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Extra Credulity

Tortured logic claims its first victim. Can the second be far behind?


But Fox’s “Wonderfalls” continues to ask us to adopt a Druidic view, that all of the world’s organisms and objects have souls. Then the series wants us to believe that some objects actually talk to some people. The 24-year-old underachiever with a philosophy degree who works at the Wonderfalls souvenir shop at Niagara Falls is one of those people. The souvenirs in her shop — not to mention bizarre toy animals in other places — babble at her, issuing orders and giving advice. Nobody else can see or hear this happening.

Publicity for the series claims that the creatures’ cryptic messages set into motion “a chain of unpredictable events” that invariably leads slacker Jaye (Caroline Dhavernas) into the lives of others in need. Unpredictable doesn’t begin to describe each week’s events. There seems to be no pattern at all. Is it the force of good? Evil? Slacker ennui? Unlike “Touched By an Angel” and “Joan of Arcadia” — prime time’s two best-known recent series about God — it’s unclear here who the inanimate creatures are speaking for. It doesn’t seem to be God. Even after watching two episodes, I can’t make sense of it.

The acting is good on “Wonderfalls,” though. Dhavernas has the most amazing face, one that seems to mirror every emotion her character experiences, whether the emotion is attractive or not. If I’d never seen talent like this before, I’d almost think it was magical. Audrey Hepburn had more of it. So did Grace Kelly.

The “Wonderfalls” writing sparkles, too. Jaye’s attitude is epitomized in throwaway lines, like her response when a friend asks her if she thinks the universe is plotting against her: “I dunno. Vanna hasn’t turned enough letters yet.”

With “Wonderfalls,” I feel like I’m doing my part. But I’m being asked to swallow way too much. S

“Wonderfalls” airs on Fox Friday night at 9.

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