This is a blog about comics, books, movies and politics that will be updated whenever I damn well feel like it. My writing website is here. Visit it. Or not.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Wonderfalls

So, I happened to notice that the DVD box set of WONDERFALLS was available from Amazon.com.

Of course I had to pick it up.

WONDERFALLS was a wonderfully quirky semi-SF series on Fox from a couple of years back that, of course, Fox cancelled almost immediately. Thirteen episodes were made and only four aired. I remembered really enjoying the show when it came out, so buying the DVD to see the rest of the episodes was, of course, a foregone conclusion.

WONDERFALLS deals with Jaye Tyler, a recent graduate of Brown University, who finds herself overeducated and underemployed. She moves back to her hometown of Niagara Falls to be near her family, but not too near, and moves into a trailer park, finding a retail clerk job at the Wonderfalls kitsch shop. Caroline Dhavernas is fascinating as Jaye, sarcastic, cynical, self-deprecating and wild enough to smuggle someone over the Canadian border in the trunk of her car should the need arise.

Jaye hangs out at The Barrel, a bar where her best friend, played by Tracie Thoms works as a waitress. The Barrel is also where she meets Eric, played by Tyron Leitso, the bartender. Eric's a sad story. He went to Niagara Falls for a honeymoon with his wife, left to play golf, and returned to the hotel room to find his wife, ah, pleasuring the bellhop. He left the hotel room, decided not to go back to New Jersey and to start a new life in Niagara. Romance, possibly ensues.

Then, of course, things get strange. A wax, smushed-faced lion starts talking to Jaye and telling her to do things. Not necessarily bad things, but odd things that, you'll be astonished to find out, lead to good results. It's rather like the current show, JOAN OF ARCADIA, except much more played for laughs.

The difference, though, is that Jaye actually tells people about the talking animals. It's not just the smushed-face lion, but, really any sort of inanimate animal object with a face. And people believe her. Well, some of them do, at least.

That's the thing that fascinated me with the later episodes. Normally, mose recently in JOAN OF ARCADIA, the person receiving the personal requests from the bizarre, keep the 'sodes to themselves. They don't tattle on the supernatural. Jay, although reticent about it, does tell both her friend Mahandra and her brother Aaron.

Normally, in this sort of sit-com situation, the person who gets the instructions, or actually knows about the wackiness has to go through it alone. I'm guessing the meta-message here is that you really can't depend on anyone but yourself. In WONDERFALLS, that's not the case. Jaye receives help from her family and friends, whether they believe her about the talking animals or not. A much warmer message, I thought.

Damn shame Fox cancelled it. Go pick it up. Now. Damn it.

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