Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pushing Daisies, "Frescorts": Big Gumshoe

Brief spoilers for last night's "Pushing Daisies" coming up just as soon as I get my taxidermy license...

There were so many things to enjoy in "Frescorts" -- the sound of Jim Dale saying "badass," the bond between Emerson and his awesome mama (played by the great Debra Mooney from "Everwood"), inflating a dead woman's collapsed lung with a bicycle pump, all the duvet double-entendres ("Selfishly, I want to duvet you all night long") -- that I didn't even mind that this was one of the more forgettable mysteries they've done to date.

In general, the actual plot of a "Pushing Daisies" seems to be the very last thing on the writers' minds -- hence wrapping most of them up with Dale's "The facts were these..." monologues -- but there's generally some kind of visually-intoxicating element to compensate for the thin plots. The idea of platonic prostitutes was a clever one, though, and that compensated for the fact that, outside of the expression on Ned's face when he wrapped his arms around the hug-testing machine, there wasn't anything particularly memorable to look at.

Ratings were, once again, lousy. Sigh... Enjoy it while you can, folks.

What did everybody else think?

25 comments:

Bobman said...

Emerson's "My name is blahbity blah, I like to bloopity bloo" was particularly awesome.

If this show doesn't survive (as it most likely won't) I hope Chi McBride's comic genius is properly recognized and utilized elsewhere.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, McBride is one of the funniest men I've ever encountered in Hollywood. It's a shame that he's mostly been cast either in dramas (though he's also a great dramatic actor) or in really bad comedies ("Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer").

Anonymous said...

It was a fantastic episode. I don't understand what's wrong with people... how is it possible that the dreadful Knight Rider is beating this quality show in the ratings??

Jennifer J. said...

And how is Knight Rider beating this show with Val Kilmer's voice as KITT instead of the fabulous Will Arnett? There is no justice in the TV world.

I also liked how Emerson's momma called him 'gummy' and 'my little gumshoe'. Their relationship and the actors chemistry was superb.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I should add, I like how at no point did the show stop to comment -- outside of maybe a double-take by Ned and Chuck that could be explained as them simply responding to meeting a member of Emerson's family -- on the fact that Emerson's mom was white.

Anonymous said...

The flashback was great too. The kid had Emerson Cod down.....

Olive and Chuck in the locker was hilarious, especially when Olive went through the litany involving Chuck and Ned's relationship.

Puff

R.A. Porter said...

Probably the weakest MotW to date, but I didn't care. Debra Mooney was the reason it didn't bother me if TheWife wanted to watch Everwood, and I am tickled that they did the right thing and cast her as Emerson's mom. I cannot think of a better actress for that role.

My only slight complaint this season is that Ned seems to backtrack in each episode. He's okay with Chuck spreading her wings a bit by the end of each episode, but seems all torn up about it by the start of the next. I hope that's not going to continue.

And this was the second week in a row with no sign of Young Ned or Young Chuck. Instead, we've now seen Young Olive and Young Emerson. Brilliant!

More of my thoughts, as always, here.

That First Andrew said...

Was I the only one a little creeped out by Chuck showing up nude to Ned's apartment at the end? While I understand the gesture in the context of their very unusual relationship, their interactions have always been so chaste (by neccessity) that the implication that the two of them have reproductive organs seems out of whack. Plus, the fact that they can't touch makes the whole thing less romantic and more depressing.

Given their limitations, the mere suggestion of sex is tragic.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Was I the only one a little creeped out by Chuck showing up nude to Ned's apartment at the end?

I was actually intrigued by that. There have been some hints in the past that their relationship is not, in fact, so chaste as the fairy tale trappings would imply. This was one of the more overt signs of that.

Tracey said...

Loved this episode, but I think the most poignant moment for me was when they were explaining the fundamental problem underlying the Frescorts idea: that people hired friends so they wouldn't feel like losers with no friends, but the fact that they had to pay people to be their friends only made them feel like even bigger losers.

I also like that they had the Frescorts clients get together at the end for a party... and they didn't suddenly become wonderful happy people. It nicely and humorously avoided the cliches and platitudes. Let's face it, to a large extent lonely people are lonely because they lack social skills, and throwing a bunch of people with no social skills into a room together isn't going to suddenly give them social skills; it's just going to result in the kind of awkwardness we saw there.

Anonymous said...

I loved it. I will be sorry to see this show go, but really, if not for the writer's strike it would have been canceled after episode 4.

Emerson and his mom were adorable.

Willow said...

I love this show, and although a good mystery is a bonus, to me its not central to its success. How can people not like this show?? The scene when Cod goes into the taxidermy bedroom and finds the jar labeled "John" was hilarious. But as you said, the best part was Debra Mooney--thanks for jogging my memory. I looked at her all episode thinking--I know her from somewhere. She was great in every scene.

David J. Loehr said...

Yeah, McBride is one of the funniest men I've ever encountered in Hollywood. It's a shame that he's mostly been cast either in dramas (though he's also a great dramatic actor) or in really bad comedies ("Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer").

I remember watching the debut of The John Larroquette Show--which was smart and frustrating and mildly schizophrenic during its run--and that's the first time I saw Chi McBride. Even then, he was stealing the show.

dez said...

There have been some hints in the past that their relationship is not, in fact, so chaste as the fairy tale trappings would imply. This was one of the more overt signs of that.


Maybe they can borrow the body condoms from the "Naked Gun" movies.

I loved that Emerson's mom was white and it was no big deal. And that they had such a good relationship.

Nicole said...

I'm not going to pretend that I'm Stephen Colbert and say that I don't see colour, but until you mentioned it, I actually hadn't thought about the race difference and took her as the mother once she was introduced that way. Maybe it's the Obama effect.

The duvet dropping was a surprise more because of the family hour it was aired at than what it implies.

filmcricket said...

The most depressing episode they've had this season, but none the less fantastic for that.

The Chuck/Olive locker scene was pivotal, as was Ned deciding Chuck needed to stay with Olive so he could work on being alone and she and Olive could work on their friendship. Both scenes, I hope, will lead to some character growth in the coming episodes (how ever many more there are).

And how is Knight Rider beating this show with Val Kilmer's voice as KITT instead of the fabulous Will Arnett?

Dude. I love me some Will Arnett, and I am not at all defending Knight Rider, but have you seen Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang? Kilmer rules.

neglectarino said...

"This ain't Thermopylae High."

Does it get any better than that?

Juanita's Journal said...

Ratings were, once again, lousy. Sigh... Enjoy it while you can, folks.


Most of the shows returning following the writer's strike have been suffering from bad ratings. A consequence of the strike, I suspect.

LA said...

Ratings were, once again, lousy. Sigh... Enjoy it while you can, folks.

Damnit!

Do they take into account the online views off the ABC website?

daveawayfromhome said...

When the cancelled "Wonderfalls", Fuller went ahead and "finished" the show for DVD sales. Did that work out for him, financially, so that maybe we can expect that if (when) they cancel "Daisies"?

Matt said...

Fox had paid for and agreed to take 13 episodes of "Wonderfalls" and they were all produced before the cancellation order came down because of its status as a midseason replacement. (Fox typically did the "make 13" thing at the time--see also "Firefly.") It looks like 13 episodes have been written for Daisies this season already wiki has the titles.

The question is whether ABC burns them off and where. I'm not sure how close they are to having a midseason show ready to go ("Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas" or "Cupid" would seem logical).

Grunt said...

Two points:

1) I love that sex is a thing here. Ever since Olive said the line about how she used to think "masterbate" meant when you chew your food in the first episode there has been a tacturn acknowledgement that sex in this world absolutely happens and babies do NOT come from cabbage patches. Remember Ned's confession about making love on a bearskin rug? I like the fact that these people have needs and desires. The problem with Ned & Chuck's relationship isn't the sex part, which you can easily do without touching skin to skin, it's the intamacy part. The kissing and the hugging and the cuddling and the absolute care that would need to be taken are all but impossible. On of the things I love about this show is that there is no...'we can't touch and therefore have never fooled around'

My distant hope is that ABC doesn't have anything better to replace this show with and, given the good reviews, orders the back-9 and keeps it around for the season. My second distant hope is that Showtime or HBO pick it up and produce it instead. The realist in me knows this is not likely to happen. (although I did call Studio 60 right a couple of years ago and said NBC would give it the whole season, which it did, even tho' 60 sucked a$$).

gottacook said...

With respect to Emerson's mom, one of the few positive things I recall about Barry Levinson's TOYS (which I had the misfortune to see first-run) was that it presented, without comment, Michael Gambon and LL Cool J as father and son.

A.H. said...

Ned has mentioned earlier this season that he and Chuck has rigged up "devices" which squicked out Emerson, and I took to be a reference to the fact that Ned and Chuck were having some sort of sex life.

The episode was sweet, as usual, but Ned's neediness is starting to grate, and Lee Pace is mugging for the camera way too much. I'd like to see a Ned that didn';t come off as such a simpleton.

Anonymous said...

The dental dam line killed me.