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'Wonderfalls' nostalgia recap: Snowy owl 'love killer'

Season 1 | Episode 9 | “Safety Canary” | Unaired

This episode of Wonderfalls begins with Jaye and Eric on the date he asked her on at the end of the previous episode. Ironically, he brings her to the zoo, which Jaye actually enjoys because, as she puts it, none of these animals can talk. They make out (adorably) until they’re rudely interrupted by an animated canary on a zoo safety sign, who tells Jaye to “take a picture” at an exhibit where pictures are specifically forbidden. She does, and the two macaws in the exhibit freak out, attacking Jaye.

DVD screengrab

The next day, Sharon brings Jaye some ointment for her macaw scratches and also accuses Jaye of being a maneater. The topic quickly shifts to Sharon’s own relationship drama when Thomas, aka poor bitch from the pilot, shows up and makes incredibly awkward small talk with Sharon, who unconvincingly claims things are going fine with her and Beth. Jaye also receives a visit from Rufus (Dov Tiefenbach), a custodian at the zoo, who informs her that the macaws’s keeper, Penelope (Kellie Waymire) was accused of being unable to control the birds and moved to a different exhibit. He says those birds were Penelope’s life and that she was trying to get them to mate, which was important work considering they are an endangered species. A stuffed donkey promptly tells Jaye to “save the lovebirds.”

Taking the “birds” part of the donkey’s message literally, Jaye visits Penelope at the zoo. It doesn’t go well—Penelope accuses Jaye of being a “love killer” and then gets fired from the zoo entirely for interacting with her. At the Barrel, Mahandra agrees that Jaye is a love killer, and compares Eric’s innocent demeanor to that of a wounded gazelle. In one of the most Bryan Fuller–esque moments of the series, Jaye envisions Eric’s heart literally exploding from his body and into her hands. Mahandra doesn’t think Eric will be able to take it if Jaye hurts him, but Jaye wants to believe she’s no longer a maneater or a love killer.

In an abrupt turn to illegal problem-solving methods, Jaye, Eric, and Penelope break into the zoo after hours. They’re planning to “liberate” (aka kidnap) the birds, who are named Humphrey and Lauren, and get them to mate. Eric thinks Jaye’s desire to help the birds is so romantic. She tries to warn him that things like abduction and bird attacks happen to her all the time, but they just end up kissing some more. Rufus catches everyone in the act, but rather than busting them, he helps them escape before security arrives.

They take the macaws to Jaye’s parents’ house, where only Aaron is currently home. Jaye has also called on Mahandra to help, and they all wait rather impatiently for the birds to mate. Once they do start mating, Jaye panics because she thinks the end of this adventure means she will have to finally face what she knows she needs to do with Eric: break it off with him. She impulsively opens a window, through which the birds quickly escape. Mahandra guesses immediately that Jaye freed them on purpose, and manipulates the situation so that Jaye is paired with Eric when the group splits up to go search for the birds. Sharon also shows up to help, having been guilted into coming when Jaye implied that the missing macaws were actually missing human children.

In the woods, Jaye ends up once again making out with Eric (literally in a tree) rather than breaking up with him. Meanwhile, Mahandra hangs out back at the house with Aaron, and they have a moment of surprising sexual tension. She comments that dating her best friend’s brother would be crazy, but he disagrees and challenges her to kiss him. She declines and tells him to shut up, but seems sort of intrigued.

Back in the tree, Eric tells Jaye he’s never felt as alive as he does with her, and she admits she likes him maybe more than any boy she’s ever liked. Jaye finally tells him he should run from her now, because it’s better to break things off before they make it official. She insists she’s keeping him safe, but Eric doesn’t buy it, reminding her he’s not looking for anything “safe.” He accuses her of only protecting herself, not him, before driving away angrily.

As Penelope describes the macaws’s star-crossed love story to Sharon, it makes the elder Tyler sister realize some things about her flawed relationship with Beth. Zoo security shows up, but everyone gets off the hook when they see that the birds have been hiding in Sharon’s car all along, and they are indeed mating. They move Sharon’s car to the zoo, where it will remain for the incubation period.

As the episode concludes, the characters all act on what they learned from Humphrey and Lauren. Sharon tells Beth she wants to be with her and is staking her claim—although she’s unaware of a visit Beth had from Thomas while she was out. Penelope bonds with Rufus, finally connecting with someone of her own species. Mahandra shows up at Aaron’s door, says she accepts his challenge, and they kiss. Jaye comes to her senses, realizing Eric has been right all along about her standing in her own way. She goes to the Barrel to make things right—only to find Eric with his newly returned wife, Heidi (Jewel Staite). Oh boy.

DVD screengrab

Odds and ends

  • When Aaron sees the kidnapped macaws he asks Jaye: “Did the cow creamer tell you to do this?” She accurately replies “No, the stuffed donkey did.”
  • This was sadly the final acting role of Kellie Waymire. She passed away from an undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia at age 36 shortly after filming this episode, which is dedicated to her memory.
  • Jewel Staite, of Firefly fame, is not the same actress who briefly played Heidi in the pilot, but who cares about continuity, she’s Jewel Staite!
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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