Elegy for “Pushing Daisies”

In the summer of 2007, I saw commercials on ABC promoting a show called Pushing Daisies. It seemed good, but trying too hard to be original. It never really occupied a place in my mind. Then, as the fall season arrived, more commercials for this show were aired, except, this time they featured blurbs from critics and respected magazines praising it for its originality and charm. Because of that, I decided to give it a chance. And so on October 23, 2007, at 7 PM central time, I sat down to watch a quirky show about a pie maker that brought back the dead with one touch. And by 8 PM, I was in love.

In a television world filled with reality shows and crime dramas, it was nice to see something original and quirky. Pushing Daisies is indeed about a pie maker that could bring people back from the dead, but it is also a crime show. He is partner to Emerson Cod, a private investigator, and he uses his power to bring murderers to justice. Then there’s Olive Snook, the sweet and beautiful employee of Ned the pie maker, who has feeling for him. On the first episode, we learn about his childhood friend, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles, and what led to them falling in love and being torn apart. In that same episode, they are reunited, but now she is dead. Because of his love, Ned brings her  back, breaking his power’s law that say that he can only bring people back for 60 seconds. Now he must keep her hidden from her family, who think she is dead. This episode builds the path to one of the all-time greatest television love stories.

Sadly, in 2007 only 9 episodes were aired to the Writers Guild of America strike. The show had moderate success, it had been picked up for an entire season, but it was decided that the show would not come back until the fall. That killed the show. People seemed to have forgotten about it. Not even the rave reviews and Emmy nominations could save it. Only the most loyal fans returned. It didn’t help that ABC did not advertise it. By December of 2008, 10 episodes of the second season had aired, but it was cancelled. Because of this, creator Bryan Fuller and co. had to find a clever way to wrap up the show. Those episodes, however were not to see the light of day until June of 2009 to little fanfare from ABC’s part.

Pushing Daisies was creative show, filled with great performances and charm. Not many new shows have this. Every part was perfectly cast, the writing was amazing, the sets were great, and the visual effects were effective. It introduced the world to the talents of Lee Pace and Anna Friel, it gave character actor Chi McBride a chance to shine, and it introduced the multi-talented Christen Chenoweth to a brand new audience.

Pushing Daisies now joins  Arrested Development and Firefly in the group of television show who were taken off the air too soon, but will live in the minds of people for longer than some that last for years. This show will forever live in my heart as proof that network television can have artful, original, charming, and heartwarming programs, and not only shows about murderers or talent competitions.

Pushing Daisies is now available on Blu-ray and DVD


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