Pushing Daisies: Ned and Chuck
A bitter-sweet moment came in the mail for many “Pushing Daisies” fans as their pre-ordered copies of the second, and final, season of the Emmy award winning television series arrived this past week. I certainly hope that a movie comes along, since there is much more to be said in the world of “Daisies.” There may be graphic novels in the fall, but as much as I would treasure those, it is not the right format for this truly cinematic show. The fast and literary dialog has a special quality when performed by the cast and the look of the show can’t be captured in another medium.
The world of “Daisies” is a fantasy about a pie-maker, but it is more that that. It is a contemporary fairytale that, not surprisingly, reminds one of films such as the French film “Amelie,” that use vivid and highly saturated colors and creative camera and editing techniques. The shot construction often mirrors classic Hollywood (including many references to Alfred Hitchcock and even “The Sound of Music”). It is a fantastic hard-boiled murder mystery combined with the film “Big Fish” on the small screen…and then some. The sets and props are brilliant examples of pure imagination explosion. When Brian Fuller (creator and executive producer) and his crew put something together they go all out.
Pushing Daisies cast in The Pie Hole
The facts are these…
“Pushing Daisies” is the story of a pie-maker named Ned (Lee Pace) who owns a pie shop (The Piehole). Ned can wake the dead with his touch, but only for a minute. If he doesn’t touch the dead thing (or person) again in that minute another must die in its place. He may never touch a once dead thing a second time or they will die for good. Ned has teamed up with private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), “a man named for a poet and a fish,” (ep. 6, s. 2) to solve the murders of the dead by waking them up and asking who killed them. Then everything changes when lonely tourist Charlotte Charles (Anna Friel) is the victim. Charlotte (or “Chuck”) is Ned’s childhood sweetheart so he hasn’t the heart to redead her. But the lovebirds can’t touch or she will die, this time forever. Toss into the mix Olive Snook (Kristen Chenoweth), a feisty waitress at The Piehole and you have a bizarre love triangle. In addition to these colorful characters add Chuck’s aunts Lily Charles (Swoosie Kurtz) and Vivian Charles (Ellen Greene), the former synchronized sister swimming act, The Darling Mermaid Darlings. And let us not forget Digby, the once dead dog, and later the pig — aptly named Pigby.
Pushing Daisies: from the episode Dummy about the Dandelion Car Company
Every episode features bizarre and hilarious deaths and scenarios. Season one features such gems as windmills and a bird with a Bedazzled wing (ep. 4), a scratch and sniff book that kills (ep. 7), and (possibly my favorite) the Dandelion Car Company (ep. 2). Season two offers up more fun with a friend-renting service (episode introduces David Arquette as a taxidermist and love interest, ep. 4), widows making death dioramas (with glitter, ep. 9), and a deep fried murder of chef Colonel Likkin (ep. 8).
Also, the series has a great soundtrack. Olive (Kristen Chenoweth) breaks into song a few times in the series, adding another special layer of surrealism to the show (Ellen Greene who plays aunt Vivian also gets in on the fun a couple times). Sadly the soundtrack, which came out prior to season two, does not include Chenoweth’s ballad from Comfort Food which is hilarious (ep. 8, s. 2). However, it does include the three songs sung in season one and the fantastic score composed by James Dooley.
Episodes are narrated by Jim Dale (a voice recognizable to fans of “Harry Potter”) which gives an extra special touch, like a story being read aloud. Episodes flashback to the characters’ childhoods. Ned is a lonely boy left at boarding school. Chuck keeps bees as a hobby. Emerson Cod is, as always, a modern day Marlow (the kid cast for Emerson is especially spot on). Olive is kidnapped as a child. And Lily and Vivian become the Darling Mermaid Darlings, forever strengthening their sisterly bond.
While the season finale wraps up the story as well as it could, it also says that it is not the end, but rather a beginning. As a huge fan of “Daisies” I sure hope that is true. I know that there is a lot more story to tell. However, as much as I look forward to the rumored comics, this story is meant to be told on screen.