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In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.
Jaye Tyler is a loner living in Niagara Falls who, after graduating college, has fallen into a care-free comfortable rut living in a trailer park and working as a retail clerk in the Falls souvenir shop of Wonderfalls - that is until the souvenirs, and anything in the world with an anamorphic face, starts talking to her, insisting she do things in cryptic single sentence messages or there will be dire consequences (or at least lack of sleep). When followed, the resulting ping-pong effect appears to be the work of a divine plan, but soon Jaye becomes smitten with a local bartender and the figurines are telling her to do things that go against every fiber of her being. A reluctant savior, Jaye's hand is forced into the lives of others and befuddles her family in a fight that may not just cost her comfortable life and a budding romance - but her sanity. Written by
I have not laughed so hard at a TV show in weeks. Especially since I didn't expect this to be a comedy. I figured at best it would be a slightly quirkier version of TRU CALLING and JOAN OF ARCADIA, but I had no idea how quirky!
This is not the life-or-death struggle of TRU or the adolescent angst meets philosophical growth of JOAN. It's definitely more light-hearted. But then, Jaye isn't dealing with a god, just a headstrong Indian maiden who's shacking up with a god under Niagara / Horseshoe Falls.
The dialogue is hysterical. As I'm typing, I'm rewatching the pilot. Discussing Jaye's suddenly odd behavior, her sister suggests "I think we should put her down." Her brother agrees "It is just like going to sleep."
Or when she notices the bartender's cell phone is ringing in his back pocket--- "Your ass is ringing." Bartender: "My ass rings a lot." Jaye: "Have you ever thought of setting it on vibrate? Bartender: "I'm not sure I'm secure enough with my manhood to do that." Jaye: "So, why do you have an ass if you don't answer it?"
Caroline Dhavernas is great. She's got the subtle comic skills to pull off a role that could so easily have been a burlesque. Her reactions to the inanimate objects' demands are priceless, as is her portrayal of Jaye's incredible boredom at her mind-numbing job.
The rest of the cast-- well, we haven't seen much of them but I'm impressed. William Sadler was great and he only had five or so lines. And Diana Scarwid as Mom is great at casually tossing off lines like "I don't want her talking to my therapist. She might give him ideas!" Katie Finneran as sister Sharon is much more engaging than Dru's sister or Joan's brothers.
The visuals are neatly done. The animated lampshade, the flashbacks, the talking knicknacks.... I love the use of a 3D Viewmaster as a motif for changing scenes!
One odd note-- this seems to be hiding it's Canadian setting. Jaye mentions in the narration "the greater Buffalo New York area." And of course American quarters get extreme closeups a few times. But the Wonderfalls shop is definitely on the Canadian side. You can't see Horseshoe Falls from the NY side.
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