'Running Wilde' - 'The Junior Affair': More than words

Posted Oct 13, 2010 11:43 AM By  

<p>Will Arnett on &quot;Running Wilde.&quot;</p>

A quick review of last night's "Running Wilde" coming up just as soon as I ignore the guerillas...

I had hoped that last week's episode indicated a show that was starting to figure itself out, but the first two thirds of "The Junior Affair" were as airless and laughless as the second episode. Despite having far fewer characters than on "Arrested Development," it feels like this show is having to rush a lot through its stories and trying too hard to make the jokes work as it races along.

Then we got to the car wash gag, and even there my initial reaction was, "Oh, yes, I get the joke they're telling here. Steve doesn't understand that Dan is gay and that what he's doing will be attractive to him. A comic misunderstanding." But, as Puddle noted, the thing just kept going, and going, and going, until even my resistance crumbled and I couldn't help but laugh at Steve obliviously having a water fight with his new boyfriend/father figure.

So between that moment, and Peter Serafinowicz's uncanny Alan Alda impression, I laughed just enough that "Running Wilde" gets another week from me. But considering that the ratings keep falling, and that the show is already being pre-empted two weeks from now, I'm not sure how many episodes we're all getting.

What did everybody else think?

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  • Default-avatar
    J2B
    I thought it was another well done episode. Can't believe FOX is going to kill this, but keep Raising Hope.
    October 13, 2010 at 12:09PM EST
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    Steve
    I thought it was great. Easily the best episode yet. I think you can make a case that each episode has improved on the previous one.
    October 13, 2010 at 12:16PM EST
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  • I'm having the opposite reaction to the show. I really thought the first two episodes showed promise, focusing on Steve as underdeveloped child but one with good intentions. The first two episodes were quite sweet.

    But the past two episodes have fallen flat for me, particularly in the plotting. I mean, the Keri Russell storyline last night was simply nonsensical. All it did was build to a revelation that you could see coming from the first moment. It's relying only on whacked humor now, and it's not working. (Except for the Alan Alda reveal.)

    I used to think I was almost this show's only champion; I find it weird to be disheartened by it just as other people might be getting on board.
    October 13, 2010 at 12:19PM EST
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    Abby
    I didn't have anywhere else to comment, but please PLEASE write about Parenthood's episode last night. I know you were complaining about the show last week, but you have to understand that some of us come to this site just for Parenthood - and credit where credit is due, it is just a lovely show. "The Booth Job" was an outstanding episode, and I would be shocked if you didn't have things to say about it. I know I do.
    October 13, 2010 at 12:29PM EST
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  • The Alan Alda impression was genius! And if you get Andy Richter to guest on your show, I will watch it. Not great but better than the show on previous to it...(although whoever does the music on Raising Cane or whatever it's called is awesome... They might be giants one week, Roger Miller the next)
    October 13, 2010 at 12:30PM EST
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    • I honestly thought they had gotten Alan Alda to dub.
      October 13, 2010 at 12:34PM EST
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    Emily N.
    I too loved the Alan Alda impression and the car wash sequence. It's not a fantastic show but it makes me laugh enough that I will continue watching it until they take it off the air (which as you pointed out, will probably be sooner rather than later).
    October 13, 2010 at 12:33PM EST
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    knifoon
    The Andy/Will stuff was great, as was the Alan Alda impersonation. The rest, not so much. The Emmy plotline was painful to watch.
    October 13, 2010 at 12:55PM EST
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      Crumdawg97
      It scares me when my reactions are a little TOO similar to Alan's! The carwash scene indeed just kept going to the point where you had no choice but starting laughing boisterously (and Mr. Lunt's "Don't you do a [bleeping] thing" comment really paid it all off"). The Alan Alda impression might've been the most unexpected moment of hilarity I've experienced on any show this season.

      On the Emmy plotline, I thought her initial roadside encounter with Puddle's boyfriend was really well done, but subsequent encounters weren't as funny. I wouldn't call them "painful" though - Puddle's narration about thinking at some point you'd mention the person's (Puddle's) name helped bring some self-awareness to the ridiculousness of the "mixup." Emmy's word choices in referring to kissing on the lips kept it amusing for me.
      October 14, 2010 at 10:34AM EST
  • I love this show. It's the only new one left that I'm watching besides "Terriers," and I'm pretty much waiting for both to be cut.
    October 13, 2010 at 1:01PM EST
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    Nadine
    It's my favorite new show this fall, I hope it stays.
    October 13, 2010 at 1:18PM EST
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    Tausif Khan
    My feeling is that Running Wilde has to try harder not to make jokes as Hurwitz put jokes everywhere in Arrested Development (talking about how if he thought a sign would be funnier in the background of a shot he would change it up). The formula for Arrested Development was for me establish a broad premise and in referring back to it constantly have a joke-joke- joke-joke-joke-etc. format. Here it seems the format is establish a tight premise and even if you can make very nuanced jokes shy away from that and make a broad long gag joke that might bring in mainstream viewers (KFC office luncheon and Steve Wilde washing the car- the show just stopped for me during these segments).
    October 13, 2010 at 1:39PM EST
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  • Dec68d935006f54ec08bf415b18429bb_talkback_profile
    Savvy Veteran
    I thought this was the best episode so far (by leaps and bounds, even) as far as laugh-ratio is concerned. The story was pretty freaking predictable—I'm sure all of us saw both turns coming *far* before we were "supposed" to—but it was FILLED with those "miniature horse"-details Hurwitz alluded to in that great Vulture interview.

    Sure, it stings a little bit that such a creative guy has to be reigned in and forced to tell these kind of rote, sitcommy stories, but I think he's really succeeding at rising above the constraints and still making the show funny by packing it with his own personal touches. Steve misinterpreting a gay gentleman's clear attraction to with him as paternal attention from a father figure? A little hack. But having Andy Richter play the guy, and informing us (in his first 30 seconds onscreen, at that) that he runs private armies and to not look the guerillas in the eye? Brilliant!

    If the show keeps doing episodes like this—or, er, is able to STAY ON THE AIR—I'm definitely going to keep watching and defending it. (I actually have been somewhat enjoying Raising Hope, too—and I think it's nice that it'll be on for at least 22 episodes—but its ceiling is so, SO much lower than this show's is.) Plus, any program in which one character smilingly calls another a "rotting old puff," and it's treated entirely as a throwaway line has my enthusiastic stamp of approval.
    October 13, 2010 at 2:15PM EST
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      Rotting old puff
      I loved that line too. Had to rewind to hear it again.
      October 13, 2010 at 4:29PM EST
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    Jono
    If you have been disappointed by this show, switch quickly to watching The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret on IFC.
    October 13, 2010 at 3:20PM EST
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    desmund hume
    how many more chances does will arnett get for a show? i don't get his fan club ...
    October 13, 2010 at 4:42PM EST
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    Ryan
    Terrible with a capital T. Just painful to watch, coming from a huge AD fan and someone who likes Will Arnett.
    October 13, 2010 at 10:16PM EST
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    katie
    When I watch the show, sometimes there are glimpses of what seemed very AD-esque, but overall it's still a show that's not working.

    Maybe it's the premise of the show, which seems too ridiculous. Even in AD, sure, the premise develops into something completely bonkers, but at the beginning, it was at least somewhat typical and normal - a guy trying to save his family business - which I think allows the show to have these insane characters and somehow work. Here, it's a weird premise with nutty characters, which makes it seem like they're trying too hard.

    Maybe it's the lack of a true straight man/woman. While Russell is playing the straight woman, she isn't the person whose journey we're following - like Jason Bateman in AD or Tina Fey in 30 Rock, who are both THE lead of the show - and Keri Russell is not THE lead. Arnett is.

    And most of all, I think I'm having the most problem with the narration of the show. It's hard enough to find a child actor who ends up being perfect for their roles, but even harder to find one who can do that and be the narrator for the show. As a result, I don't think Puddle works either as the narrator or a character on the show comedically (and throws everything else off, to a certain point.)
    October 14, 2010 at 4:05AM EST
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    mpool
    I'm still on the fence about this show; I LOVED Arrested Development and really want to like this show, too. Fa'ad manages to make me laugh every episode. I thought that last night's episode was the funniest, yet. The kiss that makes Steve Wilde think, that was what Fa'ad was talking about and then Fa'ad's Alan Alda impression at the end was hysterical! I'll watch the show again and hope that it comes together better than the past episodes.
    October 14, 2010 at 12:05PM EST
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    Tomx
    Yes the Alda thing almost made the show. The rest of it was enough of an improvement that I too am giving it more of a chance now.
    October 14, 2010 at 11:09PM EST
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    Ricardo
    I don't understand how you can write about this mediocre comedy and just ignore the much funnier Raising Hope.
    October 18, 2010 at 7:35AM EST
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      wendy
      I think Raising Hope is also funny. Greg Garcia knows the attitudes of low class people. But this is funnier than hearing from my relatives.
      October 23, 2010 at 3:41AM EST
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    wendy
    I wasn't thrilled with previous episodes - and I wasnted to be - I miss Arrested Development. The car wash seen was Awesome. He went Beyond. I hope they can rework this show. Faad was great too.
    October 23, 2010 at 3:38AM EST
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