“Wonderfalls” is the quirky new FOX dramedy that
shows what happens when you give in and listen to the voices in
your head. The woman hearing things is Jaye Tyler, newcomer
Caroline Dhavernas, and the voices happen to come in the form of
inanimate objects such as monkey-shaped bookends and a deformed
plastic lion figurine.

Jaye has recently graduated from Brown Universtiy with an
unemployable degree in philosophy and has settled into a life of
underachievement as a lowly employee of the Wonderfalls Gift
Emporium at Niagara Falls. She lives in the High and Dry Trailer
Park and her teenage co-worker has just been promoted over her.
That’s when the lion figurine begins to speak to her.

The lion and other objects — bookends, the eagle on the
back of a quarter — lead her on to small events that link
together forming a bigger picture. In the premiere, Jaye discovers
that her sister is a lesbian, and realizing this fact helps her
grow one step closer to her family.

“Wonderfalls” stays away from the saccharine
“one-girl-can-make-a-difference” trap because of its
comedic core. Jaye faces the world like MTV’s Daria, the
embodiment of sarcasm. While that would usually be annoying,
Dhavernas somehow makes Jaye endearing. Even though Jaye graduated
from an Ivy League school and is stuck selling Niagara-themed
souvenirs, her smart-ass attitude toward her situation is funny,and
makes “Wonderfalls” more entertaining than the average
primetime programming.

Besides Dhavernas, the show is aided by a funny supporting cast
including her clueless white Anglo-Saxon family, her best friend
and loyal drinking partner Mahandra (Tracie Thoms) and the
bartender Eric (Tyron Leitso). The cinematography is above average,
with creative shots of the inside of a vending machine, a coin
dropping into a fountain and the falls themselves. The writing is
witty and quick, with multiple funny one-liners. In one of the more
humorous moments, Mahandra says to Jaye, “Disappointing your
family is an extreme sport for you.”

With a quirky outlook on the supernatural, a sarcastic heroine
and an original premise, “Wonderfalls” is an excellent
addition to the FOX schedule.

 

TV Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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