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Tuesday, January 17, 2006
I love this show. It was imaginative, funny, snarky, and sweet and therefore doomed to only 3 or 4 episodes before it was precipitously yanked off the air. Luckily for TV watching humanity, "the complete viewer collection" is out on DVD. Hooray for DVDs! The producers (including Tim Minear from both Angel and Firefly), must have sensed that the early demise was a possibility because the thirteen episodes in the collection are arced so you get a satisfying conclusion, but it is still open ended enough that they could have gone on another season. (or at least one whole season!)

The set up is that Jaye Tyler (our heroine), has a degree in philosophy from Brown, but works in a tourist trap gift shop in Niagara Falls. In her opinion, things are going along just fine until inanimate objects start talking to her. And making her do things. Each episode is named for the object doing the talking (Wax Lion, Crime Dog, Karma Chameleon, Cocktail Bunny, Wind-up Penguin, etc.). Jaye begins to doubt her sanity - all of her carefully constructed walls against the rest of the world start to teeter.

Mahandra: And what happens if you repress something?
Jaye: It goes away?
Mahandra: It comes back - all crazy and pissed off.

Caroline Dhavernas is fantastic as Jaye. Her face is so expressive - one quirk of her mouth or twitch of her eyebrow takes her from anxiety about going insane (it's stressful) to besotted thoughts about Eric the bartender. (She has more range than just insanity and lust, of course.) The rest of the ensemble is perfectly cast - especially Katie Finneran as Jaye's tightly wound older sister Sharon. KF would make a marvelous screwball comedienne - she has a gift for rapid-fire dialogue with improbable physical comedy. I can totally picture her tromping around behind William Powell driving him crazy. Maybe it's her voice. She's got that screwball hysterical pitch when necessary. She's just great. They all are!

The writing is really sharp and funny. I mentioned that, right?

Jaye: Yes, but maybe she's just a lazy whore. That happens, right? They can't all have hearts of gold and good work ethics.

Go here for more quotes, but what I really recommend is that you just go buy, rent, or borrow the DVDs and watch for yourself.
Oooh! I almost forgot! Another thing to recommend it - the theme song was written specifically for the show by Andy Partridge of XTC.
Here it is (yousendit link - only good for a week): I Wonder Why the Wonder Falls
3 comments on "wonderfalls"
  1. I just put the DVD on hold at the library - it'll be a while. And then after hearing the song I HAD to go put "Skylarking" on hold too and I am so excited! I miss XTC! And they even have the version with Dear God on it. I don't think it's their best song but all the controversy surrounding it and different versions of the album/tapes in the 80s made me care for some reason! Thanks for keeping me up to date on my current and Retro pop culture!

  2. Go, Library! If you decide you don't want to wait, you can totally borrow my DVDs. I LOVE Skylarking! (I had a phase where it was all I would listen to, much to the eventual distress of everyone around me) In more recent XTC recordings, I wholeheartedly recommend Apple Venus vol.1, and Wasp Star.

  3. Most excellent! I just got through loading XTC and noticed that about two thirds of the CD are wildly nostalgic and the rest I swear I've never heard in my life! I wonder if the tape had fewer songs? I can't imagine I fast forwarded through anything - what a pain! Maybe I had a dubbed copy with only select songs. Anyway, new songs for me to discover - yay!


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