Monday, January 5, 2009

Pushing Daisies

I am completely out of touch with what's on television, except through overhearing snippets of other people's conversations. We don't have cable or satellite, and only get PBS if the wind is blowing just right. Most of our television show viewing is done through borrowing seasons of shows from other people's collections. Many of them are borrowed from my husband's boss, who is an avid fan of televisions shows, but who works far too many hours to get to watch them while they are current. For Christmas his boss gave us the first season of the show Pushing Daises. I wasn't all that excited to watch it, being underwhelmed by the last show we borrowed.

Having now watched the entire first season, (in two nights!) I have to say that I have absolutely no idea how Pushing Daisies has made it to prime time. The only guess I have is that the success of the narrator-driven Desperate Housewives is somehow responsible. I never watched more than about 30 minutes of Desperate Housewives, but for a time it really saturated our culture enough that I gained some familiarity with it. It was not my cup of tea; marital intrigue and infidelity being way up there on my list of least favorite topics with which to fill up my free time.

Pushing Daisies, however, made me feel like it would be remiss of me to be using my free time to be doing anything else. The show is very heavily influenced by magic realism, with rather fantastic elements being presented as though they are fixed reality. The basic premise of the show is that the main character, the pie-making Ned, has the gift to touch dead things and bring them back to life. The caveat? If Ned touches that that thing again, it dies for good and if a creature he brought back to life lives for more than one minute, another randomly selected animal or person dies instead.

Where Pushing Daisies takes that premise yields to a show which is part fairy tale, part science fiction, part crime drama, part comic book. In print, that likely sounds like a nearly unwatchable result. But rather than being a confusing hodge-podge, the end result is a show which grabs the viewers' attention from the very beginning of the episode, a show which draws the viewer into active viewing, rather than complacency. The colors, lighting, characters, dialogue, plots and sub-plots draw a viewer in, and holds his or her interest, attention and curiosity throughout the hour. (Or in my case throughout the many hours).

Even for those who normally would balk at a non-traditional television show, I think Pushing Daisies would appeal, if they watched just a few episodes. It isn't confusing, dark or muddling as say Twin Peaks or Push, Nevada. Pushing Daisies is full of stories of love, which grow the heart of the viewer for suffering through the impediments which keep the characters from expressing the fullness of their love for one another. It is full of an innate goodness and hope. Yet at the same time, contains enough darkness that the shadows keep the show from being flat.

If you haven't watched or even heard of this show, you can go to ABC online in order to watch whole episodes, gather more information, or read plot summaries of episodes. I know I will be there to watch episodes from the current season, as I am sure that I cannot wait until Season Two comes out on DVD !

(For those wondering about age appropriateness- I would say tweeners on up, with parental involvement in watching. The word "ass" is used, but no other language which parents might find objectionable. There is some stylized violence, nothing graphic and most often the violence is farcical in nature. Olive wears some skimpy things, and there is a view of Chuck (female) in a towel. Personally, I wouldn't object to this show being on while my children were up- the older two (ages 8 and 11)would likely find it intersting and the younger ones would most likely ignore it, as the plot would be too complex for them to follow.)

Edited to add: GRRRrrrrr--as has happened with every. single. television show, except Frontline, which I have been devoted to in the past 8 years--apparently after the finished episodes of Pushing Daisies air- the show will be no longer. What's wrong with the stupid TV execs!!!!!


  1. I hear it's gathering a lot of angry responses in blogland (go over to, they're practically foaming at the mouth), so you never know, it might be brought back. It's happened before.

  2. We love pushing daisies too!!! We also don't have cable and have rented it through netflix. I don't want it to get canceled either even though we have to wait for it to come out on video. You can also check out some of the shows on There is all kinds of free viewing there!

  3. ps... have you seen wonderfalls? We also really liked it and it got canceled super fast. Probably because it wasn't total trash tv that make people feel worse about themselves.

  4. No-I haven't seem wonderfalls--I'll have to go check out hulu!! Thanks for the tip, Sarah!

    I have no hope for it being brought back, Blondie--that just doesn't seem to happen to shows I love. *sigh* At least we got Serenity out of Firefly being cancelled.....