Spoilers for, in order, "Pushing Daisies," "Private Practice," "Dirty Sexy Money" and "American's Next Top Model" coming up just as soon as I hold my breath until I turn blue...
Wow. If the "Pushing Daisies" pilot bordered on too twee, I'm not even sure what adjective can capture episode two, which featured Chi McBride knitting himself some gun cozies, Kristen Chenoweth rocking out to "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and, oh yeah, a car that runs on dandelions. I never fell for Bryan Fuller's previous shows because they always seemed too hopelessly devoted to their own selves. The first "Pushing Daisies" episode somehow avoided that trap, but this one was perilously close.
On the plus side, it still looked amazing, and I'd be tempted to tune in every week just for that... except that, according to those LA Times stories, this was the last episode made before Warner Bros. tightened the budget and banned Barry Sonnenfeld from directing. How many weeks before we get a bottle show where all the regulars are locked in the Pie Hole for an hour?
Also on the plus side, Jim Dale narrating Young Ned's misadventures in prep school. If JK Rowling isn't going to give us an eighth Harry Potter book for Dale to read aloud, this may be the closest we'll get.
I want to see what a regular episode of this show looks like before I decide whether the sugar shock factor is too high to bother with.
If I didn't know that ABC was showing the early "Private Practice" episodes out of order, and that Shonda had gone back and rewritten some of the scenes from the premiere to make Addison seem tougher, I'd be heading for the hills, because the Addison in this episode (originally planned as the second) was the same dishrag little girl that she was back in that heinous backdoor pilot. And since the other characters -- save Cooper and maybe Violet (if the writers can ever free her of stalking her ex) -- are complete personality vacuums, Addison's really the only reason I'm watching. Fix her in a hurry, or else. So far, all three regular episodes have been largely carried by the guest stars (the crazy lady on the floor and the store manager, the two moms and the Thirtysomething Virgin), and that's just not enough to sustain a following long-term.
"Dirty Sexy Money" continues to be a good low nutritional content treat, with a red carpet catfight (and Juliet foolishly letting the press in on the lame origin of her feud), many entrances by "Rebecca Colfax, Darling family publicist," much talk of a very special sexual position involving banking, the very funny montage of Nick interrogating the Darling kids, bad Australian accents and some intrigue involving the still-unseen Blair Underwood as Simon Elder. And yet, as is true of the entire Berlanti ouevre, the show is able to turn off the silly switch when needed and present some genuine emotion, in this case revealing how much Patrick loves Carmelita (who, unlike her counterpart on "Big Shots," doesn't seem to be a hooker) and vice versa. Easy joke in the pilot, kinda moving in episode three. Not bad.
Finally, a question for the more hardcore "America's Next Top Model" fans: did this show so blatantly telegraph its exits back in the days before the writers (or story editors, or whatever you want to call them) first started fighting with management over salary and unfair treatment? Because this is three weeks in a row, I think, where the first girl to give a talking head has gone home. Within the first two minutes, I knew the bottom two would include Victoria and Saleisha (though Jenah's meltdown during the photo shoot briefly had me doubting myself). My wife's on Team Heather, and was worried when they made her dress up like a weed (but not, sadly, a dandelion), but I told her, "Don't worry. She's had almost no screen time this episode. She's not going anywhere." "Amazing Race" and, when I still watch it, "Survivor," seem just as blatant in telling you who's about to lose. Have all the reality competition shows gotten worse at this, or have we all just watched so much that we can recognize all the old tricks?
What did everybody else think?