Stan Crumley, VP/Gen. Mgr of WHNS-TV Fox in Carolina recently hazarded some opinions about the cancellation of Wonderfalls.
With all due respect to Mr. Crumley (who I feel does have quite an unfortunate last name) as a VP of a local affiliate, he has absolutely no say in the airing of his network's programming. His opinions may be educated thru experience, but that's about it.
Regardless, Mr. Crumley (who I'm going to refer to simply as Stan, because he name is just hard to type with great amounts of respect) did hazard one opinion about the show that I felt a need to remark about:
That may be why Wonderfalls did not make it, due to the fact that the two shows were too similar. Personally, I don’t think so but you may have a point.
There were the expected reactions to this:
Comment by christinax8x8 ...Please! I can't believe he said Tru Calling and Wonderfalls were similar. Morgue. Gift Shop. Talking people. Talking objects. Hmm...real similar!
Well, I don't mean to be flame bait, but...
But in some senses, he is right. The concept of human interest stories linked by a common fantastical thread is old. I posted on this within the past two weeks.
The concept is called the McGuffin. It's the thing that drives the protagonist (and a small core cast) from person to person interfearing with their lives. Usually in a beneficial way.
Now, this is where the comparison ends. These shows can be comedies, dramas, they can deal with the character's interaction with the McGuffin, they can ignore it entirely. The McGuffin can affect the character or it cannot. And the character themselves and their attitude can effect the whole process.
The idea that this is essentially the same show as Tru Calling, Quantum Leap, The Incredible Hulk, The Fugitive, Touched by an Angel, Joan of Arcadia, Nowhere Man, Werewolf... on and on and on. Hmmn. Okay. Yes, it is episodic Human Interest stories.
But the comparison comes to an end when you focus on the central person and their personal needs, desires, and aspirations. Wonderfalls was very daring to put at the center a very real person caused by a very real society. Truthfully, I think the show scared far too many people. It wasn't scary because of the spooky animals talking (I for one was thrilled that the pilot featured an object singing, 'Hello My Baby' only when she was around). It was scary because it really showed the product of a society where a college degree can create an intelligent person who just doesn't want to play up to society's expectations and can be happy about it.
(My S.O adds) It challenges many fundamental assumptions about society. Truthfully, the average person isn't ready to hear about the problems and failings of society. Most would rather ascribe the whole show as utter fantasy and tune it out. No one wants to look in the mirror and examine their own failings and society is a whole lot of no-ones.
Wonderfalls and Tru Calling can (by this guage) be actually be considered not only different but a diametric opposite.
In reflection, I don't think Wonderfalls would have lasted. And by no means is this based on the merit, talent, or work done on the show. I loved it. Strong acting, fantastic writing, and (dare I use the term) quirky directing. But within all of that were the seeds of revolution. The fan base of the show are the people who are very much like Jaye. We are intelligent. We care about things because they are things worth caring about and not merely the things they are expected to care about. Societies expectations are our ambivalence or worse the things that leave a foul taste in our mouths.
Society, doesn't know how to deal with us because we are not members of the apathetic masses who go where we are supposed to go and do what we are supposed to do. We go and do what we want to do. (Okay cheap M&P reference). And like Jaye, we are often happier about it than those who sat at home watching Seinfeld or worse some reality show. (And if you could see the size of the finger-quotes around the word reality.....)
Unfortunately, we are a small percentage of a large wasteland of foolishness. The good news is, as long as shows like Wonderfalls get even one episode on, our numbers grow. And we receive the most important and comforting message that society doesn't like giving out. We're not alone... And we are okay.