June 10th, 2005


Wunder Bar

Whoever it was on LJ who recommended Wonder Falls, thank you! I watched the first two episodes last night, and it took a major effort to yank myself away from the screen half an hour after bedtime.

The similarity to my current favorite TV series Joan of Arcadia borders on plagiarism, but there are enough differences save it. The main character is named Jaye, very close to Joan (Joan's boyfriend calls her "Jane", her best friend called her "J"). And Caroline Dhavernas, who plays Jaye, is the same basic type as Amber Tamblyn, who plays Joan. Joan is a high school student who works in a bookstore, Jaye is a college grad who works in a gift shop. God speaks to Joan in the form of a person, something which may be God talks to Jaye in the form of inanimate animals (wax lion figurine, lawn flamingo, rooster on a school mascot pin, eagle on a quarter, etc.) computer-genned to animation.

In both cases, the girls are given tasks to perform by their gods & daemons which at first make no sense, but work out to resolve themselves by the end of the episode.

Joan has two middle-class working parents, so does Jaye. The resemblence to the families pretty much ends there - Joan's parents are very sympatico, Jaye's Dad tries to be but her mother is the Ice Goddess. Joan's two brothers are relatively mundane, and her relationship with them is warm. Jaye's sister is a closet lesbian, and they snipe at each other constantly.

But enough comparisons. Wonder Falls is very well written, the characters are well-drawn, and its clear the writers are building stereotypes with the aim of shattering them, showing what is beneath the surface. The minor role casting leaves something to be desired, the musical score is tacky, the theme song is even tackier, but the production values are superb and they throw in some gorgeous views of Niagara Falls.

I'm looking forward to viewing the rest of the series.
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