Wonderfalls: Karma Chameleon

Objects: Mounted Fish, Stuffed Chameleon
Mission: “Get her words out”

In ‘Karma Chameleon’ Jaye gets her very own stalker, Single White Female style. Meet Bianca Knowles, a young woman with a bad stutter who initially just appears to need gas money and a job, but turns out to be an investigative reporter doing a story on disaffected twenty-somethings. Bianca has chosen Jaye as her prototypical Gen-Y loser (a.k.a., “Winners, who haven’t won yet. Or ever.”), and decided the best way to do her article on this overeducated generation of underachievers was to study and essentially become Jaye.

Bianca’s covert efforts to understand young people that “don’t just fall through the cracks, but jump through,” lead to some truly hysterical moments in which Jaye discovers she’s being stalked and doubled. My favorite is the confrontation in Bianca’s van in which she finally confesses that she’s studying Jaye. Jaye actually seems more horrified by that prospect than by the possibility that Bianca might stitch a skin suit out of her dead corpse after she stabs her and steals her organs. Just thinking of the look on Jaye’s face in that moment makes me laugh out loud.

After the initial shock and confusion wears off, Jaye agrees to help Bianca with her article, partly because her current mission is to help Bianca “get her words out” and partly because she’s still stinging from only getting 5 words in her mother’s bio blurb (compared to her siblings’ combined 51 words). I got a huge kick out of Jaye granting an all-access pass to her life. Bianca’s observations of Jaye’s mannerisms and choices were highly entertaining:

-- “There’s nothing aimless about the choices the Gen-Y non-winner makes. Everything they do is for a single purpose: to avoid engaging with the world around them.”

-- “Subject routinely affects slight slouch and subtle sneer, which seems designed to repel others.”

-- “Your home is a trailer. Don’t you see the beautiful poetry in that? It’s a thing that’s been designed to go some place, and yet the hitch isn’t hooked up to anything. So it just sits here. Never living up to its potential, but never in any danger of breaking down either.”

The delightful irony of this episode is that once Bianca is done investigating her subject, she becomes so enamored of the stress-less, expectation-free zone that Jaye has created for herself, that she decides to drop out of her own life and become Jaye. Jaye, in turn, discovers that for all her complaining and inward/disengaged behavior, she kind of likes her crappy life. So she decides to actually contribute something to society by writing Bianca’s article and letting Bianca take the credit in order to get her own life back.

In addition to the fun and twisty main story, we got more fun with Jaye’s family. We finally learn everyone’s names: Karen, Darrin, Sharon, and Aaron (yet another humorous example of how Jaye couldn’t be more different). The various scenes around the dinner table were quite amusing, especially the opening in which Darrin reads Karen’s bio blurb. I love the way her “well-meaning, but let’s just say it, overbearing” parents consistently support her. I couldn’t help but smile at Karen’s defense of Jaye’s short blurb (“Your brother and sister are older than you. They require more words because they’ve lived more. ...they’ve had more opportunity to excel. Don’t worry, your time will come,”) and Darrin’s encouragement about writing a new blurb (“Let those 15 words show the world what a unique, one-of-a-kind daughter I have,”).

I also loved seeing Eric’s flirtatious support for Jaye. I’m really enjoying the way the writers are slowly building their relationship. She’s such a negative, self-involved person, but he always puts a positive spin on things for her and manages to make her smile. It was cute to see how excited he got about her being mentioned in a bio blurb, and his insistence that Bianca isn’t Jaye, and wasn’t crazy for wanting to be, made me feel all melty.

Jaye: “I mean, my crappy life? […] Who’d choose that? Hell, who’d even want to read about it?”
Eric: “I would.”
Jaye: “You would?”
Eric: “And if there are pictures, I’d buy two copies.”

Awwww. Watching those two dance around each other makes me smile.

Other Thoughts

I loved Mahandra and Jaye’s reactions to Bianca being a better Jaye than Jaye. “I think maybe you’re the cover band.”

It was fun getting to see a little more of Lee Pace as Aaron in this episode. I’m not sure it was really notable for me the first time around, but now that I’ve grown to love him as Ned the Pie Maker on Pushing Daisies, I’m highly amused by this earlier role.

The family’s looks of excessive horror after Jaye broke the plate during her fight with Bianca were too funny. I also got a big kick out of Sharon, Aaron, and Darrin all wearing some form of maroon for pizza night. Even Jaye and Bianca kind of fit in!

Quotes

Jaye’s First Blurb: “Jaye, a daughter, is 24.”

Jaye: “What if by the time my mother’s next book comes out this sentence hasn’t changed?”
Mahandra: “It will. Well, the digit will.”

Bianca: “Thank you for shopping at Wonderfalls. Come again!”
Jaye (shaking her head): “Don’t encourage them.”

Mahandra (about Bianca shooting Alec): “That is the most frightening thing I’ve ever heard.”
Jaye: “What? It was just a rubber dart.”
Mahandra: “Shot into a real eye!”
Jaye: “He’s fine. Except for the detached retina. We all got to leave early.”

Jaye: “You should come out with us. I thought we could take her clubbing.”
Mahandra: “Baby seals?”

Jaye to Bianca: “Well there are laws against stalking, and my sister, a very successful lawyer, will see to it that your pale imitation of my ass lands in jail!”

Jaye: “And why the phony stutter? Some people might think its offensive and not just funny.”

Jaye: “Look, Bianca, this isn’t you. And I’m a little horrified to think it might actually be me.”

Jaye’s Final Blurb: “Daughter Jaye lives in Niagara Falls. Her blurb, and life, are a work in progress.”

Final Analysis: What a fun and clever way to tackle the completely slacker lifestyle of your main character! This one made me laugh out loud numerous times, and features fun with the entire Tyler family. Very enjoyable.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.

9 comments:

Billie Doux said...

This one is not only exceptionally witty, it's very twisty. Bianca, and how Jaye sees her, constantly changes throughout the episode, and it just keeps getting funnier. And I absolutely loved the stuff about the blurb. They could have made it one word shorter, though. "Daughter Jaye is 24." :)

Michelle said...

I loved the scene where she was sitting at the bar with Bianca and she introduces Bianca to Eric. When Eric walks away and Bianca is trying to say that Eric's cute.

The moment Jaye says 'he's cute', the look on Erics face. So nice. And then when he walks away and you see the look on Jaye's face.

Just really love that scene.

Michelle said...

Just wanted to say something about the actress that's playing Bianca in this episode. (Forgot to add this to my other message).

I noticed that there are also reviews on Glee here. I'm also watching Glee.
Did you know that the actress playing Bianca had a little role in an episode of Glee (Ballad, season 1)?

I saw her face, heard her voice. And I was like, isn't that the girl who played Bianca in Wonderfalls? Just thought it was funny..

Dimitri A.C. Ly said...

Oh, right, she was the hot-pepper stalker girl crushing on Will, wasn't she?

Michelle said...

Yeah she was!
Haven't seen that actress in any other role than the role of some kind of stalker haha!

Jess Lynde said...

Bianca was played by Sarah Drew, who's had tons of guest and recurring roles on TV series. She played Sal's wife on Mad Men, Hannah Rogers on Everwood, and apparently has a recurring role on Grey's Anatomy right now. Not all of them are crazy stalkers, although she did play a demon-possessed nutter on an episode of Supernatural last year. (The one where Sam swapped bodies with the kid.)

Michelle said...

I don't watch that much TV series, so I wouldn't know.. Although, when you mention Everwood, I do remember Hannah.. I didn't really watch the serie, but I have seen a few episodes. Just like Grey's Anatomy, I've seen quite a lot of episodes. But I don't really like it that much, so it's not like I'll watch it everytime it's on. So I've missed her on that one...

ChrisB said...

The heart in this show just continues to amaze me. Yes, Jaye is a slacker, but she is surrounded by people who love her and support her. I especially liked the end when her family all applauded her new blurb.

I am really enjoying the romance with Eric. Like Michelle, I laughed out loud when he walked up to her just as she said "cute."

Great catch on the family names! What a subtle, but effective, way of showing Jaye's differences.

TJ said...

"And a sister, 35."

LOL