MaryAnn Johanson July 22, 2009
The facts are these: You probably didn’t watch Pushing Daisies when it was on TV. Hardly anyone did. Which means it’s your fault — and you, and you, and you — that the show got itself cancelled. Which means it’s your fault — and you, and you, and you — that I’m sad today even though the complete second season of the show is just out on DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Because it means there will be no more after this.
No more of what was one of the best American series in years. No more Ned, maker of delicious pies with names like Pearway to Heaven, Ned who can resurrect the dead, though only for 60 seconds, which just happens to be long enough to ask who killed them, which is really useful if you need to supplement your pie making income by making like a PI. (No more lovely Lee Pace as Ned, either.) No more Chuck, who died and was resurrected by Ned, who loves her, and kinda got around that pesky 60-second limitation, except it means that lovers Ned and Chuck can never touch. (No more charming Anna Friel as Chuck, either.)
I could have used more of this show about death that’s full of life, more of the genre-busting, wordplay-playing black comedy/romance/mystery/cooking show about learning how to love a rainy day. The story advances from Season One’s nine episodes: These 13 tales see Chuck’s revived undead bees making better honey than ever before, pie waitress Olive (Kristin Chenoweth) learning to cope with her yearning for Ned, private investigator Emerson (Chi McBride) searching for someone he lost long ago. Family secrets will be revealed; there will be much running away and the joining of nunneries and circuses. Taxidermists will be consulted, as will department-story window designers. All will be made right, sort of, as creator/writer Bryan Fuller made sure to wrap things up — kind of — by the final episode.
But I could have used more of a show that revels in droll banter the way this one did, where wonderful lines like “I’m not made of hugs” and “Stakeouts are only fun when there are binoculars for everybody” and “I am a sawed-off shotgun full of secrets” trip off the actors’ tongues with much airy cheeriness. The joy of words and wit here is palpable.
At a time when we’re supposed to see food as sinful just as real food has been supplanted by chemical-laced, factory-manufactured frankenfood, I could have used more of a show about handmade pie.
Bonuses include featurettes about FX, the show’s magical music, Fuller’s wacky imagination, and more. But no pie. Not even a recipe.
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