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Monday, June 1, 2009

The Televangelist: 'Pushing Daisies' episode 11

click to enlarge PLEASE: Only speak in declaratives and affirmative adverbs
  • PLEASE: Only speak in declaratives and affirmative adverbs

"Pushing Daisies" is about a man who can bring the dead back to life with one touch, but only for a minute or someone else dies. He needs only to touch them a second time to send them into eternal rest ... permanently. It's fitting, perhaps, that ABC's chosen to resurrect the show from cancellation to air the remaining three episodes of season two, but without hope of complete revival.  Coincidental again is the choice of timing for the episodes — the middle of summer, Saturday night ... graveyard shift (10 p.m.).

ABC has been much criticized for canceling the interesting and promising show before its time, though as I went through my own "Daisy" retread over the last several weeks, I saw a show uncertain of its future starting to lose its way. The murder-of-the-week plots were becoming annoying and distracting B-plots, taking away precious time from our endearing and quirky heroes.

Last we left the precious Piemaker Ned (Lee Pace), his formerly dead girlfriend Lonely Tourist Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel), their private-eye cohort Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), and their Itty Bitty (and occasional chanteuse) Olive Snook (Kristen Chenowith), Ned had given up waking the dead and sleuthing.  He also let slip to Olive that he "didn't always not look at her like he looked at Chuck," causing Olive to immediately start reading the informative tome The Double Negative: What You Shouldn't Not Know.

While poor taxidermist Randy Man (an oddly likable David Arquette) suddenly returns to woo Olive, Olive is distracted by her love for (and from?) Ned. She isn't at all helped with her quandary when her childhood non-kidnappers Buster and Jerry pay a call, fresh from escaping prison. Olive had played out her dreams by writing to the two jailbirds that she and Ned were engaged. Eager to seem normal and help out a friend, Ned played along with the lie, eventually using his superpowers to reanimate a rhino to distract the police from Buster and Jerry's trail. Don't ask, it just happened. It's all part of that crazy Brian Fuller-created world of candy-pop colors and whimsical scores (with a side dish of grotesque core with a waking — for one minute — corpse creatively killed every week).

In other news, the Murder of the Week consisted of a window-dresser named Erin and her ill-fated co-worker Coco. The B-plot appeared to steal its clothes and personalities from another ABC show that seems, in comparison, more deserving of leaving the air ("Ugly Betty"). Despite its predictable ending, the farce played out in a pleasing way. In fact, for a show that I was afraid was losing its touch (pun may or may not be intended), "Window Dressed to Kill" showed "Daisies" in its best form (more Olive) without spending too much time on distractions (murders of strangers) and relationship woes (Chuck wanting to go out on her own, Ned worried about losing her). The twist that the Piemaker may be jealous of other men vying for Olive's affections, however, brings up intriguing possibilities (which I doubt will be answered in the remaining two episodes). Chuck, for all her cuteness and style, has never seemed to deserve Ned's affections nor seems to give too much back. Would it be better for both to maybe (GASP!) split?

Next Week: In a Cod-centric episode, Emerson's Baby Mama returns to hire him. Will he see his daughter again? Stay tuned!

Musings and Miscellanea:

- From EW.com: "Before it got yanked off the air in December, the show had really built up momentum, and promised answers to some of the series' long-standing mysteries (Ned's father, Emerson's daughter, and Vivian finally learning Lily is Chuck's mother, to name a few)."  I wonder how many we'll learn about?  Emerson's daughter perhaps at least. And where's Charlotte's corpse father these days?

- "Aw Ned! You're touching dead things again?" Just not you, Charlotte. For now.

- Oh the giddiness of Olive's fake engagement and kiss with Ned! Followed by a song! The talented Kristen Chenowith's singing is always a treat.

- "Could I interest you in a pocket square mayhaps?" — Dick Dicker of Dicker's Department Store

- "We haven't had this many visitors since our most recent home invasion!" — Vivien. Who can ever get enough of Lily and Vivien?

- "I'm also a Pack Rat of sorts, but with emotions, not so much with things... ." — Queen of Unrequited Love, Olive Snook

- "We are devotees but prefer to be called ... devotees."  — A Devotee of Erin  "... and to a lesser extent ... Coco."

-  Jerry (or was it Buster?) sums up my feelings toward ABC for canceling "Daisies": "Take mad and multiply it by the power of pissed!"

(Photo courtesy ABC)

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