Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pushing Daisies is, Alas, Pushing Up Daisies

If you don't know the show, here's the basic plot:

The main character is Ned. Ned owns a owns a pie shop called The Pie Hole. For some reason Ned has the ability to touch a dead person and bring them back to life, but if he doesn’t touch the person a second time within sixty seconds, another person will die in their place. That person could be anyone within the vicinity. ('Death' seems to try to be somewhat fair, however, because if Ned brought a bird back to live, per se, and didn't touch it again within a minute,then something a similar size like a squirrel would die in its place, not a human). This has caused Ned to leave a fairly sheltered life, wary of touch. A PI happens to see him accidentally bring someone back to life one day, and they begin a partnership where Ned touches murder victims to find out who killed them and then touches them again (= dead again) and they collect the reward money. They stumble onto a case where he has to bring back his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Charlotte), and he can't bear to touch her again and let her go (so someone dies in her place). So, Ned and Chuck are in love, but they can't touch at all or else Chuck will be dead again, forever. Despite the tragic romance of it all, there are crazy side characters in every episode and hilarity ensues.



Pushing Daisies had only two short, beautiful seasons. The first season was the year of the writer's strike, so it didn't return in the Spring after the strike was over. This was the case for other first season series' as well, and it did not bode well for most of them. Daisies quickly gathered an adoring cult following and was picked up for a second season, but only a 13 episode one and then not picked up for a third. Who knows all of the reasons, one of them is that the show is particularly expensive to make and with the way things are, (blah blah blah, economy, blah blah blah), the network wasn't willing to take the risk for a show that hadn't been on long enough to gain big viewing numbers. Obnoxiously, the last three episodes of the second season weren't even aired during the normal season time, and have just barely been on these past three weeks (Saturday nights at 9pm, ugh). On the one hand it is very nice to have Daisies back, if only briefly, but on the other, it just reminds me how much I adore and miss it.


It's a little bit Big Fish, a little bit Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a little bit Tim Burtonesque and a lot bit charming and quirky wonderfulness. It is sweet and romantic and funnily morbid and it is oh so colorful and original and so well acted, and Miss Charlotte Charles, aka Chuck, I would die for your wardrobe. It's almost even more fun to watch the episodes a second time because the narrative is so funny and witty and clever that you are bound to pick up on something you missed the first time around. Examples:

The Great Hermann: (to Ned) Hello! Excuse me, excuse me. I feel I should hug you. Can I give you a big hug? I'm already hugging you, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Olive: I want a hug!
The Great Hermann: I'm not made of hugs.

Olive: Can I ask you a question? If you loved me....
Alfredo: Yes?
Olive: And we could never, ever, ever touch. Wouldn't you eventually get over it and move on letting someone else have the slightest hope that you might move on to them?
Alfredo: If I loved you?
Olive: Yeah.
Alfredo: Then I would love you in any way I could. And if we could not touch, then I would draw strength from your beauty. And if I went blind, then I would fill my soul with the sound of your voice and the contents of your thoughts until the last spark of my love for you lit the shabby darkness of my dying mind.
Olive: Eh, forget it.

Olive: No, no. Five fingers. Five toes. Us Snooks are boring that way. I had a cousin with a third nipple. He'd let you see it for a dollar.
Vivian: How fascinating.
Lily: And a bargain, too.

Olive: Here comes the center of the universe, pulling us all into her gravitational orbit of blame.
Chuck: Oh, well, FYI, um, there is no center of the universe because our universe is forever expanding.
Olive: Like your neediness. "Wah, respect my feelings. Wah, don't fence me in. Wah, don't treat me like I'm dead." Well, if you're so dead, how can you be needy? Oh right... you're selfish!

Ned: You're the only one for me.
Chuck: I know you feel that now, but there are things you want, there's things we both want.
Ned: So? Everyone wants stuff. We wake up everyday with a list of wishes a mile long and maybe we spend our lives trying to make those wishes come true, but just because we want them doesn't mean we need them to be happy.
Chuck: What do you need to be happy?
Ned: You.


Whimsical, that's what it is. Like a storybook brought to life. It even has a British narrator, Mr. Jim Dale who so perfectly created the world and characters of Harry Potter on audio book. Sigh. Daisies I love you. Daisies, my missing you is as bittersweet as your main characters' love story. Daisies, you will be remembered fondly. Particularly since I can re-watch you whenever I want since I own Season One on DVD and have already pre-ordered Season Two which comes out this July ;) Though you didn't quite have time to give us the ultimate closure I would have liked, I'm going to go ahead and believe you got your happily ever after.

Chuck: I can’t even hug you? What if you need a hug? A hug can turn your day around.
Ned: I’m not a big fan of the hug.
Chuck: Then you haven’t been hugged properly. It’s like an emotional Heimlich. Someone puts their arms around you and they give you a squeeze and all your fear and anxiety come shooting out of your mouth in a big wet wad and you can breath again.

3 comments:

Elisabeth (and Tyler) said...

If you end up getting her wardrobe, want to split it? It's my favorite too.

emily said...

Is it embarrassing that even just READING about Pushing Daisies makes me all swoony?

Also, how do you feel about a three-way split?

Hayley Cathrine said...

Hmmmm, I suppose I could share. Her wardrobe is, after all, too fabulous for just one person to enjoy. I think we should start by raiding Zooey Deschanel's closet. She seems like the closest thing to a real live Chuck.