Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pushing Daisies: How much is that doggie with the widows?

Brief spoilers for "Pushing Daisies" coming up just as soon as I pick up a flea and tick collar...

Oh, my sweet lord, the twee-ness! Too much twee-ness!

I really like "Pushing Daisies" overall, and even enjoyed a number of things in this episod -- Emerson's dissertation on Gangsta Love, the freaky "Chuck suit" sex dream, the gang finally figuring out an efficient way to get answers from a corpse and it still getting too complicated -- but good lord was this one precious. When we got to the sequence about all of the bizarre new breeds that Joel McHale was creating, I think I may have gone into sugar shock for a few minutes. Not even expanding Emerson's role and letting him flirt with Wife #3 (or was it 2?) was enough to overcome the cutesiness. Until now, the series has pulled off that tart but sweet balance, but this one was an illustration of how easily things can get too cute for their own good.

At the same time, I'm glad they finally had Ned and Chuck confront the limitations of their relationship -- and had Ned and Olive confront her crush on him -- even though it's not something that can really be solved anytime soon. What's interesting and occasionally frustrating about Ned is what a hangdog, passive character he is, always getting pulled along through life by other people like Emerson and Chuck. You don't usually see that in the protagonist of an ongoing series, which makes it refreshing, but I certainly hope that part of the long-range plan of the series involves Ned growing up (or manning up, if you prefer) and taking control of his own life and this weird gift/curse that he has. Lee Pace is charming, but I think the dumbsquizzled expression is going to get old after a while.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Honestly, this show has gotten old for me - not as old as "Reaper" got to a point where I cut the show alltogether from my schedule, but I am heading in that direction with "Pushing Daisies".

Honestly, it's really nothing the show is actually doing wrong per say - the acting, writing, set designs, storytelling - all very strong.

I just don't think my brain can do "whimsical" every week.

I would have enjoyed this more as a film or a miniseries.

Anonymous said...

This was the first time I didn't think this episode was super-duper brilliant. It had very good moments, and some great lines...especially the 'razor hidden in her weave.' But the mystery was confusing?! Too many wives to keep track of. I was lost a lot of the time about who was doing what and who had what motive.

I also thought, at first, these were all secret extra wives...but then he was a polygamist?? And they all knew about each other?? I just thought that was a little weird.

Oh, the biggest laugh besides the razor line was Olive's undercover name being 'Pimento.'

Still the more original tv show out there, and I still love it...this was just probably a weaker episode for me.

Anonymous said...

I had the opposite reaction, I guess, because I loved this episode. Maybe because I know some dog breeders, so none of this seemed extra-weird to me :-)

Emerson was freakin' hysterical, the wives (and dogs) were great, and I loved Olive's glee when Chuck told her she was "allergic" to Ned and that's why they don't touch. Plus Digby hiding in the box during the Child-Ned flashback was the right amount of cute.

David J. Loehr said...

I can't see the series for the twees.

Yeah, probably should've resisted that one.

Anyway. I was worried over the summer, and after last night, that worry is still there. I do enjoy the show, and it's doing something special and different and, dare I say, precious in every meaning of the word. But I watch "Chuck" on Monday night, after it's Tivo'd, and I let "Daisies" stack up because I dread the twee.

That said, I've got to thank you for the word dumbsquizzled. I just hope my wife doesn't get sick of it. (She'll probably adopt it, too. She's a college librarian...)

Anonymous said...

I just tried looking up dumbsquizzled on and it said, "Did you mean ambisexual?"

I'm glad you didn't resist, David. The joke was cute, like the show :-)

Anonymous said...

Actually, Digby's multiple roles in this episode were my favorite part. That dog is one of the better actors on TVs these days....

Anonymous said...

I loved it, and I've gone from watching two to three days later on the DVR to watching it on the same night because I want to see it so much.

Even especially high levels of preciousness don't bother me, although I will admit that this is probably the only one of my favorite shows that would work better as weekly viewing instead of a DVD binge. My only complaint was something Alan has pointed out before, that the narration doesn't work when it unnecessarily discusses emotional facets of the characters that the show is conveying in other ways, something that is still happening (with Olive, especially, for some reason). Although I'm thinking of adopting "The facts were these:" as a new catchphrase.

As for this week's episode, I loved the dog breeding polygamists and the parallels of the number four. I also liked that each one of the gang visited an appropriate wife for their character, something that ended up compromising Chuck and Emerson (although Chuck turned out to be right in the end).

I do like that Ned is different from most protagonists and while I hope that he eventually takes charge, it's not something that has to happen right away. I think it's a better approach than Chuck (male Chuck on the eponymous NBC show), who is treated as a more conventional hero when he isn't supposed to be. If anyone needs to grow right now, it's probably Chuck (this show's female Chuck), who so far hasn't expanded as much beyond what we saw in the pilot.

As for guest stars, IMDB stinks with current television shows, so this blog is a valuable resource for identifying them! Especially when it takes me so long to recognize Joel McHale. None of the wives looked familiar, but I was sure Snuffy had just been on Heroes as the future bureaucrat, among many other guest roles.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to post again, but I can't believe I forgot Emerson's Vertigo-inspired dream sequence! How ridiculously awesome was that?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it stood out because she was one of four (pseudo-Mormon?) wives, but it was really noticeable that the producers felt they needed to bring on an African-American guest actress in order for Emerson to have someone to flirt with.

Anonymous said...

At a certain point in this episode, I had to turn on the closed captions. The method by which the actors deliver their lines is not new but last night it made my head spin. The cadence mixed with the peculaiar word choice/combos mixed with the occasional British accent was just too much for the average person to comprehend.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the preciousness (sorry, I refuse to use the "t" word) doesn't bother me that much. I would feel differently if there were a dozen shows like this floating around, but for now at least, this is unique and makes a nice change from the more cynical, realistic, and/or squirm-inducing programing out there. Variety is the spice of life.

Abbie said...

Actually, bigted, many network shows seem to go with interracial dating instead of pairing up black men with black women, or Latino men with Latina women. That's just been my observation.

RandomRanter said...

I liked that they moved forward on working out the triangle a bit, because I was getting tired of it and yet expected than normally in TVland that takes a season or so. I was multi-tasking but was not overly bothered by the plotline. I did notice some bits where the narrator went back to stating the obvious.
As to the Emerson flirting, I found it less obvious because the way they split up the wives, she was the wife he had the most exposure to.

Anonymous said...

You know, this was probably the weakest episode of Pushing Daisies to date, but I still think it's a hell of a lot better than Private Practice and about a dozen other shows.

I'm glad they've made Olive more sympathetic because I think she and Emerson are stealing the show every week.

Anonymous said...

The twee-ness just doesn't bother me, I guess. I love the patter and the Roald Dahl-ness of it all.

You're right about Ned, though. At this point, I think I like him most for being Aaron Tyler. Still, I think he provides a wonderful sense of normalcy that helps draw the viewer in when compared to Olive and Emerson (who kill me in almost every scene) and to a lesser degree Chuck.

And while I realize they can't really talk about it on TV, I hope those kids are having phone or cyber or, er, oral (but not that kind) sex or something while they're lying in bed next to each other.

David J. Loehr said...

And while I realize they can't really talk about it on TV, I hope those kids are having phone or cyber or, er, oral (but not that kind) sex or something while they're lying in bed next to each other.

Don't you mean aural sex?

Of course, what's a four letter word for intercourse? Talk.

Anonymous said...

Number Five,

The actor is Mark Haelik, though IMDB doesn't acknowledge that yet.


Anonymous said...

Thank you sir! I enjoyed seeing him in a change of pace, more outlandish role as Snuffy.