Monday, November 9, 2009
Crazy Cancellations: Pushing Daisies
Sally and I finally got around to watching Pushing Daisies. I never picked up on it when it was on, well, frankly, because it seems it was doomed from the start. No matter how many commercials I saw and positive critical reviews, I think it hit the screen at the wrong time. They came in supposedly having 13 episodes scheduled, and then the writers strike happened, and the final 4 were cut. Then the second season happened. Maybe people forgot about it after nearly a year absence. Usually we only have to wait 4 months, but about 10 months sucks. From Fuller's genius mind of Dead Like Me-ness and Wonderfall-ness, comes this brilliant fairy tale noir crime show.
So let's talk about the scenery first. It's oddly dark, yet vibrant at the same time. The city is like that of old noir films or Batman's Metropolis, but then bright colors of green, orange, red, and yellow contrast the dull darkness. It seems like it's straight out of a storybook. It's a mix of the old and the future. Cars and buildings are antiquated. But it supposedly takes place around 2025, I'm assuming, since Chuck and Ned were born in the 1990s. Wardrobe is retro-inspired, anywhere from 1920s through 1960s. And the idea of a pie store called The Pie Hole is adorably 1950s.
Now let's move onto the characters and actors. Oh. My. Lordy. Every single character is lovable and adorable beyond belief. Ned, played by Lee Pace, is perhaps the most adorable adult man ever (hence my mancrush on him). When Ned gets shy or awkward or embarrassed, he blushes and looks down and his shoulders shrink into his body. It's adorable. ADORABLE, I SAY! Lee Pace does a fantastic job at making this character lovable, a character who has lost so much in his life and is afraid to attach himself to anyone. When he lies, his eye twitches. Adorable? Yup. Ned has the power to awaken the dead for one minute before something else dies of similar size in proximity. And those the things that revives, like Chuck and his dog Digsby, he can't touch or they die again. Unfortunately these are the two things he now loves most. How sad!
Kristin Chenoweth. That should be all I need to say, but I won't. She's brilliant. She's her. She's godsent. She plays the character Olive Snook, who is and has been in love with Ned. She might be certifiably insane, but, damn, is she hilarious, especially in the second season when she becomes sidekick to the private detective. She also breaks out into song when overwhelmed with emotion. One includes a duet on "Birdhouse in Your Soul."
Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, played by Anna Friel, is Ned's childhood crush, and she dies in the first episode, but he wakes her up. And allows her to live. This has repercussions throughout the series. Her clothes are always super fantastic, complete with hair bows and ribbons.
Chi McBride's private investigator Emerson Cod also has an adorable quirk: knitting. He likes to knit sweater vests! He adopts Ned as his sidekick in investigating deaths. And then he adopts Chuck, as she tags along with Ned everywhere he goes. He's not keen on that until the second season, but he is keen on Olive joining him. And they make an adorable couple, which I would've loved to see, but it didn't happen.
Chuck's aunts are played by Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene, and you couldn't ask for better casting for a series. Together these two are a retired synchronized swimming duo The Darling Mermaid Darlings. Kurtz's Lily is a drunken hardass, and Greene's Vivian is adorably sweet and naive.
The guest stars galore, especially second season, have you stoked and squealing in excitement, like Molly Shannon, Fred Willard, and loads of others.
The writing is witty, snappy, and intelligent. It's not natural dialogue, but the relationships are, which is what makes it relatable. But the dialogue is brilliantly different. It's fresh, like a good apple, not the cardboardy mushy apples that I hate. The crisp apples that have that piercing sweet and sour taste that lasts on your tongue.
And best of all, you want to eat a lot of pie with a side of coffee after watching it.
But on a little brighter side...the third season (or the rest of the second seasons, if you will) will be in the form of a comic book! Bryan Fuller has already submitted a script for the first issue and the next two should be coming in soon. So hopefully we'll see the first issue by the summer of 2010 (if Daisies doesn't return to the screen by then, which it would be a nice summer show anyway).