Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Running Mild

Tonight the new Fox sitcom Running Wilde premiered. I watched despite everything I'd heard about it.

And at the end I turned to my wife and said, "Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be."

I was a big fan of Arrested Development, the previous Fox sitcom with Will Arnett. This new show even has that show's creator. And a small role for the always-funny David Cross.

But I didn't laugh or even think "Ah, that was funny" except for one line of dialogue.

However, this really shouldn't have been a surprise; the pilot was largely re-shot, as noted in this interview Arnett gave on NPR's Morning Edition, which closed with this exchange between correspondent Neda Ulaby doing voiceover, Time Magazine critic James Poniewozik commenting, and a quote from Arnett.

ULABY: James Poniewozik finds it encouraging that "Running Wilde"'s creators seem to be approaching the process with a great deal of humility.
PONIEWOZIK: The fact that they recognize that there were problems gives me some hope.
ULABY: Hope fueled by Will Arnett's history with "Arrested Development" and its creator, who built this new show around him. Arnett says that's why the reshoots came almost as a relief. They're eager to do whatever it takes to make their sophomore sitcom a hit.
ARNETT: Look, we're excited at the potential to actually have people watch the show while it's on the air, as opposed to it having to be a DVD cult hit five years after its last episode.
ULABY: And hopefully the burden of high expectations won't trip up "Running Wilde" as it finds its footing. 
Notice that Ulaby does not suggest the producers are eager to make the show funny or good, just to make it a hit.

I think we've identified the problem. Alas, I fear it won't be around long enough to become a cult phenomenon down the road, because I don't expect I'll be watching it further while it's on.

Sorry, Will. At least your wife's show is good and funny.


  1. That's the problem with most TV. It's just a product. There's no real creativity. Everyone's just going through the motions, because it's not "art," it's an "industry," churning out mediocre pablum which people ignore.

    Me, I'm looking forward to the return of "Castle" and "Human Target" and "Chuck" and "Stargate Universe". I have no expectations for any of the new shows to survive. The few I've seen so far are totally unwatchable.

  2. Network execs have to justify their existence by getting their hands in the process. Too many shows have been screwed up that way.

    I suspect that the success rate for good shows would be better if the damn execs were "hands off" and let the creator create.

    Hits come and go. But a classic, even a cult one, lives on forever.

    At least the Web cuts out most of the gatekeepers and middlemen parasites. Make sure "execs" don't take it over.


So, what do you think?