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8/10/2007


Review: Pushing Dasies

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 7:17 am

Ah, out with the old, in with the new. The television season is dead, long live the next television season. And to prepare for it, I’m going to review new shows as the pilots become available.

Pushing Daisies; ABC, Wednesday, 8:00 PM

You know, I was beginning to think I was getting soft…the last few pilots I watched, I liked, which made me wonder if I was getting too soft to be reviewing television. Thankfully, along came Pushing Daisies, a program that wants to be quirky and ends up just being creepy.


Anna Friel and Lee Pace, not touching, with Chi McBride

There’s this guy, Ned (Lee Pace, Wonderfalls who plays the character as so standoffish we don’t care about him - this role needs a Thomas Cavanagh-type, someone who can be endearing while standing apart) who when he is a boy discovers the strange power to bring dead things back to life; but in standard television fashion, there are more rules to this than there are to Deal or No Deal. 1) If the creature he brings back to life lives for more than one minute (thank heavens god or whatever supreme being this show accomodates lives by our watches), something else in the vicinity will die, and 2) if Ned touches the living being again, it will die forever (no word on whether or not the thing that died after the first minute comes back to life in that case - also no word on what plant dies when Ned brings strawberries back to life for his pies). So the main plot driver is that Ned works with a private detective named Emerson Cod (Chi McBride, The John Larroquette Show, Boston Public, Killer Instinct, The Nine) to find murder victims, bring ‘em back for a minute to ask who offed them, then touch ‘em again within that minute timeframe so they can die again. When not reviving corpses and then sending them back to death, Ned is the baker and owner of The Pie Hole, having something to do with his mother having been baking pies when she died, was resurrected, and then died again when she kissed him goodnight. Working there is Olive (Kristin Chenoweth, The West Wing), who has a crush on Ned, but Ned gets a little nervous touching the living, so she’s left out in the cold.

If you aren’t completely creeped out yet, it gets better. One of the victims Emerson has Ned revive is his first crush, Chuck (Anna Friel, The Jury); as you’d expect, Ned can’t bring himself to send her back, so their love affair is rekindled, in spite of (or more likely because of) that whole if-they-touch-again-she’ll-die-forever thing. The plot of the pilot deals with Chuck’s aunts, Lily (the delightful Swoosie Kurtz, Sisters, Huff, who seems to have had a little too much cosmetic work done) and Vivian (Ellen Greene, Little Shop of Horrors) receiving the item Chuck was smuggling (don’t ask) and being targeted by a killer we never know.

So apparently this is going to be part fantasy, part detective mystery, part unfulfillable love story…but mostly it’s a silly mish-mash with plot threads knotted so badly that no one is going to bother to try to unravel them. Catch the first episode or two of this one while you can…I’d be surprised if it outlasts Smith.

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