I don’t often get into sitcoms. (Or comedy movies, but that’s a separate matter.) Within the last six months, I tried two — Arrested Development and Better Off Ted — and both were funny, very cleverly written, certainly good examples of the genre . . .
. . . and I just didn’t care.
I would watch an episode, and enjoy it while I was watching, but when it ended I felt absolutely no impetus to go on. I didn’t crave more. I didn’t feel any curiosity as to what happened next — well, sitcoms are often highly episodic in their structure, and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I adore a good arc-plot. For me to get hooked on a show whose purpose is primarily comedic, I need something more.
Apparently that “something more” is “dead bodies.”
A friend gave us the first season of Pushing Daisies, and my friends, I have found my comedy show. Not my drama-with-funny-bits — those, I have plenty of — an honest-to-god sitcom about a pie-maker who raises people from the dead (and then puts them back . . . most of the time). His two companions are a private detective who uses him to question murder victims, and a childhood sweetheart he raised and then didn’t put back. Who he can’t ever touch, because if he does she’ll kick the bucket again, this time permanently.
It turns out I really can be bought that easily, by a fantasy component and a bit of gallows humour. Because most of what this show does, is also done by other shows; there’s silly names, implausible characters (the agoraphobic sister aunts who used to do synchronized swimming as the Darling Mermaid Darlings), plot twists out of left field, etc. All the stuff I don’t care about it when other shows do it. But throw in a few dead bodies, some drugged pies, and the matter-of-fact way in which Emerson and Chuck exploit Ned’s ability, and suddenly all that other stuff stops bouncing off my brain and starts sticking.
I still don’t adore it with the heat of a thousand adoring suns — well, not yet, anyway; we’re only four episodes in. My taste runs too much to the drama-tastic end of the spectrum for that, probably. But I suspect I’ll want to buy the second season, and that’s a remarkable achievement in itself.
(Confidential to akashiver — if memory serves, you were trying to push this show on me ages ago. I can only say two things: you were right, and mea culpa for not listening sooner.)