Sunday, December 09, 2007

What I'm Watching: Pushing Daisies

I wrote this article for the paper the other day. Check it out:

It is a simple fact that I love television. My television viewing as of late, however, has been at an all time low. I have two part-time jobs, which equals one full-time job (of course) and I am also a full-time student. Granted, I do not focus on my studies as much as I should, but that is neither here nor there. Basically, every night of the week I am working, so that leaves my six-inch television in a lonely place. I'm sure it hates me, now. Anyway, I digress. When I get home the first thing I look forward to doing is watching television. Thanks to a wonderful little invention known as the internet (thanks again, Al Gore!) I am able to watch practically any episode of any show. Ever.

Now, I'm not sure if any of you have been following the WGA writers strike, but I now feel guilty for all the internet TV I've been watching. In short, the writers who wrote that episode get zero dollars when you watch it. Oops! Not the time for that, though.

When it was time to do this article, only one show popped into my head. That was "The Office." Now, anybody who knows me knows at all knows that is my favorite show on television. Hands down. However, there are more shows that I watch: "30 Rock," "Friday Night Lights," "Bones," "House," "My Name is Earl," "Chuck," sometimes "Heroes," the new miniseries "Tin Man" and whatever else is on. There is one show that surpasses all but "The Office" and that is "Pushing Daisies."

"Pushing Daisies" is a series that is unique in itself. It is unlike anything I have ever seen before. This seasons pilot (the series premiere) has been one of the best television premiers I have ever seen. It is one of those defining pilots that will go down in television history. Please, go watch it online, but wait until the strike is over.

"Pushing Daisies" is a series about love, death, and the power of human contact. The series is narrated by the voice of Jim Dale (narrator of the "Harry Potter" audio books, for you nerds out there) and he keeps the series up to date for us viewers. The synopsis of "Pushing Daisies" is, well, strange and very unique. Meet Ned (the adorable Lee Pace), a pie maker with a special gift. He has the gift of bringing people back to life with a simple touch. However, there is a catch. If he touches them again they will be dead, for good this time. Also, if he keeps the undead person alive for more than 60 seconds then whoever is within close proximity will kick it instead of the undead person. Together with Private Investigator Emerson Cod (huggable Chi McBride) Ned and Emerson go into the morgue and find out how the dead person died and collect the reward money for the unsolved murders.

Next, we meet Charlotte (brilliantly played by Anna Friel). "Chuck" (Ned's pet name for Charlotte) and Ned were childhood sweethearts. All of a sudden, Chuck shows up dead one day, and Ned is there to ask her what happened. When Chuck shares her story with Ned he refuses to touch her again, thus keeping her alive. For more than 60 seconds! DUN DUN DUN! As a result, the mortician in the next room dies in Chuck's place.

Chuck and Ned are mesmerized with each other, yet they cannot touch. If Ned ever touches Chuck, she will be dead forever. The two find meaningful ways to touch and connect, and this invests the viewer in this relationship. For example, in Ned's car there is now a sheet of plexiglass dividing the two in the front seat, with a rubber glove sticking out so the two can hold hands. Awww! I still, however, shudder every time the two sit next to each other or when they are in the room together. Too close for comfort. I want Chuck to stay around as long as possible.
This is not the only thing between them, though. As a child, Ned inadvertently killed Chuck's dad when he touched his dead mother to revive her back to life. Later that night, Ned's mother kisses him goodnight and upon contact, she falls over dead. Yes, confusing, but very believable. Somewhat. Trust me on that.

This show is different visually as well. It looks like something from Tim Burton, yet for adults. The Pie Hole (as in shut yours) is the central location and where most of the action happens. The restaurant is colorful and just whimsical. Beautiful perfection. The waitress at The Pie Hole, Olive (tiny Kristen Chenoweth), loves Ned but Ned only has eyes for Chuck. Olive has no idea about Ned's secret, though. This love triangle sometimes causes Olive to bust out in song when she is alone in the Pie Hole, or driving a car, or … By the way, anyone who busts out singing a They Might Be Giants song is alright in my book.

This show really catches at my heart strings and I get emotionally attached. I was completely hooked after the pilot (or Pie-lette and it is better known to us "Pushing Daisies" fans) was a fantastic episode, yet all the episodes have been stellar. Each undead person has a unique and funny story to tell, and we get to see Emerson, Chuck, Ned, and sometimes Olive work together and solve the mystery.

Since I work at church every Wednesday night, I always miss it, and since I am old school and still use a VCR (which I've stolen from my roommate), I record this series and watch with eager anticipation. It is a sad Wednesday when there are no new episodes. I could easily go into much more detail, but I will digress. Please, just check out the show (Wednesday's at 7:00 pm on ABC) and get hooked in. When I watch it, all I want to do is eat a pie and make sure the two stars never, ever touch.

Sure, "The Office" is the best show on TV, but "Pushing Daisies" is most definitely my new favorite, and a unique one at that.

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