Will Arnett as a billionaire is hilarious, right? “Running Wilde” shows each week how Steven Wilde (Arnett) blows his money in competition with fellow billionaire Fa’ad (Peter Serafinowicz), and creates a wacky surreal world of servants and caretakers. It was actually going to be a lot darker if Arnett had his original vision.
More after the jump…
“When we were first talking about doing this show actually I was talking to Mitch [Hurwitz] about the idea of these people in this life and how lonely that must be,” Arnett said in a conference call with the media today. “We originally began the show with Steve on the verge of committing suicide and then deciding not to. That seems dark but that was because we really wanted to explore that. So I think that is something we’d like to get into further into the series. One of the functions of the Fa’ad character is to almost be like the extreme version of Steve in a way. In much the same way that Niles was an extreme version of Frasier. It sort of pushes Steve more into the middle for the audience. They both do live this very lonely existence. That’s one of the things we wanted to examine.”
Until the very special suicide episode, “Running Wilde” will focus on romantic stories between Steve and Emmy (Keri Russell), and heartwarming ones with her daughter Puddle (Stefania Owen). Spoilers follow, but hilarious spoilers.
“We have an episode coming up in two weeks where we tell the story of how Steve and Emmy were going to go to the prom together and then weren’t allowed to be there together. We tell this story of Puddle going to a school dance and how she’s faced with a similar situation. Through that we discover what happened between Steve and Emmy years ago. This boy who’s supposedly not allowed to go to the dance with Puddle because the dad has said Puddle is this kid grew up in the Amazon, she’s not rich and is not of the same social stature, and Steve now realizes that his dad was wrong so many years ago when he forbid him from being with Emmy. He goes and confronts this boy’s dad played by Andy Richter. What ends up happening is that the guy misinterprets Steve as he talks about not holding people back who are in love, he misinterprets that and thinks Steve coming onto him and the guy turns out is secretly gay. Steve at the same time, as the guy comes onto Steve, Steve misinterprets that as fatherly affection. It’s very much a Mitch Hurwitz story. Things get very complicated.”
For those just joining, Emmy is Steven’s childhood sweetheart. As a teen, Steven rejected Emmy in favor of expensive presents. Now Emmy is an environmentalist who’s lived with a tribe in the Amazon. She comes back to try to stop Wilde Oil, and thinks a good way to do that is living on Steven’s property in their treehouse.
“We have an episode where his stepmom arrives back on the scene and he’s desperately trying to get her out of the picture as she’s trying to turn his life upside down. All with the idea that his objective is to get Emmy to live with him in the house because she’s really the only person he’s really been in love with.”
The love story raises some questions itself though. These aren’t just mismatched lovers who learn something in the end. “What’s complicated is the fact that Emmy, she’s not just this one-dimensional character, she wants Steve to change his tune and then she’ll be fine. She’s engaged. In a way what she’s doing is kind of sh*tty. She’s essentially moved in with this other guy who she’s had a relationship with. It’s complicated.”
So far Puddle seems like the mature one, but that’s going to change too. “I think Steve and Puddle are going to grow to be a lot closer too so that adds another dimension to it. You have this guy, Steve in essence becoming a father like figure to Puddle for better or worse by the way, because who knows if he’s the best role model. She’s really becoming a kid for the first time and Steve is forced to be somewhat more responsible. I think he really likes Puddle so he’s filling the role of male parent in a way, in the way that Andy (David Cross), her fiancé, can’t really do. So she’s allowing him to grow up and he’s allowing her to be a kid.”
This week’s episode, “Oil & Water,” says that Steven vows to quit Wilde oil. That would make “Running Wilde” a short trilogy rather than a series. “It does seem that way although as it turns out, like the mob, you can’t quit Wilde oil.”
“Running Wilde” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 on Fox.