On Fox’s new comedy “Running Wilde” the joke is frequently on Keri Russell

From: nicegirlstv 9/28/2010
by: Tiffany

During a recent conference call with NiceGirlsTV, Keri Russell shared what compelled her to jump into a television comedy and what it is like working on Fox’s new comedy Running Wilde.

Running Wilde is premised on an environmental activist, played by Russell, being persuaded to live with a rich childhood friend in order to try to mend his extravagant ways and provide a more normal upbringing for her young daughter, who seeks to escape from living in the wilds of the jungles that Russell fights to save.

Running Wilde S01Russell explained that while she was not specifically looking for a comedy series, when the opportunity came up, she could not resist. She said, “I’m obviously a huge Arrested Development fan and I just was so taken by Mitch Hurwitz that I couldn’t pass it up.” Plus, it was an extraordinary opportunity to work with Will Arnett, who also had worked on Arrested Development. It has not been a decision Russell has regretted as she gushed, “It’s just been a delight. It’s hilarious. I feel like I’m hanging out with my older brother and all his cool friends or something and I’m just tagging along every day.”

Also, as a self-confessed fan of absurdist comedy, Russell found the show refreshing. She feels it is a show that one can watch multiple times and take something different away each time. So the entire experience has been wonderful for her, “It’s a delight. I’m enjoying it so much . . . I’m just laughing all day. They’re super smart, they’re funny and it’s just refreshing for me.”

For those unfamiliar, absurdist comedy tends to be along the lines of “Monty Python” humor and requires that the viewer willingly enter the world of the extreme and outrageous. While, Russell acknowledged that Running Wilde is a tricky show to describe to viewers, she credited Hurwitz with making the show as accessible to viewers as possible. She said, “[Mitch] writes in such a complex way so it’s very difficult to deduce the series down into one or two sentences because the little details are what make it so wonderful and funny and different.” Though she acknowledged the show’s quirkiness may take an episode or two to get used to its humor and hopes that viewers will give it a chance.

Russell further explained that while Running Wilde has a bit of the Arrested Development flavor, ultimately it is a very different show. For one, in Running Wilde there is a romantic comedy aspect that runs throughout the series. It is from that impossible pursuit of love that much of the comedy stems. It asks: how can two people pursue a life together when they want such different things? But the answer is obvious: because they want to make it work – love can conquer all if given the chance – even when fighting these absurd odds. Russell also added, that for her, “there’s just something it tickles in me and it’s bright and it’s hilarious.” She loves delving into the crazy comedy that results when two people are so diametrically opposite.

As to whether she shares any similarities with her onscreen persona, Russell laughingly admitted, “I don’t think I’m as bossy as she is, but I certainly think I know everything and at least my husband would agree with that.” She also credited her husband as being a source of inspiration for the show noting, “Will keeps joking that Shane is an un-credited writer. That Shane gives him all the bad things about me and then they write it in the show.”

keri_russell_nicegirls_graphic_02The transition from drama to comedy has been a nice challenge for Russell, as this type of show is unlike anything she has done before. She finds that she is learning so much in the midst of its fast and furious comedic pace. Along with the learning-curve, she finds that she is the new kid trying to be on best behavior while amidst a group of older brothers who are just constantly making fun of her all day long. Being a girl in the boy’s club is also challenging as Russell finds that she is the one to be picked on most. She humorously described that working on the show is like trial by fire in that Arnett is constantly finding new ways to make her the butt of the joke on set. Though she gleefully shared that, while Arnett does his best to humiliate her in front of the crew, ” I feel like they are 75% on my side, though. I feel like they like me a lot more than they like him. Yes, I’m pretty confident about that.”

But really, what Russell loves about the show is how Hurwitz is basically using the show to call out Steven Wilde and basically saying, “You’re a buffoon, you have no responsibility in your life” with the absurd contradiction of Russell’s living the life of a public servant, but still wanted credit for it – and yet still telling everyone else that they are doing everything wrong. Russell also thinks the show is timely with all the cause d’celebrity and how celebrities do not practice what they preach. Thus, for Russell, she just loves how Hurwitz’s message is: “Just because you’re doing this work in the rainforest or whatever doesn’t mean you don’t secretly covet going to the fancy party and wearing a fancy dress.” She finds that both are true and smart. So in the end, Running Wilde is a funny, off-center balance ride that is just plain fun.

Running Wilde airs Tuesday nights at 9:30/8:30c on Fox.