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'Wonderfalls' nostalgia recap: Defy the chicken

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Pink Flamingos” | Originally aired on Apr 1, 2004

The second episode of Wonderfalls literally begins with a scene where Jaye accidentally backs over her father with a car. That’s our girl. An innocent father-daughter breakfast date takes a turn when the pink flamingos on the Tylers’ lawn start telling Jaye to “get off her ass.” Unsure what to make of this, she remains in the car—which somehow goes into reverse as she sits in the passenger seat, hitting Darrin as he moves the trash bins.

At the hospital, the doctors find seven fractures in Darrin’s leg and Jaye feels appropriately terrible, which is only made worse by her mother and sister’s complete lack of surprise. “These things happen with you,” they say matter-of-factly, with Karen even chiming in that Jaye is not enough of a planner to have done this in cold blood.

When Jaye finally makes it to work, she is dismayed to find her high school frenemy Gretchen (Chelan Simmons) waiting to ambush her. Gretchen has decided to plan their 10-year high school reunion three and a half years early. Considering all of her actual friends are busy with careers or families, she has decided unattached Jaye is the perfect candidate to help her with the event. Later, at the Barrel, Jaye is still distracted by her father’s ordeal, which is not helped by Mahandra immediately responding, “I’m sure you didn’t mean to,” upon hearing the news that he was run over. Of all her family members, Jaye feels closest to her father, and is legitimately worried the accident may cause Sharon to replace her as his favorite daughter. Meanwhile, Jaye answers a call from Eric’s cheating wife on his cell phone, and tells her Eric can’t come to the phone because he’s servicing her sexually. Before she can bask in this triumphant moment, the fish mounted on the wall of the bar demands Jaye help Gretchen with the reunion.

Jaye reluctantly informs Gretchen she’ll help and begs Mahandra to come with her, but Mahandra’s only interest in attending the reunion is to sabotage it to get revenge for all the mean things Gretchen did to her in high school. Feeling trapped by the animals, Jaye tells Mahandra she cannot participate in any sabotage.

Credit: Giphy

Meanwhile, Sharon is frustrated that babysitting her father, who is fresh home from the hospital, is forcing her to cancel plans with Beth (poor bitch’s ex-wife from the pilot) again—until she notices the drowsiness warning on one of his prescriptions and plots to drug Darrin. Poor Mr. Tyler is really having a rough go of it in this episode. Sharon successfully knocks him out, and Beth comes over. While they are hooking up in the living room, Sharon is constantly paranoid that Darrin will wake up. Beth lets slip that she considers herself bisexual, which Sharon doesn’t quite know what to make of. Darrin hilariously sleepwalks downstairs in the middle of their makeout session, making an already awkward moment even more awkward.

Jaye, Mahandra, and Karen (who is invited as an esteemed alum of the high school and is more popular with Jaye’s classmates than Jaye herself) meet up with Gretchen before the reunion. When Gretchen learns her husband can’t make it and breaks down about him not loving her, we realize Gretchen’s life is not as picture-perfect as she pretends it is. Jaye awkwardly attempts to comfort her—until the school mascot chicken on Gretchen’s hair clip tells Jaye to destroy Gretchen. When they arrive at the reunion, a confused Jaye tells Mahandra she’s in to help with the sabotage after all … but her enthusiasm for ruining a girl’s life that already seems pretty ruined makes Mahandra reconsider. She goes off to attempt to have fun, leaving Jaye to come up with a sabotage plan on her own.

Jaye talks to Eric, who’s bartending the event, and tells him she feels guilty about destroying Gretchen but feels she has to because the chicken said so. Eric, not understanding what he presumes is a metaphor, suggests she “defy the chicken” and help Gretchen instead. Empowered, Jaye calls Gretchen’s husband to try to convince him to come to the reunion. She learns he’s already on his way—until she hears him get into a horrible car crash while on the phone with her. More frustrated than ever, Jaye gives up, declares she will be fate’s bitch from here on out, and throws a drink on Gretchen in front of everyone.

Credit: Giphy

While Gretchen attempts to get the stain out of her dress in the bathroom, she is approached by a man who has been trying to talk to her all evening. This guy, Chuck, had every class with Gretchen in high school and confesses he has loved her for years. Gretchen is simultaneously flattered and creeped out, but the moment causes her to realize she doesn’t love her husband. She dramatically takes the stage one last time to thank Jaye for the wake-up call and declare she’s “losing the hyphen, keeping the ring.” Also, we learn Jaye did NOT inadvertently kill Gretchen’s husband; he’s very much alive, and even meets a hot woman at the accident scene. The final piece of the animal muses’ puzzle comes together when Jaye’s father reveals to her that because she ran him over, the doctors found a blood clot that could have been fatal if left undiscovered. While not without a few bumps along the way, once again, listening to the animals seems to have worked out for Jaye in the end.

Odds and ends

  • It is mentioned multiple times that Jaye does not have a cell phone. Oh, 2004. You were a simpler time.
  • The character of Gretchen Speck has also appeared on Pushing Daisies and Hannibal—a perfect example of the general interconnectedness of Bryan Fuller’s universe.
  • Speaking of Bryan Fuller’s universe, congratulations to Caroline Dhavernas on her Saturn Award nomination for Hannibal!
TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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