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Under-Appreciated Cancelled TV Shows: WONDERFALLS

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WONDERFALLS-title card

From Amazon.com Wonderfalls DVD reviews:

If you like quirky, deadpan humor, great acting, fun stories and good writing, you’ll like this. A. Bloom

Wonderfalls is a great show that everyone should seek out and find a way to watch it.  Especially if you are interested in the odd things I write about in my other posts.

I just rewatched all the episodes, and I figured that makes this the best time to write about it, while it is fresh in my memory.

Wonderfalls was broadcast on FOX in 2004.  It only has 13 episodes.  I watched it when it first aired.  I really enjoyed it and was sorry to see it canceled.  I happened to procure a partial set of the full series on DVD.  I am so glad I did.  Otherwise, this could have been a gem that could have slipped my mind and would have been lost forever.

Instead, it now lives on My Top Ten TV Shows of All Time list.

WONDERFALLS-trailer

It is a wonderfully quirky show about a twenty-something girl who is over-educated and under-employed.  She lives in a trailer that looks like the inside of Jeanie’s bottle, but isn’t quite as big.  She works at Wonderfalls, a souvenir shop for Niagara Falls, where the series is set.  It is one of those cheesy souvenir shops, with all the toys and stuffed animals that I love to visit when on vacation.  Except, well, the stuffed animals (and wax lions with smooshed faces) start to talk to her.

The first season is spent with her trying to hide this life-complicating issue from everyone, because she believes she is crazy.  (There does seem to be a higher force at work behind the voices, be it God, Fate, or Satan.)  Sometimes I wished she would just tell her family and friends.  Even when she tried, they mostly did not believe her.

If there had been a season 2, I would like to think everyone would have found out that inanimate animal objects were talking to her and causing her to act so out of character for her normal personality.  In the Special Features, the creators said they would have had her in a mental hospital for Season 3.  Eek!

Jaye’s best friend Mahandra McGinty and her family round out the rest of the cast.  Her family are supposed to be unlikeable people.  But they are all such fine actors that I tend to start liking them anyway.  Some of you may know Lee Pace, who plays her brother Aaron, from another show called Pushing Daisies.  I have never watched it, but I hear that was good, but under-appereciated as well.  He also plays Garrett in Breaking Dawn-Part 2.  I kind of liked him in that.  Didn’t realize until this week that it was the same actor!  (FYI—Alex Rice who plays Sue Clearwater in the same movie was also on Wonderfalls, featured in the episode called “Totem Mole”.)

WONDERFALLS-collage

Every time I watch the show, I re-fall in love with Tyron Leitso.  He hasn’t been in any other TV shows or movies that I watch since, but I really like the character of Eric, the messy love interest, that he plays for Jaye.  And I think that is my second biggest draw that keeps me re-watching and enjoying it: the blossoming love between Eric and Jaye, complicated by Jaye’s voices and Eric’s wife.  (Just watch the show.  The wife is a bitch.  No one would ever root for them to get back together.  Especially after what she did!)  Their relationship always puts me in a hopeful, romantic mood. Leitso is very similar in looks and mannerisms to Matthew Fox. It bothers me a little, because I prefer Leitso.

WONDERFALLS-wax lion

The first biggest reason I keep watching?  I really like Caroline Dhavernas as Jaye Tyler.  She is the type of person I wish I could be (except maybe without a voice so deep).  She lives her life how she wants, she tells it like it is, she doesn’t take crap from anyone (she does have to take crap from the talking objects though).  She sinks into a depression after Eric’s wife returns, and that is very painful to watch.

But every time I watch it anyway.

Because I keep rooting for them to be together.

Will Fate bring them together or push them apart?

And what is with all those non-specific pro-nouns anyway?!

I feel like the last five minutes of the final episode that show you what happens with Eric and Jaye is rushed and was probably added after they found out they were being canceled.  But I am grateful for that tiny piece of closure.

Oh, you want to know if they get together?

You will have to find it somewhere and watch for yourself.

The complete series box set is available for purchase at Amazon.com. Or, you can watch episodes for free on YouTube.com.

It was the little show that couldn’t [keep from getting cancelled], struggling for ratings as soon as it first came on the air.

It currently has a 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and a 7.9 out of 10 rating on IMDb.com.

You can add this to the list of other great shows cancelled before their time like My So-Called Life, Terriers, and Homefront.

Hey, wait a minute…Those are all shows on my Top 10 list as well!

From the final episode “Caged Bird”:

Eric: I’d like to return these.

Jaye: Are they broken? ‘Cause we sell a lot of crap here.

[Oh God!  Makes me cry just to read that!]

When leaving on vacation feels like going to the hospital

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I just returned from vacation. As I was packing my little purple suitcase and my toothbrush to leave home at the beginning of my trip, I felt as though I had done all this before. Recently. But that was impossible, as I hadn’t been on vacation since July 2010, before my son was born. But then I remembered. I HAD done all this recently. Three times. For the occasions my son had to stay in the hospital. And maybe that was my first sign that this vacation just wouldn’t be all I hoped it would be.

A few posts ago, I talked about how well I was doing battling all my fears. When it comes to vacation, that all goes out the window. I worried that my car with 190,000 miles under its belt would not make it (that is before I realized we were going through the Appalachian Mountains with it). I worried that the dog boarding lady would come up with a reason not to take my dogs. I worried that my dogs would freak out at the boarding place and get bloat like Marley and die (I hate that damn book). I worried someone would break into my empty house. I worried my house would catch on fire (or get hit by a tornado, tsunami, etc.). I worried my son would cry the whole time in the car from Michigan to North Carolina (he usually only cries in the car when his future BFF is in the backseat with him). I worried he would cry when I took him in and out of the car more than three times in a day (this is a real thing that usually happens—he is a homebody, like his grandma). I worried the Fiesta factory would be closed when we got there. I worried that my new dress shoes I have never worn before would make my feet hurt. I was worried the rash under my eye would break out if I didn’t take my hydrocortisone cream.

I am happy to say, none of those things happened. My 16 month old son was an excellent multi-state traveler. Better than I ever could have imagined. Except the shoes did kill my pinky toes and I did get my eye rash. Can’t win them all.

I discovered traveling with a toddler makes a relaxing vacation rather stressful. He relies on us (his parents) for everything! He gets easily distracted and wouldn’t have eaten all day if I hadn’t made him. We have to remember to change his diaper at frequent intervals. Which, I am very happy to say, only once did his diaper overflow peepee, and that was on the very last day on the way home. Hey, no one is perfect. Although I wish I was.

The whole trip it felt like my husband and I disagreed about where to go. The purpose of the trip was his Aunt and Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. Which is fine. We had visited them previously, so they were not exactly strangers. My in-laws went down too. And I love them (and I am not just saying that because they read my blog:). But we spent a lot of time with his family, and I felt like I should have had time to visit a couple places I wanted to. We did have an extra time cushion while we were there.

I did get to stop at the Fiesta Factory on the way down. Which is amazing. But I was so overwhelmed and felt so rushed that we were only there like an hour. And we hadn’t had any lunch at that point. (Did I mention my husband starved me? I’m joking. Sort of.) I really wanted to go to Tamarack, because twice before I didn’t get to. But we didn’t go. And I feel we could have spared like two hours for that. After two days of family events, on the way home we went to Saltville, Virginia, for some Civil War history. We were there for four hours, not counting the hour we went to find lunch. Then we went home through Pikeville, Kentucky, where some of my ancestors were born. Which is sort of my pick and we spent the night there. But there was no way there would have been time for me to do any genealogical research. What I really wanted was a picture of my son and I in front of the sign of the city where his great-great-great-great grandfather was born. But I didn’t get that. On the way home I saw a sign for a store that sells fireworks, moccasins, souvenirs, and (wait for it) FUDGE! How great would that be! In the middle of nowhere Ohio! I thought, if we could just stop for a few minutes, that would make up for a few of my other disappointments. After all, I love cheesy souvenirs and the only ones I really got were from the Museum of Middle Appalachians in Saltville. But no luck.

Wall of Fiestaware


Now I know I am being petty. And my frustration comes from being a bit of a control freak. And I have hogged previous vacations visiting numerous lighthouses that my husband could probably care less about. But I can’t help it. I am still a little bitter.

Virginia


I really have no reason to be unhappy with the trip. My kid was the youngest and cutest one at all the family functions. I got numerous requests to make more cute children like him. I got told I looked thinner. I got compliments on my new fancy dress. I got a new bathing suit, which my husband seemed very fond of. I got a box full of Fiestaware. My son behaved extraordinarily well. Every mother’s dream.

Maybe I missed how it was to travel without a toddler. Or maybe I was bummed because I didn’t get to overplan the trip as much as I normally would have. Or maybe the image of packing for the hospital kept haunting me somewhere in the back of my mind.

My son goes to the specialist again on Wednesday for a checkup. I hope-hope-hope, pray to God (except I don’t—except when I am exhausted and need a hotel room in the middle of nowhere Kentucky) that we get good news. It would be cause for celebration! How best to celebrate? Hmmm…Maybe a trip?

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