Pushing Daisies

"You inadvertently, unintentionally, and without malice and forethought disappeared Dwight. Did you disappear him in a permanent sense?" - Olive Snook

The facts were these: Pushing Daisies was a crime-drama with a fantastical twist that aired on ABC from 2007 to 2009 for not quite two seasons. Set in a fairytale-like world of bright colors and quirky characters, the show seemed like a hit in the making. One writers strike and no promotion later, the show was cancelled leaving the fans hanging for the remaining episodes and the writers scrambling to rework the finale to a satisfying conclusion. The main character, Ned, had a special gift that allowed him to wake the dead with a touch of his finger. The catch was that the person could only be kept alive for one minute or else someone else in random proximity would die in their place. Ned teamed up with private investigator Emerson Cod to solve murders and collect the rewards by simply (or in most cases not so simply) asking the person how they died. Solving crimes was only Ned's part time job though, as his real job was that of a pie-maker at "The Pie Hole". He kept up his double life of baking pies and waking the dead without much drama until the day he touched his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, and decided not to touch her again. Romance, drama, comedy, singing, and the most non-touching love story ever all made this show unique, unforgettable, and unfortunately cancelled.

The best part about Pushing Daisies was just how different it was (and still is) from every other show on television. It was a show about death set in a bright world filled with over saturated colors and cartoon-like characters. Yet even with all of the fun and silliness, Pushing Daises had an incredible amount of heart and depth woven into every story. The characters all had problems and issues, and they all evolved greatly throughout the short run of the show. They also talked about their problems with each other and worked them out - a concept that shouldn't be unique in the world of television, but sadly it is. The writing was just awesome and the inclusion of a narrator just made the show all the more special and storybook-like. The show just made me happy when I watched it, and it's sad that it wasn't given more of a chance to blossom and gain an audience.

The majority of the characters (including guest stars) were cast perfectly and everyone involved seemed to be enjoying themselves so much. Ned: the sweet, emotionally closed off pie maker with the special touch, Olive: the lovelorn waitress and former jockey trying to reconcile her feelings for the pie maker, Emerson: the money hungry PI with a love for knitting and pop-up books, and Lily: the former synchronized swimmer, gun wielding, eye patch wearing, shut in mother in mourning of a daughter who always thought she was her aunt were standouts in particular. While I never really warmed to the character of Chuck aside from some of the storylines she shared with Emerson and Olive, I think that if she had been played by a different actress all of her quirks may have come across better and more natural. Everyone else fit seamlessly into the fairytale world and I would have loved to have continued watching their stories unfold and their characters grow had the show continued.

As with the majority of Bryan Fuller's creations, Pushing Daisies was ahead of its time and wasn't given a fair chance before it was cancelled. Had it come around just a few years later, possibly on a smaller network more willing to take a chance on a niche show, it probably would have done a lot better. While the second half of the second season was a bit disappointing with the inclusion of Chuck's father as a nemesis for Ned and the rush to turn the season finale into a series finale, Pushing Daisies was still highly entertaining. It heartens me to know that Bryan Fuller and the cast don't want to say goodbye to the world of Pushing Daisies either and that there could be a future for it, be it another season, a movie, or a musical stage production. I loved this little show and am happy it was able to go on for two seasons, but it just left me craving more pie in the end.

Ned, Olive Snook
Pie-lette, Comfort Food, The Norwegians
Ned/Olive, Olive and Emerson, Ned and Emerson, Olive/Alfredo