22 November 2011
You Should [Have] Be[en] Watching Wonderfalls
Wonderfalls was only on the air for 4 episodes, and I was there for all of them. A spring semester high school senior, I felt like a pretty cool cat. Bookish, sarcastic, and full of potential - without ever taking a single step forward. Jaye Tyler, the main character of Wonderfalls, was my hero. A 24-year-old philosophy major graduates from Brown only to work at a gift shop back home in Niagara. The universe observes this slackery, objects to it, and bids inanimate objects like wax lions and teddy bears to speak to Jaye until she starts to listen. A world where it's not completely up to me to make things happen? That sounds wonderful.
Created by Bryan Fuller and Todd Holland, Wonderfalls has a lot in common with Fuller's other shows, Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies (this just in: he's about to work on The Munsters for NBC!): it features an unorthodox, almost proto-Whitney Cumming (in terms of refusing to play 'girly') main character as well as incredibly wacky side characters. But where Whitney Cumming female leads are pointlessly caustic, Jaye Tyler is snarky for a reason. She hates everything, including herself, at least a little. The 2 Broke Girls just hate living in Brooklyn.
By the way, the actors who make up Jaye's nuclear family are amazing:
Diana Scarwid (Daughter Dearest) plays her perfect mother Karen
Katie Finneran (tons of Broadway) plays her newly-out sister Sharon
Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies!) plays her aetheist theologian brother Aaron
and William Sadler (Shawshank Redemption!) plays her ever-bemused father Darrin.
Jaye's name doesn't rhyme with theirs. But just like Jaye, her family members are trying to deal with their own lots in life - particularly her sister Sharon. The first few episodes hinge on Sharon's homosexuality becoming public, and it's really fun to watch that drama affect Jaye. As Jaye goes on a Rube Goldberg-style adventure each episode, we get to see how her blind actions work in unison. It's also worth mentioning that her love interest is a newly jilted ex-groom bartender. Now that's entertainment! You should be watching Wonderfalls!
all photos courtesy Fox Home Entertainment