Thursday, September 30, 2010


4th\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

From New York Magazine by Emily Nussbaum

Running Wilde, which debuted last night, is the most interestingly awful new sitcom pilot of the fall, if only because it involves a bunch of people so worthy of our love: The creator of Arrested Development, Mitch Hurwitz, plus two of that show's stars, Will Arnett and David Cross, as well as Felicity’s adorable Keri Russell. Sadly, this team has delivered something that is, instead, almost a model of the bad sitcom. Not the old-fashioned kind of bad sitcom, like Two and a Half Men, with the sex jokes stirred together with cornball and shtick. The modern kind of bad sitcom, with the acidic surreal jokes and the multiple flashbacks and the voice-overs and the pseudo-sophisticated political comedy.

In this case, the voice-over is via Puddle, the daughter of ecoactivist Emmy Kadubic (Russell). Puddle is mute. Yes, she’s mute! She’s a mute child delivering a voice-over. That's not a great idea, but it might work if the voice-over was witty, instead of conveying the plot, which is as follows: Do-gooder Emmy is ineffectively helping a tribe in the Amazon with her crunchy boyfriend (Cross) and an uncooperative Puddle, yet she still pines for her childhood soul mate, rich kid Steve Wilde, whom she met when her mother worked as his father's maid. As played by Arnett, adult Steve is a callow, shallow, petulant, vain, selfish richie. In other words, exactly the kind of character Arnett specializes in.

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