Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pushing Daisies, "Bzzzzzzzzz!": Do bears bear? Do bees bee?

Spoilers for the "Pushing Daisies" season two premiere coming up just as soon as I shoot some truth buckshot out of my muzzle...

I don't know that I have a lot to add to what I had to say in this morning's column -- click through and read it, I'll wait -- and so I'm just going to bullet point some of the things that made me smile especially broadly and then open it up for you to twist your tongues around all that talk about sabotaging Betty's Bees:

• Chuck dumping the dead bees onto Ned to bring them back to life (while simultaneously solving the water bug infestation problem) looked as nifty as I'm sure they hoped it would be.

• The gag about Emerson's self-authored pop-up book, "Lil' Gum Shoe," started off as a cute call-back to his interest in both pop-up books and knitting from last year, and turned poignant at the end with the reference to his missing daughter. Nice.

• I had no idea that was Autumn Reeser (formerly The Woman Who Saved "The O.C.," soon to be one of the stars of the CW's low-budget "Valentine") under all that bee sting make-up, which, combined with the bees shooting out of her mouth, made for one of the grosser corpse effects they've ever done.

• "Ain't no bees walking around in people shapes. Kentucky was wiggity wiggity whacked!"

• Olive's scream reaching dog octaves, leading into her rant about being a sawed-off shotgun full of secrets, which in turn led to the brief "Sound of Music" spoof on the mountain top.

• "If you can't hold it, you take your ass to the men's room and cry in private at the toilet -- like a man!"

• Pigby the Pig!

• I really liked the way Lee Pace carried himself in the scene where Chuck first starts talking about moving into Olive's apartment, and not just in the moment where they suggest Chuck caught him failing to be the master of his domain. The whole business with him stuffing his hands in his pockets and swirling his feet on the floor reminded me of something Neil Patrick Harris would do (which is among the higher compliments I can pay someone on this blog).

My only real objection -- other than to suggest that a show this proudly weird probably could have saved Missi Pyle for an episode where she'd have more to do -- is that Aunt Lily's story about being Chuck's mom confuses me. So Chuck believes her mother (whom she's apparently never seen pictures of) died in childbirth; are Lily and Vivia supposed to be her sisters? Sisters to Chuck's late father? And if Vivian doesn't know Lily is Chuck's mom, why does she think that either of them are Chuck's aunts? If Vivian knew the truth, it'd make slightly more sense, but I haven't had this much trouble diagramming a family tree since Julie Cooper and Caleb Nichol got hitched on "The O.C." while Ryan and Marissa were still dating.

And before I make a third "O.C." reference, it's time for me to ask: what did everybody else think?

21 comments:

Myles said...

I smiled way too much: while I thought the exposition at the start of the episode was a bit too intense, loved the touches of the Canine Alarm and the bell-covered slippers (and the later callback in terms of walking in on Ned during a more private moment due to a lack of slippers).

As for the whole family tree issue, I'm also confused...but I was admittedly too encapsulated with the confectionary nature of the whole show that I didn't quite so much notice.

Toby said...

With a cast of this size with so much they each have to juggle in terms of the plot, I think Missi Pyle got more screen time in this episode than many of the guest stars from last season, save for the recurring characters.

With 20/20 hindsight, maybe she should have played Dilly Balsam of the Taffy shop. That way they could have brought that character back sooner and more often. But now, they'll have to wait for Molly Shannon if/when 'Kath & Kim' gets canceled.....

I'm hoping someday Jim Dale actually gets some face time in the series as a character.

So said...

I thought the last episode before the writer's strike had Chuck running away from Ned because she found out he was "responsible" for killing her dad. Did I miss something? Am I going crazy?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was the second to last episode. They were reconcilled in the next. Or even, maybe, the end of that one. Which one ended with them at her father's grave?

Anyway. Great that the show is back, my favorite from last year's new ones. But the part that made me grin the most was the temp agency Ned spoke of. Happy Times, the Dead Like Me temp agency. I wonder if George was working that day...

Synnerman said...

My impression is that the father who died is actually her uncle (brother to Lily and Vivian), who probably knew Lily's secret and took possession of his niece to help her out. The real father is still out there for future storylines.

LA said...

synnerman - No doubt, you're right.

Olive in a convent as Maria is fantastic!

chris w said...

My biggest audible laugh came when after Ned explained how he got to be the secretary, Emerson screams to the tape recorder, "He's stalking you!"

Anonymous said...

The actor dog who plays Digby also participated in Dead Like Me.

Anonymous said...

I liked the summary because it had been so long since I'd seen the show. It was enjoyable to an old-timer like me and would help any new folks to get up to speed.

I want a Digby alarm.

R.A. Porter said...

So happy!

I liked that Missi Pyle and French Stewart were both less BIG than they usually are (but still big enough to fit right in) but think they both should have gotten bigger guest roles. They do fit in this universe so well, it's a shame to be one and done with them.

Jacob said...

I just loved that all the Bee Girls had beehives.

Amy said...

@Synnerman I like your idea of the father who raised Chuck taking in the baby from his sister. That is a far easier and more Pushing Daisies-esque explanation than what I had come up with in my head.

I am so happy this show is back. In a stressed / anxious mood yesterday I suddenly remembered I had PD to look forward to and things really started to look up!

Bobman said...

Re : the family tree. I assumed the "mom" was sister to the aunts, and that Lily had an affair with "mom's" husband / Chuck's father.... but now that I think of it, it's not like she could have hidden the pregnancy from everyone, so everyone should know (although Vivian is pretty stupid). And why would the father lie, since he'd also know (obviously)? And how did the fake mom, if she even existed, actually die?

So yeah, I wish I had just left it written off in my head because it made sense until I thought about it.

J said...

The opening bit of exposition was appreciated b/c I was introducing someone to the show who I thought would like it. They did. And I remembered how much I didn't.

I wish I could stand this thing because there are worthy things about it. But in the end I feel like I'm choking on Cute while being clubbed to death with CGI. The show is in love with its dialogue ("Hold that pregnant pause" isn't clever, it's redundant), which is too often handled by the narrator (and often in redundant ways, which makes him feel even more condescending that he already is). The plots are obvious piffle, except -- as noted above -- the overcomplicated personal set-up, which I have zero interest in (it's hard to care about anyone other than Chuck and Piemaker, even though -- robbed of the chance to speak more than three sentences per hour by the narrator -- they basically just get to swoon and pout at each other).

I get that everything -- including the pretentious, faux-clever verbiage -- is really just a tentpole for the pretty pictures (and insecurely so; if the show had real faith in its visuals, it would operate in silence for stretches), but hey, so's the average Hollywood blockbuster. Some things look great, some things look so digital they'd be more at home on a bad made-for-Sci-Fi Channel movie. Last night's show also seemed REALLY orange, even though the commercials and other channels appeared normal; I would've gone and messed with the color bars, but the tangerine obnoxiousness seemed appropos.

Anyway, the person I thought would like it did, as does every other human being but myself. But I loathe this show, more so for occasionally sprinkling in lovely worthwhile things like the bee resurrection.

/rant

amasea said...

My understanding of the family tree is this:
Aunt Lily is Chuck's mother. She became pregnant by her sister's fiance, then took herself off to the convent (she told her sisters she went to Paris to study at a world-class fromagerie) to have Chuck. Something happened to unnamed "chuck's mom" sister, and Chuck's dad, who of course knew he'd been fooling around on "chuck's mom" with Lily, raised Chuck as his daughter, telling her that "chuck's mom" was her mother. He gave Charlotte Charles (Chuck) his wife's surname to honor her. Why Vivian never figured out "chuck's mom" wasn't Chuck's mom is beyond me, but I bet there's a cutesy, punny, slightly sad explanation in there somewhere.
Of course, I could be wrong.

Bonneykate said...

I thought when Lily said Chuck's father was her sister's fiance, I thought she was referring to Vivian. Did I make a wrong assumption?

Melanie said...

amasea, I was with you right up until the theory regarding Chuck's surname. That seems less probable. (I believe "fanwank" is the term?)

DonBoy said...

This is not a new complaint, but: bells or no bells, it's infuriating when Ned and Chuck allow themselves to come within inches of each other; more damagingly, their body language shows absolutely no tension. If the two of them don't really think it's literally vital that the two of them never touch, how can I believe it?

Karl Ruben said...

I'm just so giddy at the show's return - I hope the inevitable cancellation doesn't come before the plot thread regarding Emerson's daughter is spun out.
Alan: your review column on this was one of the best things of yours I've read. Really stellar writing. Thanks!

Tracey said...

Regarding the family tree: yeah, that's been giving me headaches too. The troublesome line in this week's episode was Lily at the convent saying: "Charlotte's father, my lover, was Vivian's fiance." Now, assuming Lily is telling the truth, Chuck's father can't be Lily and Vivian's brother if he was Vivian's fiance! If Lily and Vivian are supposed to be Chuck's biological aunts (as opposed to merely courtesy aunts), they would have to be her mother's sisters. Could there have been a third sister who conveniently died around the time of Chuck's birth? And Chuck's father was fooling around with all three of them? That's the only way I can explain it, unless the "aunts" are just courtesy aunts.

Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling that the writers simply haven't thought this out and are just throwing things out at random.

@Bobman: Yes, it is perfectly possible that a sibling would not know about another sibling's pregnancy. It happened in my family. When my birth mother came home from the maternity shelter after giving me up for adoption, her 16-year-old brother (thinking she had been away at college) asked her if she had "gotten laid yet."

wraith_babe said...

The family tree is simply enough that Vivian and Lily are blood related, and Charles is their step-brother. Vivian and Charles were engaged and when he confessed to cheating and siring a child with another woman, she broke it off. Lily lied and said she was in Paris when she was actually at the nunnery. Chuck's mum was made up, and conviently died in childbirth, so that Vivian wouldn't find out that Lily was the other woman who stole her fiancee.