Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pushing Daisies, "Kerplunk": Cleaning up on the way out

So, thoughts on the "Pushing Daisies" finale? Do you think that the combination of Jim Dale, stock footage and computer animation were enough to give the show proper closure under the circumstances?

29 comments:

Tim Windsor said...

I'd have preferred a downloadable podcast of Dale spinning out the yarn for a half-hour or so, but at least there was some attempt at closure.

On the whole, I'd much rather have this last ep, than not. So, who's complaining?

Do you have any indication from the creators how this season was supposed to have ended, had it been renewed. The same greet at the door, but with more ambivalent reaction shots from the Aunts? No greet at the door at all, but some kind of engineered near-miss?

Karen said...

It felt rushed at the end, but count me as one of those who was happy to have it. We'll miss this show something fierce - I can't think of any other show that makes me concentrate so hard to keep up with the (clever) dialogue while at the same time being such a treat for the eyes. And it was an extra treat to see Wilson Cruz. As I've said before, for me it was never about the plot, so the fact that they brought things to a kind of end (or beginning, as the wonderful Jim Dale said) - nice, but for me not the important thing.

Tim Windsor said...

And, to echo Karen, I'd often find myself puzzling out a relationship or "who knows what?", then just realize I cared much, much less about the arc of the story, than I did about the details and snappy writing of each individual episode.

Very sorry to see it go, but I don't feel cheated in any way out of The Big Story in the same way I would be if, say, Lost got canceled, and had to wrap it all up in a 5-minute postscript.

ithor6 said...

I enjoyed the fly around Papen County seeing the landmarks from past episodes, but besides that I did not like it at all. Way too rushed and some bad CGI (notably the bag in Randy's hand). I feel like I would have preferred the door opening and the aunts being shocked, and we let our imaginations finish the story.

MyFawny said...

Loved having a wrap up. No it wasn't perfect, but at least when I watch my dvds, and there better be a boxed set, it will feel like a complete story.

filmcricket said...

Better to have it than not. I felt bad for Friel that she spent so little time onscreen in the final episode, but I've been wanting them to tell the aunts about Ned's power since the first season, so I'm glad they managed to squeeze that in.

Alan, if you ever interview Bryan Fuller, can you please, please ask him why Lily, Vivian and Charles all had the same last name? It's the only unresolved question that's really going to bug me.

Karen said...

filmcricket, the Husband and I were having that moment of "Wait a minute? They're all called Charles... huh?" last night as well. I'm not sure if we somehow never noticed it before or what, but we're confused about it too!

LA said...

It was certainly better than no closure at all.

And you gotta love that they ended it with a final shot of Digby running happily through the Daisies. That was very sweet.

So was Josh Hopkins' character supposed to be a parody of Spencer Pratt?

nutmeag said...

Haha, I had the last name question too. I'd never noticed it before. Have they never given the aunts' name before, or are we all just late to the game?

Myles said...

As far as the ending goes, I think it works well enough: resolving the issues of Chuck being unable to see her aunts gets rid of the most prohibitive of the show's conflicts (sure, Ned and Chuck can't touch, but at least they can speak to one another) which allows you to imagine the show continuing much as it is. Olive's final salvo made a bit less sense, and Emerson's was too simple, but we can't expect as much resolution for them.

Otherwise, as I wrote in my lengthy review, I thought the episode captured enough of the whimsy (An aquacade could only exist in this universe), enough of the humour (Olive's gymnastics, etc.) and enough of the drama (In a perfect world, Kurtz would be an emmy contender with an episode like this one) to capture what made the show so unique.

It just needed more Digby and a musical number.

radiomd said...

If they'd had a little more notice of the cancellation they could have wrapped things up by killing off the diffident piemaker and bringing in his previously unknown lookalike brother, a forceful exterminator also played by Lee Pace, to clean up all of Papen County. Cameo appearance by James Garner.

But as it was, the wrap-up was a nice gesture, a fitting year-and-a-half birthday present.

Bitsy said...

I really liked the way they ended it, but yeah, sadly there are a lot of loose ends. Like Chuck's undead father running around somewhere wrapped up like a mummy, and not to mention Ned's father, who we've been waiting to hear from for a full season. Does anyone know what the cliffhanger was supposed to be?

BigTed said...

I thought the episode itself was one of the better ones in terms of the whimsical setting... and the effect of the shark swallowing Nora Dunn actually made me laugh out loud.

But the ending really was quite abrupt. And I couldn't help thinking that if you're going to present older, eccentric ladies with a deceased love one, you'd want to give them a little warning first rather than just having her show up at the front door.

Mac said...

Yeah, I always thought that the aunts' last name was Darling. Also ask if (as I suspect) Ned's full name is Edward Edwards.

Jennifer said...

Yeah, I think his last name has to be Edwards too. And the aunts's last name being Darling would match better.

Frankly, I think they did the best that they could to wrap things up, given the situation. And I'm glad they did it rather than Bryan Fuller being all "fuck you, networks, I'm deliberately cliffhanging!" the way some other showrunners have done. Yeah, swooping around the city and recycling some footage isn't the most exciting thing to watch, but I liked being told that eventually Emerson did have his daughter come back and Olive did move on and the aunts got their kid back. (Ned and Chuck are too complicated to resolve well, ever, but I'm happy the cliffhanger wasn't them breaking up, as I figured it would be.)

I loved Jim Dale's last line about endings.

Some people on the show board on Ravelry were bitching at great length about how they were so! mad! that everything wrapped up so fast, and I was all, "WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?" Show's OVER, gone, done, never to return. This is ALL the closure we are ever going to get for these folks on film, and not everyone's gonna read the comic book if/when it comes out. (Or be able to find it, since I have yet to find a comic store carrying the Farscape post-show comics either.) So, really, this was the best they could do. I'll miss the gang, though.

Loren said...

I really liked the way they ended it, but yeah, sadly there are a lot of loose ends. Like Chuck's undead father running around somewhere wrapped up like a mummy, and not to mention Ned's father, who we've been waiting to hear from for a full season.

These plot threads (plus the one about the pocketwatches) will be resolved in the Pushing Daisies comic book that's coming in the fall.

And here is a Bryan Fuller interview where he talks more about what would have happened in the back nine episodes of the season, and what presumably will be touched on in the comic.

scott said...

after the first new episode, i forgot about the last two. i think it would be a cool idea if they packaged the comic book with the season 2 dvd.

Tracey said...

Thanks for the links, Loren!

To me, the ending didn't feel rushed; it felt like the end of American Graffiti or Animal House, where they just sort of give you a brief, "here's where they are now" moment. It was nice to be told where these characters' stories end up; I've lost too many series where you don't know what happens to the characters.

I'm glad that they finally told the aunts. The aunts not knowing was occasionally a useful plot point, but now that there is no need for future plots, there is no reason not to tell them.

Fun to see Wendie Malick and Nora Dunn as the rival synchronized swimming sisters. Loved Wendie in Just Shoot Me, and of course Nora on SNL. And I loved the use of the shark-bite effect as a scene ender. They had such amusing transitions to commercial on this show. Also got a kick out of the guy who lost his best friend: his shark. Same guy played the high school science teacher who turned out to be not an escaped soul on one of the last eps of Reaper. And I will never complain about the performance of the National Anthem at Phillies games after the one in this episode!

Toby O'B said...

Liked the "Nichols" reference, radiomd. That was the only episode I missed when that show aired; seeing it is now my holy grail.

Sure the ending was abrupt and off-kilter, but so was a lot of the show. And it had that pop-up book feel as it rushed through the sites of Papen County. And great to see a tip of the hat to Paul Ruebens' character down in the sewers.

But I was hoping it would end with us actually seeing Jim Dale finally as the Story-Teller, perhaps even closing that big pop-up book about these characters. Oh well... no.

And I hope there will be a combined boxed set of both seasons. It just feels right to that route.

JD said...

Wilson Cruz has definitely buffed up since his My So Called Life days.

Ignoring the awkward/rushed final montage, the final episode was totally enjoyable. The last three episodes did very well in showcasing one or two of the secondary characters that often got short shrift to the Ned/Chuck romance and I thought Kerplunk was the best of the 3.

It's a shame the show is over, but it was a great ride. I doubt anything this quirky will ever be on a network show again though.

Tracey said...

@Toby: Actually, Amazon has a combined first and second season available for pre-order, but it kind of looks like it's just the first season box and the second season box, sold in one package for ... um... 1 cent more than buying them separately!

R.A. Porter said...

I thought it was a good ending all things considered. This was always a show about happy beginnings, not bittersweet endings, so I'm happy they were able to cram in he flyover and Dale voiceover. My only real complaint is not really anyone's fault: I didn't think Randy was a good substitute for Alfredo, but I assume Raúl Esparza had a scheduling conflict and couldn't make it back for season 2.

As for the episode itself, the Aquacade is probably my favorite setting the show's ever used and they've had some great ones. I laughed out loud when Nora Dunn got chomped and loved seeing Joey Slotnik. He doesn't get nearly enough work.

Jennifer said...

R.A., I'd agree with you on Randy, but yeah, they couldn't get Raul Esparza back the way they planned.

Sigh. Whatever, I guess. I'm not a fan of David Arquette, but he wasn't too bad in this.

Loren said...

"Alan, if you ever interview Bryan Fuller, can you please, please ask him why Lily, Vivian and Charles all had the same last name? It's the only unresolved question that's really going to bug me."

I'd forgotten, but apparently this was answered back in "Bad Habits."

When Charles Charles was in his 20s, his dad married Lily and Vivian's mom. His dad adopted Lily and Vivian, and they took the Charles surname. Then Charles Charles developed romantic entaglements with his step-sisters.

Personally, I'd like Fuller to explain the distance between the Pie-Hole's town and Coeur d'Coeurs. They were often treated as being fairly close together, what with Olive making regular pie deliveries, the aunts occasionally dropping by the shop, and even in the last episode, Olive running their fur-coat errand and Lily reading the Papen County Picayune...

...and yet in "The Norwegians," it was specifically stated that Coeur d'Coeurs was located 131 miles south of the Pie Hole's town. That's a 2-hour drive, each way.

It's the same mistake they made in Smallville, where they established on multiple occasions that Metropolis was the cities were 3 hours apart, and then had characters commute between the towns like they were making coffee runs.

MizRacy said...

RT Loren:

Maybe they travel faster than normal in TV Land. It's the only "logicial" explanation I can come up with.

As for Fuller's ending, I was content with having a bit of a wrap-up with the main story lines.

I just wondering if Ned and Chuck can ever have kids? Would invetro kill her, too? Or is Ned's power simply on his skin?

dez said...

And you gotta love that they ended it with a final shot of Digby running happily through the Daisies. That was very sweet.


I was missing Digby, so it was nice to see him. Too bad he can't borrow Dug's collar and tell us what he's thinking :-)

Also wish we could have seen Ned's brothers one more time. Will they be in the comic?

JackiWhitford said...

Well that was the most rushed ending ever, but I am glad we have some closure and the comics books on their way. I am grateful for every Pushing Daisies episode we have on DVD and ITUNES. Creative shows like this are far and in between.

Nicole said...

I could have done without the entire swimming rivalry plot and just had the episode focus on our characters - Ned's recent draw to Olive after last week was totally unaddressed, more on Emerson's reuniting with his daughter, etc. Plus, I really wanted Ned to lose his power so the series could end with a big smooch between Ned & Chuck.

Ian said...

This is definitely my favourite show in the world, but y'all must know that this wasn't really supposed to be the last episode. The reason it felt rushed at the end was, originally, there was going to be two more episodes, but they were condensed into a reshuffled final ten minutes. I posted about Pushing Daisies a lot on my blog, newcount.blogspot.com