Mitch Hurwitz places his faith in FOX again with the Will Arnett/Keri Russell vehicle Running Wilde. Arrested Development (even with critical and cult celebration) lasted 3 seasons, Sit Down, Shut Up less than one. Is the third time the charm?
The Pitch: A wealthy playboy, Steve Wilde (Will Arnett), tries to woo his childhood sweetheart, Emmy Kadubic (Keri Russell), now a single mom and a devoted humanitarian. This new comedy is pretty direct in letting you know exactly what it's all about.
The Set Up: The first episode is clearly directed first and foremost to the now large Arrested Development fanbase. How do we know this?
- The freckled face, adorable "Puddle Kadubic" has an absurd name just like her A.D. doppelganger, Maeby Funke.
- A repeated line from A.D. "Made a huge mistake," is emphasized in the show's narration.
- The show is narrated by an omniscient voice. The only difference is that in Wilde it's Puddle, a pivitol role on screen, while on A.D. it was Ron Howard, who never actually appeared on the show as a character.
The big difference is that fans expecting to see Arrested Development's Gob with his own show are going to be surprised... sort of. Steve Wilde is could turn out to be the exact opposite of Gob Bluth. Gob was oblivious to everything except his own self-importance, which made him everybody's favorite asshole. Steve, on the other hand, is oblivious to everything, especially his own importance, which places him on the verge of sweetness... a precipice Gob BLuth would never be balancing on.
There are a few more characters that haven't been mentioned helping Wilde run his faux estate, there are promises of a powerful/unloving father figure somewhere out there, and there is still a lack of definition in Wilde's character that we expect will be filled in along the way.
Cringe Factor (Out of 10): 2 out of 10 / A Pilot Done Right
For the most part it's a cute show with a funny cast of characters that will most likely continue to build on itself. The comparisons with Arrested Development are impossible to escape, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as far as the quality of the show goes, as Arrested Development was pretty pitch-perfect from a development standpoint. While A.D. had a suburban version of southern California as a backdrop, Wilde's immense wealth will make for a backdrop that will probably span the globe (which could be hard).
Arnett and Russell make an attractive couple, and definitely each have a strong screen presence independent of the other. The tweaking of Felicity and Gob just enough so they might find themselves in bed together is a promising concept. Mild worry only sets in if Steve Wilde is immune to anger, irritation, and bravery. Gob was a bumbling fool, but took his bumbling very seriously, if Wilde is whipped too quickly Arnett could lose the backbone of his hilarious repartee.
How Long Until It's Canceled?: Hard to say, isn't it? It seems that Hurwitz is anything but quick to move away from the 30 minute format, and his in-depth writing often seems crunched together in the segments FOX will grant for his offerings. What Wilde does that Sit Down, Shut Up did not do was knowingly pander to the Audience that has been pining for more of the same for the past few years, and the real question becomes how many Hurwitz fans are really out there?