Bryan Fuller’s Wonderfalls had a six-episode run on FOX back in 2004. Starring Caroline Dhavernas long before she would appear in Hannibal, the show was full of dry-humour revolving around Jaye’s (Dhavernas) great dislike of helping people and casual depression. Being one of his earlier shows that not many are familiar with, Fullerverse is happy to present this wonderful watch-a-long!! So go find it and watch with us!
Episode one, Wax Lion, opens with a monotone narration of the Native legend regarding the Maid of the Mist as we find Jaye explaining a tourist DVD to a child in a tacky souvenir shop in Niagara Falls. It is instantly clear that Jaye is overqualified for such a job (and she hates literally everyone in the shop), but here she is so who cares, right? In the midst of hating everyone, her co-worker, Alec, is promoted and in a rage on her break, Jaye ends up facing a near-death experience when she chokes on her sandwich. Of course, she thinks nothing of it and goes back to work as per usual – if perhaps a touch more annoyed.
Naturally, thinking nothing of it is not so easy when a rather rude customer complains to Jaye over a deformed figure of a wax lion she received from the vending machine. While arguing with the woman, the weird lion speaks to Jaye, telling her not to give the customer her refund. Too horrified to really understand, Jaye gives the woman her money… only for it to get stolen moments later. She collapses, resulting in her high-and-mighty family to come at her with their half-hearted concerns.
By this point in the episode, it is clear that this show is going to be out there. Jaye isn’t particularly likeable, but her dark personality is funny. The concept of a young woman arguing with crappy little gifts in a tourist trap in Niagara is bizarre in and of itself, but let’s see where it goes, shall we?
Jaye’s parents persuade her to go see a therapist regarding her fainting spell at work, believing it to be caused by depression as well as stress, but even there Jaye meets a new figure (a bronze monkey statue) that also talks to her while she is trying to focus on sassing the doctor. So, she steals the thing and brings it home with her. Wanting desperately to not be crazy, Jaye meets with her friend, Mahandra, in a bar and tells her about what she’s been seeing. Mahandra doesn’t think she’s crazy, simply repressing feelings about the world around her which is causing these hullicinations. Jaye doesn’t buy that but is quickly distracted by the cute new bartender, Eric, and his sad story of a failed marriage. I feel it is important to mention that Eric is very cute.
The remainder of the episode I shall leave for you to watch, as Jaye starts to understand what is happening to her while the wax lion and the monkey statue are talking to her. Given her personality type – aka. being generally annoyed by the entirety of the world around her – Jaye isn’t exactly thrilled when she figures at least part of this wild ride out.
By the end of the 45-minute episode, I felt entertained. The show is definitely dated, but the dry sense of almost nihilistic humour is timeless. Caroline Dhavernas is sassy and funny and it is very rare these days to see a cast gel together the way they appear to in this first episode. Another note is that, being from Ontario, it is so clearly filmed on the Canadian side of the Falls even that was funny to me, personally. I also felt that it was a great look at being in your mid-20s. Life after college/university can be a rut, especially with the job market being so terrible. Jaye’s over-educated but under-employed situation is very relatable and that’s what makes her entertaining despite how annoyed and rude she comes across. She’s bored and depressed and that makes her blunt and easily pissed off. I’m sure we’ve all been there, whether we have depression issues or not.
So now it’s your turn: What do you think of the first episode? Did Jaye strike a chord with you or did you find her annoying? Do you believe that by listening to the figures in the shop Jaye will learn to become a better person? Let us know in the comments! We’ll see you next time for Episode 2: Karma Chameleon!