Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pilot Review: Running Wilde

Running Wilde (FOX)
Premiered September 21 at 9:30pm

This is the Will Arnett Show. It’s sort of like a form of the Betty White Effect – whenever Arnett appears on screen and does pretty much anything, it’s as if the whole world stops and this is the greatest thing anyone has ever seen. The rest of “Running Wilde” might as well not exist because Will Arnett is the star, and that’s about as good a reason as any for many people to tune into this wacky FOX comedy. It’s certainly a beast of its own, though “Arrested Development” fans should be pleased about the irreverent tone and style of the show. David Cross is even present in the pilot just to drive home the fact that, while some cast members are present, this idea is nowhere near as brilliant as most consider AD to be. I remember despising Keri Russell’s guest appearance on the sixth season of “Scrubs,” so I’m pleased to report that she’s appropriately cast here and isn’t nearly as irksome ever time she speaks or, more often, delivers a blank stare. Like its central character, “Running Wilde” goes for broke every time – all the jokes are big and over-the-top, and immense effort is put into making the characters as hilarious as possible. The result is a wildely uneven show that has glimmers of brilliance but can’t quite hold it together. It’s not a show that’s meant to be taken seriously since it doesn’t really follow a coherent plotline, and therefore it’s up to Arnett (and the gang might seem like the proper thing to add here, but not in this case) to pick up the slack. How many people might feel is that Arnett is deserving of his own show but this just isn’t the vehicle for him. It’s loud and entertaining, and even if it doesn’t make a lick of sense some of the time, this show is all about being broad and most importantly being a soapbox for Will Arnett to act as crazy as can be.

How will it work as a series? Promos seemed to indicate that Russell’s “eco” would be paired with Arnett’s “ego,” and that’s probably close to what the episode-by-episode framework of this show will be: Russell’s Emmy trying to cure Arnett’s Steven of at least one bad habit every week. It will likely be hit or miss based on the episode’s plot, but quick cuts to random, laugh-out-loud flashbacks should help enliven the dull installments.
How long will it last? I couldn’t imagine watching promos for season two of this show just because I don’t think that the premise can be sustained, or the audience entertained, for that long. The ratings were somewhat on par with lead-in “Raising Hope,” which I despised, and therefore FOX may be inclined to test its success at having a comedy block for the rest of the season.


1 comment:

Greg Boyd said...

I completely agree, apart from being pleased about the irreverent tone and style. I'm a huge "AD" fan, but its manic style just doesn't work as well here. There are some big laughs (David Cross was pretty funny as the terrorist boyfriend), and decent chemistry between Russell and Arnett. Since I enjoyed "Raising Hope", I'll probably watch this show too for a while. It's far from bad, and the talent involved is good enough that I hope it'll improve. It needs to stop trying to be "Arrested Development 2.0", though.