Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

[Previous entry: "Catching Up After An Evening Working"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Greatest American... Anime?"]

2005-03-13 Entry: "Wonderfalls"

Taking a break from Star Trek, and watching Wonderfalls instead - the short lived show about a girl who has animal figurines talking to her! Starting with "Wax Lion" and Jaye (the girl in question) is a clerk in the gift shop by Niagara Falls, and her and Alec are clearly not model employees.

A disagreeable customer tries to get a wax lion out of a vending machine in the store, but it comes out deformed, and she wants a discount which Jaye won't give her. When Alec insists, the lion tells her not to. The customer gets her discount, and gets her bag stolen when she leaves the store. Jaye passes out, and back at her home (a trailer in a trailer park) her family try to intervene... She even gets sent to a shrink to get to the bottom of her emotional issues. But the brass monkey bookend on the shrink's desk starts talking to her!

As she tells her friend at The Barrel (the local bar) that evening, it told her to steal it! But she does meet a new bartender who appears to want to date her.

The next day, the lion tells her to ask the store delivery guy about his wedding ring, making him cry. The guy then throws a coin in the fountain, that the lion tells her to pick up - which she does, and then the eagle on the coin frightens her and she drops it... which leads to her discovering the woman's purse that was stolen earlier.

She ends up having a fight with the woman, and having to call her sister to get her out of police custody.

Okay, the lion tells her to set the delivery guy and her sister up on a date - her sister finally declares that she's a lesbian, and the delivery guy turns out to be allergic to peanuts and has to be rushed to the hospital. When there his ex-wife turns up and also turns out to be a lesbian... fortunately, the delivery guy and his nurse appear to make a connection while Jaye's sister and the ex-wife leave together.

"Pink Flamingos" sees the nasty garden ornaments of the title (currently in her parents' garden) moving around - of course, Jaye's not initially paying attention as she's trying to deal with her father wanting her to go to her 10 year high school reunion. The flamingos want her to help her father clean up the dustbins someone has knocked over, but she ends up running him over!

Jaye has to help Gretchen organise the reunion - the girl who terrorised her during high school - and she's starting to actually feel sorry for her when the chicken hair pin tells her to destroy Gretchen!

Meanwhile, Jaye's sister is trying to have a date with the ex-wife from the previous episode, but she's got to care for her father who's in bed with his leg in plaster. When she realises she can drug him so he sleeps through the date, things pick up... but the ex-wife admits she isn't a lesbian, which might cause future friction!

Jaye, before giving in and destroying Gretchen, tries to get Gretchen's husband there, but ends up causing him to have a car accident and meet a cute jewish police woman. But that's okay, because Gretchen's experience at the reunion cause her to return to her bitchy ways and decide to break up with him anyway.

Turns out running over her father's leg at least allowed the hospital to find a blood clot that they wouldn't have found otherwise, potentially saving his life.

"Karma Chameleon" sees Jaye's mother releasing a book, and Jaye is disappointed she only gets five words in the blurb when her brother and sister get many more. A girl, Bianca, steals her wallet and on returning it manages to shoe horn a job at Wonderfalls, even with her stutter (but then, there's a chameleon puppet telling her to "get her words out").

Bianca, or Binky, starts immitating Jaye - her hair, her phraseology, no stutter, her clothes, and possibly her boyfriend... or at least the potential boyfriend/bartender that Jaye likes.

Meanwhile, Jaye's brother and sister agree to give up five words each for the reprinting of the book so Jaye can have a longer bio... but she's given the task of writing it!

Binky turns out to be an investigative reporter writing the definitive article on generation Y's disaffected youth... and she's chosen Jaye as her subject... so Jaye invites her in and gives her the lowdown on her life...

But Binky decides she doesn't want to write an article anymore, and would rather take over Jaye's life... leaving Jaye without a job. So Jaye decides to follow the Chameleon's advice, and write the article for her... submitting it and getting it accepted.

"Wound-Up Penguin" sees the menagerie in Jaye's apartment singing bottles of beer on the wall until she gets up and goes to the bar, getting there just as they close. But the bartender lets her in and they talk. Jaye finds out he sleeps in the back room, and that the bar has rats - including a girl who's sleeping in the barrel in the bar!

The girl runs, but she had a clockwork penguin amongst her things, that tells Jaye to bring her back. They also find a ticket stub, that gets them to the train station... and from there to a mysterious guy in black who's been looking for her.

But he's a priest, and she's a runaway nun who's lost her faith in God. Fortunately for her, she has Jaye and her talking animals to convince her that God exists... which leads to Jaye needing to be exorcised (at knife point) to get rid of the demonic talking animals!

On to disc 2, and we get "Crime Dog" to start it off. Jaye is in gaol... or at least she's been arrested for keeping someone in the boot of her car. And her sister is dealing with the police as her lawyer. Of course, the cut-out bulldog picture in police uniform in the interrogation room decides to talk to her. Oh, okay, it was her parents' housekeeper who was in the trunk...

Flashback to 18 hours before the arrest. And Jaye is bringing laundry to her parents' to be cleaned. Unfortunately, the cow creamer on the table tells her to stay and have a pancake. This ends up with the housekeeper being there long enough for the INS to turn up with a warrant to deport her.

Jaye's brother brings the cow to Wonderfalls convinced Jaye is responding to it for some reason. The cow keeps saying "bring her home" and when they chase the housekeeper to Canada to get her back, her brother brings the cow.

The cow persuades Jaye to take a right turn on to a one way street, and they end up crashing into the garden of their housekeeper's parents... it turns out she isn't french-canadian, she's faking the french accent; and her name isn't Yvette, it's Cindy. But her parents basically ignored her as she was growing up (and she was raised by her own housekeeper, who is called Yvette).

Smuggling her back over the border in the boot of the car is what leads to the arrest - Cindy's parents have called the police, although it looks like Jaye's sister is responsible initially. But with a big cheque from Jaye's father, they get her and their housekeeper back.

"Muffin Buffalo" sees Jaye stalking one of the inhabitants of the trailer park - an extremely fat guy who no-one's seen leave his trailer recently. Meanwhile, another neighbour has lost her disability cheques and thinks Jaye has them - although her apron (with a picture of a buffalo) tells Jaye to keep them.

Jaye is getting fed up with the talking animals making her actions seem like she's a hero.

The fat guy (Pat) turns out not to be fat at all - he's lost a lot of weight and intends to lose more, because he still thinks he's fat. So Jaye takes him to game night at her parents' house, where his competitive streak comes out. Meanwhile, Jaye's brother is obsessed with the fact that inanimate objects are talking to her... although the shrink seems to think it's his problem rather than Jaye's.

Pat gets the wrong idea, thinking Jaye is interested in him, which is okay until he turns up naked in her bed. Once he's rejected, he falls back in to eating, even getting the muffin lady to bake for him so he can stuff himself... unfortunately, her muffins are low fat and he ends up in the hospital...

"Barrel Bear" sees one of the shop bears telling Jaye to "give it back to her" - and she initially think it means the quarter that a woman outside throws in to the fountain. Jaye manages to get a fine from plucking the coin out of the water.

Turns out the woman is the first American to have gone over the falls in a barrel and lived. But she's living in Paris and has no celebrity status any more (as evidenced by the photo signing in Wonderfalls which drives the customers away). They do however decide to hold an event in the bar for her... at which the real woman who went over the falls and survived turns up - Kai Winn - and explains that she was sold out by her manager after surviving, where they swapped woman for all the photo shots.

After much back and forth, the imposter decides she has to go over the falls in a barrel for real, so she can claim the title... and then chickens out. She goes to the authentic woman's house, with the plan to propose a nationwide tour where she tells the truth!

"Lovesick Ass" sees the arrival of a Russian mail order bride. Jaye and her bartender want to help the woman find the guy who paid for her... and instead they find a 12 year old boy whose mother died and whose father seems to be paying little attention to him.

The love triangles in this episode are completely crazy - boy and Russian, bartender and Russian, Jaye and bartender, boy and Jaye, boy's father and Russian. At least Jaye and Eric (the bartender) agree to go on a date and finally kiss at the end of this.

"Safety Canary" sees the date being prepared for... but it's at the zoo, and there's a pair of macaws who need their love rekindled. But then the canary on the sign starts telling Jaye to take a picture, even though the sign says "NO Flash Photography" and then the macaws go berserk and attack Jaye.

Because of this, the woman working the aviary gets reassigned to the elephants, and her co-worker wants Jaye to come and and get her back with the birds. And then an ass tells her to "save the lovebirds." Unfortunately, Jaye's attempts to help cause the woman to get fired.

Jaye's sister and her her girlfriend are having strife...

Jaye's visions get worse when she sees Eric's heart burst out of his chest and land in her hands.

Jaye, Eric, and Penelope (the zoo employee) go to the zoo at night to steal the birds so they can get them to mate... Rufus, from the janatorial staff (and interested in Penelope) helps them get away from security.

Back at her parents' place, Jaye finds the perfect place for the birds to mate... but then gets nervous and lets the birds out to prevent having to deal with Eric.

So they're out searching for the birds, and love is blooming all around - Jaye's brother is showing an interest in Majandra, Jaye keeps trying to break up with Eric because she doesn't want to hurt him, the delivery man goes back to see his ex-wife (Jaye's sister's girlfriend), Rufus turns up with zoo security (but everything was caught on surveillance cameras, and Rufus had nothing to do with selling them out), and the macaws turn up, mating, in the back of Jaye's sister's car.

So Rufus and Penelope end up together, Majandra and the brother, and Eric and his ex-wife... oh, yeah, Heidi turns up at the end and gets together with Eric... Heidi - played by Jewel Staite, who Tim Minear obviously decided to borrow between the end of Firefly and the filming of Serenity...

"Lying Pig" picks up where Safety Canary ended - with Heidi trying to get Eric back, and the fish telling Jaye to "mend what is broken" which she's obviously against.

Jaye comes clean to her brother about the talking animals. He clears out her trailer so she can't hear things any more - but Jaye finds the TV is yet another source, the TV, and an advert for bacon with a pig on it. Jaye throws the TV out of the window and hits Heidi in the head with it!

Heidi, it turns out, has a mild concussion, but she's also forgotten anything about the breakup with Eric... she still thinks she's on her honeymoon.

Of course, once Jaye gets her out of the hospital and back to the honeymoon suite, she finds that Heidi is faking the amnesia. After a knock down, drag out fight, Jaye manages to get away. But when she gets to the bar, the fish tells her not to tell Eric... and Eric ends up remarrying Heidi.

In "Coctail Bunny" Jaye's brother is trying to get the animals to talk to him. Jaye is talking to Ron the shrink. The parents are trying to find out what is going on. And Eric has handed in his notice at the bar. Then the bunny on the box of coctail cherries tells Jaye to "save him from her" but getting to the bottom of that leads to reclaiming all the animals from her brother, and then the lion tells her to ask the monkey if she wants to know more. Then the monkey tells her "she's going to kill him" and Jaye's convinced it's Heidi, but it's probably Dr Ron.

The police get involved, thinking Jaye is going to kill Dr Ron, especially after Jaye bursts in on Eric and Heidi in bed (well, Eric is taking viagra-substitute, but Jaye think she's being poisoned). But Dr Ron is being stalked by a crazy former patient, and Jaye is trying to get a straight answer out of the monkey.

Why do they keep talking to Jaye? "Because she listens" according to the monkey. She does save Dr Ron (and make him a believer) though.

"Totem Mole" sees Majandra visiting the Satsuma indians, and a totem pole tells her to enter a teepee to get some cryptic message. The female indian inside tells her that she came to silence the voices. Except the indian is dead... so who was she talking to?

Turns out the tribe need a new spiritual leader and the previous leader's son is an accountant with no spiritual aptitude whatsoever... until Jaye intervenes in the testing and gets him qualified.

Then he holds a sit-in in Wonderfalls until they get rid of all the merchandise that claims the indians performed human sacrifice (the whole princess over the falls in a canoe thing).

Meanwhile, Jaye's sister is in a rivalry with the tribe's lawyer, who was head of the class when they were in law school together. But the rivalry leads to the lawyer getting trapped in the sauna and having a spiritual experience that made her see that the tribe needs a casino - so the accountant has a place with them.

And finally, "Caged Bird" sees Jaye looking for shoplifters, but a small ornamental bird in a cage tells her to let him go. But it might be referring to Eric and Heidi leaving rather than the young shoplifter with the slinky in his pants.

Jaye's sister persuades her to meet Eric before he leaves, but she's unable to go because a bank robber with a gun takes them all hostage. The security guard has a heart attack. Eric comes by to say goodbye but gets the cold shoulder from Jaye, tipping him off that something was wrong and he calls the police.

The robber escapes out the back with Jaye as a hostage. The get in a van to drive away, and collide with Heidi's car, when she was coming to Wonderfalls after seeing Eric on the news to tell him they're through. The robber points a gun at Heidi and is about to shoot her when an ambulance takes him out.

Eric leaves with Heidi... but after getting her settled in a spa to recover, returns to Niagara to live... cue season two... oh yeah, stupid Fox cancelled it!

Stepping away from the cancelled shows temporarily, to one that lasted three seasons: The Greatest American Hero. Although I'll probably only get to watch the pilot. We open in the desert - well, we assume it's the desert from the sand and the tarantula. And then the dune buggies appear. The guy in the lead buggy appears to be trying to escape the bunch chasing him (all crewed by severe looking bald men with guns). His escape ends when his buggy dies in a big puddle. Then he makes a run for it on foot. Cue titles.

Ralph Hinkley is a special education teacher with the class from hell - a bunch of thugs, hoodlums, and general troublemakers, who he's decided to take on a field trip out to the desert. Stopping at a diner, one of the class picks a fight with a smartly dressed guy (Bill Maxwell), who pulls a gun on him.

Continuing into the desert, their school bus has an electrical problem and dies. Ralph decides to walk back to the garage a mile back up the road, leaving the kids to stay with the bus. When he reaches the road, an out of control car tries to run him down - turns out to be Bill again, who pulls an FBI badge on him. And then the UFO shows up!

The black guy from earlier, apparently a colleague of Bill's, comes down from the ship with the suit, saying it'll only work for Ralph and that he and Bill can save the planet with it. Of course, he's got to go back in the spaceship as he's been dead for six hours (the ship picked him up after he was shot).

I'd forgotten what a fun little show this is... I'd also forgotten the pilot was feature length... they could have put that on the box... anyway, more tomorrow...

Powered By Greymatter

[ Registered! ]