In today’s installment of “Paul Watches a New Fall Pilot,” we have Running Wilde (watch it here on Hulu), a show I should be automatically predisposed to like. Why? It boasts Will Arnett and David Cross in the cast, and is written by their Arrested Development overmind, Mitchell Hurwitz. As AD is my favorite show of all time by a mile, this should be a slam dunk, right? Wrong.
I’m not sure what it was about Arrested Development, but when the old gang tries to get back together, there is just something huge missing that makes whatever project nowhere near as funny, despite featuring many members of the old guard. The last prime example of this was the animated show, Sit Down Shut Up, Hurwitz wrote for Fox which had Jason Bateman and Arnett doing voices. It was so bad I couldn’t even make it all the way through the first episode and I had no problem with Fox murdering it immediately.
Running Wilde isn’t quite so atrocious, but it just wasn’t very good. Arnett plays a spoiled rich brat well, but the jokes fell flat, and it seemed very pieced together. A big clue that this show has undergone a ton of rewrites is the fact that Cross’s character was added later (I’m not even sure he’s a recurring character), and the two people on the right of the picture you see above aren’t even in the show, and have been replaced by other actors. One even switched genders.
The biggest laugh the show drew out of me was a chuckle when they through in a stealth Arrested joke (the narrator says that Arnett’s character has “made a huge mistake”), but other than that, it really just wasn’t doing anything for me. I suppose Keri Russell and Arnett have some chemistry, and I liked Russell’s mute little freckled daughter, but Arnett’s driver and butler characters are a stereotypical latino guy and a stereotypical old gay fop respectively, and both rubbed me the wrong way.
I just don’t know how AD had the magic it did, and even when you try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again using most of the same pieces, something still isn’t right, and perhaps that show was just some sort of beautiful accident that will never be able to be replicated again.