'm not ready to give up on the show, because there is so much potential in all aspects of it, and because I keep hoping that Hurwitz will stop flagellating himself and just go, well, wild with his concept and characters. Yet I can only watch this episode so many times before it doesn't matter how many times I laugh (and despite the effort, "Best Man" was maybe the least funny episode so far) if its at effectively the same joke. The show as its currently being run has diminishing marginal returns. I just hope it realizes that before those returns completely diminish.

Grade: C

Notes:

-"And you don't need to shy away from the double entendre. Like have her...eating a banana while he's making love to her."

-"First of all, even an idiot would get that...Although you did say Steve..."

-"Perhaps I have put too much faith in the wisdom of this tent school jungle child who combs her hair with a stick..."

-"You're growing more mature every day." "I know I am, but what are you?"

-"Come here my little Burning Man!"

-"Tomorrow at high noon." "No, high noon is really sticky around here." "Yeah, I've noticed that." "How about like 10 or 10:30?"
Tags: Running Wilde
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