Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pushing Daisies: Sticky situations

So my cable's back up, and thanks to those strike-inducing network websites, I've had a chance to catch up on some of last night's TV, which I'll be working my way through blogging in between viewing the Thursday NBC shows and Cowboys-Packers.

Spoilers for "Pushing Daisies" coming up just as soon as I dust myself for prints...

As someone who watches almost every episode of the shows I like, I'm more sensitive to over-use of formula than some (see my weekly complaints about "Reaper," though I still haven't gotten to see that one), and therefore more excited whenever a show deliberately gets away from that formula.

"Pushing Daisies" hasn't been too married to its formula, but this week's episode still seemed like a deliberate attempt to go off-template -- and a funny one, at that. What seemed like our Murder of the Week (complete with Jim Dale's "The facts were these...") was solved 10 minutes in, apparently never to be dealt with again (only for the Real Doll-loving killer to pop up again in prison), then the episode seemed to shift into a bunch of wacky hijinks between the Pie Ho's and Molly Shannon (ala the "Bar Wars" episodes of "Cheers"), and then we got a second, more important Murder of the Week -- and yet one that, in the end, was solved almost entirely via Jim Dale montage. And just when it seemed as if Ned had decided to put off telling Chuck about her dad so we could have one of those predictable "Why didn't you tell me the truth!" break-up moments around May sweeps, he just blurted out the news at episode's end. Never a dull moment in this one.

It helped to have so many funny bits -- none funnier than Emerson's "I mean, it's a broad generalization, but my guess is an attractive man who makes pies for a living shouldn't even spend a short amount of time in prison," but also including Olive baking a gun-pie, Chuck and Olive as cat burglars (complete with cleavage window for Olive), and another bit of formula undercutting, when Jim Dale said, "Then he considered how being locked in a prison was actually much worse than some silly metaphor about truth."

Don't know how many episodes remain from pre-strike production, but we're probably not going to see any of them till January, which makes Ned's confession a mid-season cliffhanger of sorts.

What did everybody else think?


Jefferson Burns said...

alan, we have one episode left in 2 weeks - episode 9 - and that is the last one from pre-strike. bryan fuller said that some questions will be answered and there will be a cliffhanger with "lots of balls still in the air." he also said that it can be used as a season finale if it need be.

afoglia said...

You forgot the "just some guy" coming into the Pie Hole, Alfredo's dedication of love to Olive (even if her were couldn't touch her and were blind), and, best of all, "The Birds" reference with Molly Shannon's character facing her parents' killers. I don't like Molly Shannon, but her quirkily annoying personality fit in perfectly. Great episode. Best show on TV, new or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The picture of young Chuck in a "Jews for Chesses" t-shirt was the high point for me. I fully support the writers, but it'll still break my damn heart if the strike kills this season.

Anonymous said...

I kind of wished this episode was more in technicolor like some of the earlier episodes of the season were. The candy store would have been awesome saturated.

Nevertheless, it was great fun.

Off topic - Are you watching Dirty Sexy Money? Last night's show was pivotal and delicious, and featured Peter Strauss as Peter Krause's father in flashback scenes. Good times.

Anonymous said...

I loved the nudge and wink reference to The Godfather - Olive's daydream kiss followed by the declaration "I knew it was you Fredo."

dark tyler said...

Emerson's "The truth isn't like a bunch of puppies running around, and you get to pick your favorite." should be given the t-shirt treatment, a la "Bitch, I was in proximity."

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved The Birds reference. I loved it so much that I had to rewind and watch it twice so I could enjoy the full effect again. And the interaction between Olive and Chuck is becoming one of my favorite parts of the show, so their cat burglar stunt was a lot of fun.

K J Gillenwater said...

There must be some adoration by the writers of Hitchcock, since this is the 2nd copycat moment of the show (at least as much as I can remember).

I had to pause in the middle of "The Birds" part because I was laughing so hard. The minute I heard Bodega Bay and saw her in the boat with the Tipi Hedren hair, I was dying. These people are too, too clever!

It was a good departure from the usual murder mystery. I loved it when Ned grabbed under the goo and brought the brother back to life accidentally only to kill him again immediately. Ha, ha, ha!!!!!

Oh, and Sheila. Killling a man with a blow-up doll...what could be crazier?

Anonymous said...

One thing I love about this show is that Emerson and Olive are used in the right amounts so that their funny comments don't become tiresome or overshadow Ned and Chuck. Although I wouldn't mind a little more Emerson (that puppy remark was hilarious)!

But...only one more pre-strike ep that could serve as a season finale? Yipe yipe yipe!

Anonymous said...


There have been three Hitchcock references so far. _The Birds_ in this episode; _Vertigo_ (Emerson's dream) and _Psycho_ (Joel McHale's death) in the dog breeder episode.

Fuller is a Hitchcock fan.


K J Gillenwater said...

"Psycho"? I've seen that movie a billion times. What part are you talking about?

I'm looking forward to a "North by Northwest" reference.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if Ned keeps a cooler full of rotten fruit so he can presumably get it for cheap and then rejuvinate it for his pie filling, there must be a lot of unfortunate fruit somewhere "in the vicinity" paying dearly for Ned's discount. In a way it's kind of like Ned is stealing from his neighbors. Maybe he deserves to be in prison.

Karen said...

Oh, man, I did love this episode. Lots of wonderful lines, plus that crazed "The Birds" homage.

No mention, though, of Mike White as Billy Balsam? I always perk up when I see him. And he was a perfect choice to play Molly Shannon's brother, having written her most recent feature, "Year of the Dog."

Anonymous said...

If Ned can't touch a dead leaf without it turning green, does that mean he's necessarily a vegetarian? Or is even that problematic?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a North by Northwest reference in the episode with the windmills? like someone running away from some kind of swoopy aircraft? or is my Friday evening imagination failing me...?

Anonymous said...

In response to Kalman, he has flowers in the kitchen that die one minute after he rejuvenates the fruit. I seem to remember them being sunflowers, but I could be wrong. And I am sorry, even if he made other people's fruit go bad (which his character never would do), he would not deserve to go to prison for a murder that he did not commit as his comeuppance.

Anonymous said...

I was rolling at Tony 'n' Tina. Kept imagining their wedding, as it were, though I'm wondering if that was just me

Anonymous said...

How come no one mentions the awesome ending with Molly getting revenge?

Anonymous said...

Yes,the missing health inspector
going down into the much was a
nice ending. I loved Molly Shannon's costumes in this episode. The colors that echoed the theme of the Bittersweet

This show deserves armloads of
awards in every category,I say.

Yes,sometimes I wonder about Ned
and food and how all of this
works with 'the gift he didn't ask
for'. But I love the show so much
that I don't want to ruin it by

Stupid stupid writers strike!
Come on fat cats! Give the
creatives whatever they want so
we can get back on track with
Pushing Daisies!