Season 1 Episode 1

Wax Lion

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Mar 12, 2004 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
188 votes

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  • Episode Summary

    Wax Lion
    When Jaye Tyler is convinced by a waxed lion to chase after a shiny quarter, she finds herself returning a lost purse to a lady (who instead of thanking her, punches her in the face), meeting an attractive and sweet bartender named Eric, introducing her sister, Sharon, to the newly divorced bachelor delivery man, and later discovering her sister's sexuality.moreless

    Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    • Overeducated and underpaid? Who can't relate!

      After hearing good things about the series I just finished watching this episode online and found it enjoyable. There were some faults like it wasn't as smart and funny as it should be but it was an entertaining episode overall. I feel FOX was misplaced to handle a series like this, they don't really do quirky-smart humor. I thought the plotting of the episode was smart and pretty funny, it's a good setting to place a show. The problems I felt with this episode was I feel this lead character is out there in this series on her own, expected to carry the entire program and I just don't know if she's likeable enough. It was a good episode and I look forward to watching episode two but I can't see this as a long-running series to any extent. She's great but enough to make an audience watch episode two on purpose, she needs a better supporting cast. The plot was creative and inventive and I feel that's what saved the show to become the cult-hit it is, I can't wait to find out what's going on with these animals talking to her, very animorphism of FOX to dare to do. Overall, a good episode with some tweaks that may or may not be taken care of.moreless
    • Jag tyckte verkligen det här var skitkul!

      Jag tyckte verkligen det här var skitkul! En hel del klockrena repliker, snygga effekter och charmiga skådisar.

      Nu har jag inte sett Joan of Arcadia en enda gång, men skillnaden som jag förstår det är att Joan försöker ha en dramatisk sida, medan Wonderfalls är en straight-up comedy. Och en ny, bra sådan var precis vad jag kände att jag behövde just nu.

      Hoppas på mer William Sadler i fortsättningen, han är ju en gammal kultfavorit.

      Vet inte riktigt vad det bästa var, för det fanns en del att välja på. Bl.a. när vaxlejonet gjorde sin HAL 9000-imitation, och "Sweetheart, when was the last time you had an orgasm? It's nothing to be ashamed of." "Not ashamed! Mortified!".

      Då så, då hade man en ny bra serie att titta på! Och nästa avsnitt verkar väldigt bra efter att ha sett trailern. "You know that movie where that girl wanted to be that other girl so much that she would murder for it?" "Grease?"moreless
    • “She lives in a trailer park. Clearly she\'s disturbed. Clearly.”

      So here we are in the enchanted land of Niagara Falls yada yada yada, whatever. We are immediately introduced to not only the legend of the falls, not only the main character and heroine, Jaye, 24, slacker supreme (“I’m dissatisfied without hardly working at all”) but also to many recurring themes and characters that will, erm, recur throughout this fabulous series, to wit: Native Americans (Jaye: “Indians!”) and surrendering to destiny, Dr Ron the psychiatrist, the love triangle of Sharon, Beth and Thomas, that Olsen girl, Gretchen Speck, Heidi and the bellboy, even the quarters thrown into the fountain – all these things will come back in later episodes. Part of Wonderfalls’s genius is making these signposts seem trivial, whereas full time viewers will see them as FATE.

      So, first scene: a girl a boy. Unfortunately the girl is 24, retail clerk, the boy is 10, a customer, or at least a prospective one. Then the boy is replaced by Alex, Jaye’s co-worker in boredom – that is until the start of Jaye’s bad day when Alex is made assistant manager and instead becomes über-boss, forcing her to give money back to a pain-in-the-ass customer who presents her with a squash-faced wax lion. Previous to this, on her lunchbreak, Jaye had choked on a sandwich and been hit on the back of the head with a quarter. Can her day get any worse? Of course it can when the wax lion starts to talk to her, causing her to faint and her concerned annoying loveable intrusive family to stop by her trailer to bitch, argue and ask her when she last had an orgasm. Was it the near death experience that made her see and hear animals move and talk? Was it that the fountain gives out wishes and Jaye has to carry them out? At any rate, this strange turn of events leads her to take solace in beer and her as equally sarcastic, snarky and scrappy friend Mahandra - who thinks Jaye disappointing her family is “an extreme sport” and asks her why she was performing an act of kindness (“I just wanted to see what it was like”) - and the cute bar-tender Eric – bestubbled, kind and friendly and who hits on Jaye five minutes after telling her his life-story.

      So we have the introduction, we have the major and minor characters, we have the premise. Now the story. On the surface, the story is about Thomas, the EPS guy finding love and the “Texan haus-frau” finding her handbag (one gets the impression that Jaye goes chasing after the quarter as an excuse to get out of work, rather than with a desire to obey the animals or help anyone). But it’s actually about sisterhood. Sharon and Jaye are opposites. One is blonde, the other brunette. One a high flier lawyer, the other a shop assistant. One drives an SUV, the other some beat-up old banger. One likes girls, the other boys. One is a larger lady and smokes, the other skinny and doesn’t. They bicker constantly. BUT, are they not two sides of the proverbial coin? They are both propositioned by ex-married men, they both seem to leave their work in the middle of the day – a lot. They both speak their mind. They both love their family – in their own way. By the end, they’re even admitting that they love each other. Jaye is also able to offer Sharon help (in a round about way), which seemingly makes a change from Sharon pulling Jaye out of scrapes.

      All in all, this is an excellent opener: setting the scene, explaining the themes and not so much introducing, as forcing the characters into our collective consciousness. Some people have commented that the series is formulaic, but I think that the animals’ commands are suitably cryptic as to be entertaining and that there is enough of a story arc to sustain viewers’ interest, not just the Eric/Jaye romance but her relationships with her family and their relationships with each other and outsiders, the humour of Alex and the shop and the ultimate plan of the animals for Jaye.moreless
    Gerry Fiorini

    Gerry Fiorini

    Pizza Delivery Guy

    Guest Star

    Kim Roberts

    Kim Roberts


    Guest Star

    Corry Karpf

    Corry Karpf


    Guest Star

    Neil Grayston

    Neil Grayston


    Recurring Role

    Scotch Ellis Loring

    Scotch Ellis Loring

    Dr. Ron Campbell/Muse Voice

    Recurring Role

    Ted Dykstra

    Ted Dykstra

    Muse Voice

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (5)

      • In this episode we find out that Sharon is a lesbian.

      • It is revealed in the DVD commentary that the final scene with Jaye and Sharon, where Jaye says "I love you" was filmed about 6 months after the preceding scenes were filmed. Sharon's hair is styled different and her cleavage is not as pronounced. Caroline Dhavernas is actually thinner and has a tan.

      • Due to some clever camera tricks and computer generated images, it appears that the store opens up into a quad that looks over Niagara Falls. In reality, this is not the case. There is no actual Wonderfalls store. The actual store front used is located in the court yard of the Liberty Grand Complex in Toronto.

      • Jaye claims that Niagara Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, but it isn't. Although there isn't an official list of the Seven Wonders, they are generally accepted to be the Grand Canyon, the Northern Lights, Mount Everest, Paricutin Volcano, the Harbour at Rio de Janeiro, Victoria Falls and the Great Barrier Reef.

      • Shots of the old and new Wonderfalls Gift Emporium sign and logo are intermixed.

    • QUOTES (41)

      • Eric: (About the Maid of the Mist) You know, I don't get why she just didn't paddle to the other side of the river. I mean, it's not that far.
        Jaye: She was surrendering to destiny.
        Eric: Oh, is that it?
        Jaye: You know, the Office of Travel and Tourism did this whole "Surrender to Destiny" promotion in the '80s and some cult used it as an endorsement for mass suicide.
        Eric: Really?
        Jaye: Mm-hmm. Bunch of them piled into canoes and went over the edge. They were pulling bodies out of the river for weeks.
        Eric: That wasn't in any of the brochures.
        Jaye: There was a lot of media coverage. Surprisingly good for business.

      • Eric: Well, for those of us not in cults, I think there's something to be said for surrendering to destiny. I mean, if it's destiny, there's probably a reason for it, right?
        Jaye: Okay.
        Eric: So why struggle with fate? Life can be sort of peaceful when you stop struggling.
        Jaye: It's a lot like drowning that way.

      • Jaye: I... love you.
        Sharon: I love you too.
        Jaye: (surprised) I don't feel dirty. (To Sharon) I thought I was gonna feel dirty.

      • Dr. Ron: Would you say your family life is stressful?
        Jaye: Not that I'm aware of. Does my mother say it's stressful?
        Dr. Ron: We're not talking about your mother.
        Jaye: Not yet.
        Dr. Ron: Do you feel pressured to live up to your mother's expectations?
        Jaye: I thought we weren't talking about my mother.
        Dr. Ron: We're not. We're talking about you.
        Jaye: I'm confused.
        Dr. Ron: That's perfectly normal.

      • Jaye: How'd you get in?
        Sharon: Climbed through the window. You're gonna need a new screen.
        Jaye: Couldn't wait in your luxury S.U.V.?
        Sharon: I did, but there was this dirty kid eating Spaghetti Os out of a can and he wouldn't stop staring at me.

      • Beth: Excuse me. Did you bring in the man with the pen in his throat?
        Sharon: Um... yes.
        Beth: I'm his ex-wife. My name is on the emergency contact card in his wallet. Are you his girlfriend?
        Sharon: I don't have a girlfriend.

      • Dr. Ron: When's the last time you told your sister you loved her?
        Jaye: I don't know how you did things in your family, but we weren't raised that way.

      • Jaye: You know that vending machine that makes little wax animals?
        Mahandra: Yeah.
        Jaye: It made a little smooshed-face lion.
        Mahandra: Mm-hmm.
        Jaye: And it talked to me.
        Mahandra: What did it say?
        Jaye: It told me not to give a customer her money back.
        Mahandra: Was she being a bitch?
        Jaye: Yeah.
        Mahandra: There you go.

      • Jaye: That discount has to be presented at the time of purchase.
        Customer: My ass. I'm presenting it right now.
        Jaye: Did you just say "my ass"?

      • Jaye: I think the universe is conspiring against me.
        Eric: The whole universe? Not just the Milky Way or like planet Earth, but the entire universe?
        Jaye: All of creation. It's a plot. I know that now.

      • Jaye: (To the Wax Lion) Are you Satan? Are you God? Okay, if you don't say something in the next five seconds I'm gonna assume you're Satan. One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi, four-Mississ... Oh God, I'm a crazy person!

      • Wax Lion: (singing out of tune) Sharon and poor bitch / Sittin' in a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G / First comes love / Then comes marriage / Then comes poor bitch / With a baby carriage / Sharon and poor bitch / Sittin' in a tree...

      • (Wax Lion wakes Jaye from sleeping)
        Wax Lion: (singing) Sharon, Sharon, give me your answer true; I'm half crazy all for the love of you-
        Jaye: If I do this, will you SHUT UP?
        (Jaye throws cup at Wax Lion, he lands in wastebasket)
        Wax Lion: (in basket) Make me a match!

      • Eric: I'm almost numb enough to start something on the rebound, What do you say?
        Jaye: Sweet of you to offer, but I may be clinically insane.

      • Eric: I walked out of that honeymoon suite and into this bar, and cried for three days until someone offered me a job.
        (Jaye slides her drink to him. He drinks it.)

      • (Eric's cellphone rings in his back pocket, he ignores it)
        Jaye: Your ass is ringing.
        Eric: My ass rings a lot.
        Jaye: You ever think about setting it on vibrate?

      • Darrin: There are other ways to deal with depression. (goes to Jaye's door) Sweetheart, when's the last time you had an orgasm?
        (Silence from everyone)
        Sharon: That sound you hear is stunned silence.

      • Jaye: (at bar, but she told Sharon she was going to the bathroom) Quick! Get me drunk!
        Eric: Jello shot?
        Jaye: You got grape?
        Sharon: (From the table) That's not the bathroom!

      • Jaye: (To the Wax Lion) You can't talk! You don't have a larnyx!

      • (Regarding the Waxed Lion)
        Jaye: But when I say it talked to me, I mean it opened its mouth and words came out.
        Mahandra: I know.
        Jaye: It blinked.
        Mahandra: I'm sure it did.
        Jaye: And you don't have a problem with that?
        Mahandra: Do you?
        Jaye: Yeah. It's upsetting.

      • Boy: What happened to the chief?
        Jaye: He died.
        Boy: Why did the princess live?
        Jaye: 'Cause she was hot. Are you going to buy the tape?
        Boy: No.
        Jaye: Then get out. No loitering.

      • Sharon: You better stop!
        (Sharon hits Jaye with her shoe)
        Jaye: Ow! Oh, that was dramatic!
        Sharon: You tell people we're not related.
        Jaye: It was just that one time.
        Sharon: It was grandpa's wake.
        Sharon: I'm just curious. How many people did you call before you called me?
        Jaye: Five... No, six! You were the only one home.

      • Jaye: Maybe we should trach him!
        Sharon: I don't know, do you have a pen?
        Jaye: Fine tip or ball point?!

      • ER woman: We have a stabbing victim!

      • Mahandra: (To Jaye) Disappointing your family is an extreme sport for you.

      • Jaye: Don't you have a job in New Jersey?
        Eric: I'm pretty sure they're gonna fire me when I don't show up!
        Jaye: That's awesome!

      • Wax Lion: Make me a match.

      • Girl: You're not supposed to steal.
        Jaye: You're not supposed to talk to strangers. Piss off!

      • Jaye: (Regarding her family) Well, just look at them. They all work really hard everyday and they're dissatisfied. I mean, I can be dissatisfied without hardly working at all.

      • Jaye: (Regarding her teenage co-worker) The mouth-breather is now my boss.

      • Mahandra: Crazy insane? Or crazy like the time I set up a video camera in my house and pretended I was on Big Brother?

      • Wax Lion: See a penny, pick it up.

      • Eric: Why do they always sacrifice the pretty ones?
        Jaye: I guess killing pretty people is easier than killing ugly people. Although, you'd think the opposite would be true.

      • Jaye: I didn't take the monkey.
        Karen: Of course you took the monkey, sweetheart. He's got it all on tape. He put a security camera in his office after that Olsen girl stabbed herself and told everyone he tried to kill her.

      • Thomas: She told me you thought I was cute.
        Sharon: She lied. I don't.

      • Mahandra: And what happens if you repress something?
        Jaye: It goes away.
        Mahandra: It comes back! All crazy and pissed off.

      • Jaye: I so wanna storm out on you right now, but if I stand up, I'll fall.

      • Texan Woman: Wednesday your day to dig through the trash?
        Jaye: Your voice just got loud.

      • Mahandra: What happened to you?
        Jaye: I was accosted by a middle-aged, Texan hausfrau during an act of kindness.
        Mahandra: Why were you performing an act of kindness?
        Jaye: Just wanted to see what it was like.

      • Thomas: I'm too sensitive, right? You know, a lot of women, they don't like that. But I think it makes me a really good kisser.

      • Jaye: Did you have that goiter before?

    • NOTES (15)

      • This episode was nominated to the 2005 Writers Guild Of America (WGA) Award for Best Episodic Comedy.

      • The regular actors are credited in alphabetical order.

      • In the scene where Jaye's family are at her trailer home after she passed out at work, pay close attention to Jaye's brother Aaron.
        At the beginning of the scene we see him wearing his watch on his left wrist but in other scenes (where we can only see part of his right arm and right leg but never his face) we can see the watch on his right wrist. Also, when the angle of the camera changes to behind Aaron, we notice that the style and colour of his hair changes from light brown to a darker almost black colour. This is due to the fact that the original (unaired) pilot had Adam Scott playing Aaron and not Lee Pace. When Adam Scott left, they re-shot that scene but only at a minimum and recycled what they could use resulting in mismatched editing.

      • In this episode, Alec is called by his name for the only time in the series. Throughout the rest of the series he is only referred to as "Mouth-breather."

      • Jaye running into Gretchen is reminiscent of a scene from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode (4x3) entitled "The Harsh Light of Day", a crossover episode with Buffy's spin-off, Angel, in which Willow Rosenberg runs into Harmony Kendall. In both scenes, a main character runs into a ditzy blonde whom they have not seen since their high school graduation. Also, in both scenes, the person they run into has gone through some changes (Gretchen was married and converted to Judaism, and Harmony had become a vampire). Tim Minear, Executive Producer of Wonderfalls, also worked on Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's spin-off.

      • The theme song for the show is I Wonder Why the Wonder Falls written by Andy Partridge.

      • In the scene following Sharon's spat with Jaye, Sharon drives away in her SUV. In real life, Katie doesn't drive.

      • An audio commentary to accompany the viewing of the Pilot episode was made available on the internet. The commentators are Todd Holland and Katie Finneran.

      • Judging by Jaye's age, she graduated high school in 1998.

      • In this episode, we find out that Jaye is 24 years old.

      • The gift shop exterior scenes were filmed in the Liberty Grand courtroom at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

      • This episode was rated TV-PG, but with tags for dialogue, language, sex and violence.

      • Music: Hear Me Out by Frou Frou.

      • The Wax Lion torments Jaye with two songs from the 1890s.
        Hello My Baby by Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson (1899)
        and Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two) by Harry Dacre (1892)--with "Sharon" substituted for "Daisy".

      • Jaye talks with a wax lion, brass monkey bookend, stuffed bear, and sees the eagle on the American quarter move.

    • ALLUSIONS (3)

      • Eric: What's the universe plotting?
        Jaye: Couldn't tell you. Vanna hasn't turned over enough letters yet.

        Jaye is referring to the popular game show Wheel of Fortune, in which contestants try to guess letters that are part of a puzzle. If the letter they guess is part of the puzzle, model Vanna White walks in front of the board and touches the blank squares where the letters belong, revealing more of the puzzle to the contestants.

      • Wax Lion: Make me a match.

        This is a reference to the Oscar-winning 1971 movie Fiddler on the Roof, in which a Russian Jewish peasant marries off his daughters. A musical number called Matchmaker in the movie contains the words the lion speaks here in its refrain.

      • "Hello my honey, hello my baby, hello my ragtime gal..."

        The first song that the Lion Sings (as well as the plush bear at the end) is the same song that the "dead" frog sang to "Porky Pig" in "Loony Toons." The gag was that around everyone else, the frog was dead, but sang and danced for "Porky." Kind of how the Animals only talk for her, and not for anyone else.