Wonderfalls Recap — Unaired Pilot

So here we are with the Wonderfalls original pilot, which was used to pitch the show to the networks. I’ve never actually watched this before, but I found it on YouTube and couldn’t resist, so I’ll be in for the twists and turns the same as you are. Without further ado, let’s jump right in, shall we?

And jump we do. No bobbin’ along in a barrel. Instead we get a quick smash credits screen with just the name of the show and a short bit of music, and then we are right into the familiar opening tirade about Niagara Falls. Over shots of tourists enjoying what looks like early spring or late autumn by the Falls (it’s cold, in other words), we hear our main character, Jaye, explaining the show’s take on the “Maid of the Mist” tale to a kid in the store where she works. In sum: Indian chief has a beautiful daughter, decides he’ll sacrifice her to the Falls in order to get the gods to stop killing everyone. He has a last minute change of heart, but the daughter is determined to “Surrender to Destiny.” Luckily, the daughter is hot, so the god spares her; alas not so for her father, who had hopped in a canoe and tried, too late, to save her.

Interestingly, the line that most people chalk up to network interference (the kid piping in with the soundbite, “Native Americans never practiced human sacrifice”) is still here in the pilot.

Anyway, Jaye, our main character, goes on tonelessly explaining the myth: the god of the waterfall agreed to protect her people if the daughter stayed with him, and so she became the Maid of the Mist. Wearily, she wraps up her spiel and starts deflecting the kid’s many annoying questions. When that doesn’t work, she asks if he’s going to buy the video — a dramatization of this story, and presumably what started this conversation in the first place — and when he says no, she barks at him to get out.

Free from her obligations to provide actual service to customers, Jaye joins her coworker in leaning up against a stack of merchandise and watching the “Surrender to Destiny” video, for what is clearly the hundredth time for both of them. Her coworker, sounding just as bored as she is at this point, passes along instructions from their manager, Peggy, but both agree they are too busy helping customers to unstock the votive candles.

Now enters the UPS guy — or EPS, as his embroidered jacket claims — and he tries to make small talk as Jaye signs for delivery. Not even taking her eyes from the television, Jaye quickly signs off, mumbling a response to his pleasantry, clearly oblivious to his attempts to be friendly. He wanders off, just in time for a perky blonde to come around the corner and notice our main character.

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