In the sixth episode of Wonderfalls, Jaye gets a frustrating message that seems to be doing more harm than good. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Wonderfalls.
- So, this was my least favorite episode of the show thus far, and I’m sure this will be obvious to many of you. The writers are absolutely revolting in their treatment of fat people, and then they drop a transphobic slur against Gwen because people still fucking think this word is totally okay? Stop using it, oh my god.
- Honestly, there were moments where Patrick was able to voice his reasons for why he was uncomfortable with how people treated him, and there was even a scene where he spelled out all the microaggressions he experienced daily that reminded him why society would never accept him as a fat person. So it’s hard to watch the writers get so close to writing something that isn’t condescending and exploitative, and then experience the utter revulsion they seem to have for people who aren’t skinny. Seriously, just from the point of view of someone watching this show, it was distracting because it doesn’t even make sense from a characterization standpoint. Jaye is cynical and disinterested. She’s not outright cruel, dehumanizing the people around her just to get a laugh. So why even make the Fat Pat storyline about how she stalks her neighbor? The writers easily could have made this about Jaye genuinely helping Pat out of his shell and finding happiness in his own skin. Instead, I’m left to watch the writers squirm their way out of a horrifying premise. When Pat finds out what Jaye has done for six months, there’s this whole irritating line of logic that Jaye spouts about how she didn’t mean to hurt Pat and that she wasn’t being malicious!
- And that’s precisely what I find so wrong with this: It feels like the writers trying to accept the fact that Jaye is not a malicious person (which I agree with) while also making her do this horrific, malicious thing. She made photo albums of Pat. How is that not a heinous, despicable thing? And this show’s attempt to paint Jaye in a positive light despite this feels disingenuous and insulting.
- So, I’m being particularly brutal here, but this episode isn’t a complete disaster. While Jaye’s behavior is problematic at best, it’s also fascinating to me that she helps Patrick without any direction from the inanimate animals around her. At no time is she supposed to do this, and it’s through this that the show furthers her development as a caring person. That is something the writers do incredibly well! We know that the people in Jaye’s life are unfamiliar with the concept of Jaye and nice things, and they all exhibit suspicion when she starts doing things that truly help people. Jaye’s disgusted by this, obviously, but even she has to admit that she’s starting to care entirely on her own.
- BETH GRANT IS A NATIONAL TREASURE. I know she plays the same character in nearly everything, and I don’t care. I swear, this show makes it harder and harder to figure out what the official “good deed” is. Which got me thinking: Was the partnership between Pat and Marie an accident? Did whatever force that compelled Jaye to keep Marie’s disability checks believe there’d be a different end to this? I don’t expect an answer, but it’s nice to wonder.
- The game night scene? INCREDIBLE.
- I was also totally intrigued by the further use of Aaron to explore themes of faith and sanity. While I’ve found Aaron to be generally respectful of other beliefs, he gets close to appearing like many atheists I once knew. Which includes myself, as I definitely went through my Irritating Atheist phase in my early twenties. As he suspects something fishy with his sister’s behavior, he takes his thoughts to the family therapist. What this does is force him to think about what meaning can be applied in his own view of the universe. (Oh god, am I Aaron Tyler? Lord, I studied world religions in college and I’m an atheist with a penchant for existentialism.)
- Unlike Dead Like Me, Jaye has no way of demonstrating that what she’s experiencing is really happening. Aaron is freaked out by the coincidences, but he can’t get concrete evidence. Yet. I actually don’t think Jaye will ever share this with another person, and by the show’s end, she’ll still be the only person who gets messages from inanimate creatures.
- Okay, onwards! Most of this episode made me uncomfortable, so I’d rather move on than beat it into the ground.
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