Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pushing Daisies - Birds of a Feather...

Pigeon Ep 204

Yay! Pushing Daisies has been picked up by ABC for a full season! But if you're a fan, you already know that, and if you aren't, well now you get to listen to the rest of us rapt lovely about the show until you finally cave in and just watch.

So, while we (the viewers) have won already(yey!), let's address the things some (silly) people do NOT like about this show, since, gasp, I've actually heard people don't like this show, don't get it, or refuse to watch it. I don't like them anymore but I'll get off the childhood playground and discuss the issues.

There's the whole narration thing, the twee precious thing, the Burtonesque/Amelie thing, the not liking Chuck's Anna Friel or Ned's Lee Pace (what are you mad?), Kristin Chenowith, the singing, the future of the show, the forensic fantasy procedural of it all.

None of which I really have a problem with but here's my attempt at a defence.

The narration by Jim Dale? One could argue it over explains everything but it adds layers of details that is just the style of the show. We may not need to know Digby was thinking about how much he liked salt when he was liking Olive but its funny knowing that little piece of info and it's not like you can just show it to make sense. Sometimes I have problems with narration because critics deem it as cheating by telling and not showing, sometimes it adds to the inner thoughts of a show (Veronica Mars, Grey's Anatomy at times), and sometimes, like in this case, it just adds to the fairytaleness of it all with added commentary or tone (think Desperate Housewives).

As for the tweeness of it all, well, I guess to each his own, but at least there is a point of view and style to the show and is just a part of the wonderful variety of TV that we get. I guess I never try not to dismiss a show just based on the fact that it's not my usual type that I like, and instead, I'll try to go for quality shows of any kind (though I will admit, I've been slow to catch up on the hard dramas like The Wire, Damages and The Sheild) so it's too bad when people pass over Pushing Daisies because it seems too precious for them, even though it's kinda morbid and odd all mixed into the cuteness.

And if Tim Burton has his style and Amelie cemented another style, why does Pushing Daisies get lumped into that? Especially when Barry Sonnenfeld himself has his own style like he did on Men in Black.

For the Anna Friel and Lee Pace haters (Look. You made him look sad)... well. I probably wouldn't want to be friends with you anyways since you probably wouldn't want to be friends with me! so HA! (yeah, I got nothing, no intellectual defense here except that they are SOOOO cute that anybody who cannot enjoy those two must be a little off/mean themselves).

I know there are people out there that actually hate musicals (apparently every gay guy I know and every straight guy blogger out there (Yes. In my real non-virtual-life, my musical theatre-lover friends are all straight guys and the gays are the haters... seriously, Murphy is out to get me)). but how can you not find Kristen Chenowith as Olive singing with a janitor in the background oblivious to it all and a dog crooning along, not the most hilarious thing ever? It's meant to be completely off-the-wall and it does it's job. Plus, it adds a nice counterbalance to set off reactions from Aunt Lily (in this weeks Pigeons) and I'm sure Emerson in the future. Plus, her pixieish charms are great in a character that is all jealous vibes and meant as a sort of in-house nemesis to Chuck. Like the Sally in Charlie Browns world (which oddly enough, is the role Kristin won the Tony for in You're A Good Man Charlie Brown).

And finally, the future of the show. Really? Can't we just enjoy the good episodes we have in front of us instead of worrying about the future? It's not like the forensics procedural nature of the show has dampened anything yet, and somehow they keep steaming along with all the different characters. The childhood flashbacks of Ned's actually help explain a bit more of Ned's character and it's all just very amusing to me. Oh well, I'm sure I'm just preaching to the choir to the other Pushing Daisies fans out there, and I'm sure the naysayers think I'm a complete moron anyways.

This week on Pushing Daisies, a plane crashes into a building, and a Pigeon falls to the ground sending the pie makers in different directions. The new Odd Mod Squad of Emerson, Ned and Chuck are off to find the dead body in the building, and find the dead pilot and the owner of the apartment, Conrad (a dashing Dash Mihok... oh... that explains his name...). Chuck takes a tumble and with Ned unable to catch her, finds herself in Conrad's arms and remembers the great feeling of being touched. Ned gets jealous. Emerson rolls his eyes.

In the other jealousy plot, Olive, still jealous of Chuck's relationship with Ned, and now assuming Chuck faked her own death, finds a dead pigeon outside The Pie Hole. Ned accidentally revives it, but cannot kill it again unless he wants to reveal his secret to Olive (who still doesn't know about Ned's powers). Olive, knowing the Aunts have an affinity for birds, brings the broken winged pigeon to Aunts Lily and Vivian.

The pigeon is discovered to be a messenger pigeon and the Aunts and Olive are determined to let the bird send its message. Meanwhile, it's discovered Conrad is not Conrad but a convicted felon (of a white collar crime) who lost one arm (discovered fantastically as Ned tries to grab him, knocking himself out when the arm comes off not-Conrad/Lewis/Lefty). Not-Conrad/Lewis/Lefty was originally on the trail of hidden diamonds, that were apparently left in a cellmates penpals Elsita's (Jayma Mays, Heroes, Ugly Betty) windmill house, now lived in by her surviving daughter Elsa (Jayma Mays again). Alas, the pigeon flies to the windmill (where it's realised that it was Elsa and Not-Conrad/Lewis/Lefty's way to send messages), where both Aunts and Olive, and the Odd Mod Squad are heading, each in an attempt to complete their own separate missions, but just as Chuck is about to be discovered by the Aunts, Olive, in a moment of sweetness, prevents the occasion and Chuck's secret is safe once again, albeit, now owing one to Olive.

Oh, and Elsa and Conrad/Lewis/Lefty were actually in love, she had the diamonds and he is caught by the police when Emerson reports it to collect the reward.

Whew... what a convoluted story that was more complicated then it seemed. Still, it was enjoyable while it lasted though I think I was glad there was a narration to help guide me through it. Maybe I am a moron and need some narrative cheating aid anyways. Not my favorite episode of the 4 so far (that would be last week's, not counting the pilot), but that's like saying the Blueberry pie isn't as good as the Strawberry pie. It's all still pie and thus, it's all still yummy!

Still, Lee Pace's comedic physical slapstick and Chi McBride's annoyance looks were terrific yet again, and Olive's place in the story seems to add some needed spice and soapiness to the proceeding's. I'm glad the Aunt's still don't know of Chuck being alive again, but I'm glad they are somehow involved into the story a bit more now. Pushing Daisies is also nicely integrating some good guest stars/character actors so far, though time will tell if it moves into 30 Rock and Ugly Betty territory (good) or Will & Grace (bad). So far so good though and I can't wait for Raul Esparza's return as Alfredo Aldarisio in November.


Liz said...

Wow, I mean, some of those criticisms are maybe valid, in that it's a matter of taste, but who couldn't like the two leads? They're perfect!

vance said...

Someone at my work actually said they were put off by Lee Pace. I almost slapped them silly (because apparently that might make them like someone, a jerk? how does one not love Lee Pace as Ned? one of the nicest more adorable men ever to have graced the TV screen?)

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