Running Wilde

Common Sense Media says

Offbeat sitcom has potential to charm teens and parents.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Amid all the jokes, the show stresses the importance of doing good things for other people and slides in some surprisingly positive messages about open communication between kids and their parents.

Positive role models

Most characters are flawed in some way, even altruistic Emmy, who can be self-righteous and judgmental. That said, Emmy's goal is to mold the selfish Steven into a person who does "good ... for nothing." His arrogance is reviled rather than revered.


Some comedic violence that's played for laughs. One character is an eco-terrorist, although his schemes (like mailing a "filthy bomb" filled with oil) never really injure anyone.


Brief kissing and light sexual innuendo, including references to the two main characters having had a previous physical relationship.


Use of words like "jackass" and "hell."


Steven is very materialistic, but few of his "toys" are branded.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some characters drink socially. According to the voiceover, Steven is usually drunk at parties ... although you rarely see him drinking or acting any differently than he does when he's sober.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that they can watch this quirky sitcom from some of the creators of Arrested Develompent with younger teens and up, thanks to surprisingly positive messages about generosity and altruism and relatively infrequent doses of language, sex, and violence. (Characters rarely say anything stronger than "jackass.") One character's drinking is played for comedy, although he rarely imbibes onscreen. Another main character is a wise-beyond-her-years 12-year-old girl who doubles as the show's narrator via a connective voiceover.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In RUNNING WILDE, self-absorbed playboy Steven Wilde (Will Arnett) makes a desperate attempt to reunite with a childhood crush -- do-gooding Emmy Kadubic (Keri Russell) -- by restyling himself as a humanitarian. But when Emmy flies home from the Amazon with her 12-year-old daughter, Puddle (Stefania Owen), in tow to see the newly transformed Steven for herself, she discovers that he hasn't really changed at all. But to give Puddle a chance at a normal childhood, she agrees to stick around, taking up residence in a treehouse on Steven's property.

Is it any good?


When a show touts its ties to Mitch Hurwitz, the Emmy Award-winning creator of the innovative comedy Arrested Development, you expect it to be good. And when that new show spotlights the talents of two Arrested Development alumni -- Arnett and David Cross (who plays a supporting part as a bungling ecoterrorist) -- you expect it to be great. So when it fails to deliver, you're left feeling a little underwhelmed.

That's definitely the case with Running Wilde, although it does have its moments (large man + tiny horse = funny) -- and the potential to become a must-see series if it can work out some of the kinks that, strangely, make it feel a lot like Billy Madison. Mainly though, it's a matter of putting faith in Hurwitz, Arnett, and Cross and hoping they can re-create some magic. We sincerely hope so.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this show portrays kids, particularly in terms of how they relate to adults. Teens: Can you relate to Puddle ... and are you supposed to? Does the show take a realistic approach to growing up?

  • Does it work to have a 12-year-old narrate the show? Why do you think the show's creators wanted to tell the story from a kid's perspective?

  • How does Steven measure up as a role model? Is it possible to have a lot of money and be a good person? Conversely, does having less mean you'll always do the right thing?

TV details

Cast:David Cross, Keri Russell, Stefania Owen, Will Arnett
Networks:Fox, FX
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Running Wilde was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byMillyMolly October 8, 2010

Very good compared to what I thought it was going to be like.

Very funny and different!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byjrburry September 29, 2010
Love it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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