TV Gift: Pushing Daisies

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.)

0 Responses to “TV Gift: Pushing Daisies”

  1. moonandserpent

    Whereas I loved Arrested Development and Better off Ted and could never get into Pushing Daisies.

    • Marie Brennan

      I dunno what it is — this show just pushes my buttons in a way that the other two didn’t. Combination of factors, I suppose, including the lead actors; Lee Pace is kind of absurdly charming, and Anna Friel has just enough of an off-kilter edge to her character to keep me interested.

  2. doriscrockford2

    I loved Pushing Daisies. I think it had something to do with the brightness of the colours: it was like visual Prozac to me. 🙂 And Emerson … sigh. Absolutely hilarious.

  3. sartorias

    Interesting–I made it about three or four in, and gave it up.

  4. marumae

    Ahhh I loved that show! Such a great ensemble cast and of course Lee Pace…yum, there’s something so darn foxy about that man. I’m glad you like it! I wish it stuck around!

  5. akashiver

    I think ninjaturbo was the one pushing you to see it. It certainly can’t have been me, as I’ve never seen PD, though I will have to now that I’ve read this post.

    • Marie Brennan

      There was some show you kept recommending to me. Six Feet Under? Or maybe it was just Arrested Development, in which case, I’m sorry to say that one didn’t hook me.

  6. esotaria

    I loved PD, although I stopped watching once the writer’s strike happened. Kept meaning to get back to it but never did. I should do that now!

    /uses her one pushing daisies icon left

    • Marie Brennan

      Huh, I guess the show is more recent than I’d realized. I hadn’t noticed it was around during the strike.

      • esotaria

        Yup, that’s why the first season’s only 9 episodes. I was actually really surprised it got picked up for a second season; it’s a fantastic show, but an interruption like that is a show-killer.

        Have you watched Bryan Fuller’s other series? I didn’t much care for Dead Like Me, but Wonderfalls,/I> is one of my all-time favorites.

  7. sapphohestia

    I’m a big fan (enough that I bought the first season twice). I dropped watching it on-air after the writers’ strike too, but I still watch and re-watch the DVDs when I have a sewing project to do.

  8. ninja_turbo

    I have been singing the praises of Pushing Daisies for some time now, and I’m very happy you’re enjoying it.

    It was astonishing to me that the series was as popular as it was, I was expecting it to prove too quirky for network television. Therefore, I treasure every bit of the two seasons we got. Plus, musical numbers!

    • Marie Brennan

      Turns out it’s more recent than I thought, which means is probably right; you were the one I got awareness of the series from. In which case, may I say you have good taste, sir? 🙂

  9. calico_reaction

    Oh, I love that show! It broke my heart when ABC canceled it… but maybe one day I’ll pick up the dvds and fall in love again!

    • Marie Brennan

      It’s kind of helpful to pick up a show after its run; you know how much to expect, and don’t go through the trauma of an unpredictable fate.

      • calico_reaction

        That’s very true. Also, the stuff’s that’s SUPER IMPORTANT while watching a show while it airs suddenly is very much not important when you have the whole series in front of you. 🙂

  10. Anonymous

    Ah, Pushing Daisies–that one was a lot of fun, and had gorgeous cinematography. It unfortunately aired while I was writing my thesis, so I missed a bunch of episodes. I liked that it was whimsical and fully embraced the absurdity of the basic premise, and as you mentioned, it had an over-arching plot (which I’m sure was part of why it got cancelled)

    The only other sitcom I’ve gotten into is Big Bang Theory, because it actually does Physics/astronomy/engineering geeks *right* without laughing at them. (well, too much)

    Well, that and my mom watches occasionally and always comments that it’s like an owner’s manual for my brother and I. Which is truer than I care to admit.


    • Marie Brennan

      I’ve heard good things about Big Bang Theory, but never seen any of it. After hearing your mother’s comment, now I kind of want to. 🙂

  11. edgyauthor

    Pushing Daisies! I miss that show. My all-time favorite Bryan Fuller show, though, will always, always be Wonderfalls. (Lee Pace is in that show, too. He plays an atheist with degrees in theology, haha.)

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