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Pushing Daisies: Pigeon

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 24th 2007 11:40PM
Pushing Daisies: Pigeon
Since my co-reviewer Izzy lives in Canada, she gets to see episodes of certain shows before we get to here in the States. One of those shows is Pushing Daisies, which airs on Tuesdays up there. After she saw "Pigeon" last night, she wrote me asking if this was the first episode that was shot after the now-infamous budget cuts were made. I thought last week's episode was the first under those restrictions, but I can see why Izzy might have thought that this one was made on the cheap.

To me, though, the less visual doohickeys there are in a Pushing Daisies, the better. A little bit of snazziness goes a long way with this show, and it leaves more room to actually tell the story. And this week's story was pretty good.

A quick note on why I think this episode looked a little off from an FX perspective: it seemed to me that a vast majority of this episode was shot in front of a green screen. There seemed to be a lot of scenes set in the children's toy-set-like backdrop of the PD world, and none of it looked as bright and cheery as it did in the pilot.

No matter; we saw a lot of goodness tonight, mostly involving the main characters. We saw Ned being able to control himself enough to not catch Chuck when she falls (and the consequences), we saw Lily and Vivian venture beyond the walls of their house and let a little fresh air in, and we also found out that Olive is going to be the most likeable "arch nemesis" that we've seen on TV in a while.

Think about it: in every episode we think she's going to do something mean, like reveal to Lily and Vivian that Chuck is indeed still alive. But then at the last second her humanity overcomes her jealousy and she decides not to, if only because it would traumatize her two friends so much. I mean, how can a woman who calls that once-dead carrier pigeon "Pige" and quotes from They Might Be Giants be all that bad?

By the way, can I tell you how happy the TMBG fan in me was when Olive and Vivian were singing "Birdhouse in Your Soul" as Lily drove them to the National Area of Retired Mills? When she was telling Viv to "make a little birdhouse in your soul," I chuckled and wondered if Bryan Fuller and his writers knew about the song when they came up with that line. Sure enough, the singing confirmed that. And that was the right amount of singing; any more than that and it would have gotten silly.

So are the mood enhancers Chuck is baking into the pies she sends her aunts helping them come out of their shells or is it the presence of perky little Olive? The jury is still out on that one.

Oh, and we now know a little more about Digby and how he was able to bypass young Ned's "discovery phase." The narrator said that when Digby came back to Ned, they both knew that Ned couldn't touch him. Is that canine instinct at work? This, of course, still doesn't explain how Digby is still alive, since we never established that Ned's powers give a being eternal life.

Finally, we get to the mystery, which always seems to be the secondary issue on this show. This one had some nice twists, but still nothing that a person couldn't predict. We knew that the man whose hand Chuck held in order to pretend it was Ned's hand wasn't all he was cracked up to be. But I think the one-arm thing was a bit of a shock, because that hand looked so real and that fake arm so... didn't.

Anyway, the story actually turned out to have a very Ned-and-Chuck-ish component to it, didn't it? And here I was, wondering why they were lingering on Lefty's efforts to tie up Elsita and not showing everyone's chase to the diamonds. Turns out they were stand-ins for two star-crossed lovers. And Pige was the go-between. How sweet. And now that Pige is all repaired (with a Bejewler-attached parrot's wing) I'm sure there will be more notes back and forth. And I think Elsita still has the diamonds hidden in her unexplained wooden leg, no?

More fun stuff:

  • Chuck was a stay-at-home juror for a paraplegic judge. If such a thing really existed, everyone would want to be on jury duty.
  • Chuck on Ned's non-catch: "It was a very affectionate gesture... in context."
  • Ned right before he revives Lefty's old cellmate, who's been dead for years: "Theres a good chance he'll be on the dewy side." And, upon seeing him: "I prefer a little more eyeball."
  • Lily's eye patch is very versatile. It not only holds back a torrent of tears, it can also hold a light that can be used during taxidermy or wing reattachment.
  • Emerson when he goes into the windmill: "Hand up!"
  • So now the coroner is in on Emerson's scam, huh? Considering he's splitting just his piece of the pie with the suspicious M.E., you've got to wonder when this enterprise becomes not worth it for ol' Private Investigator Emerson (P.I.E.).
  • Lily spied Chuck with her good eye while looking at her rear view mirror. Hm. What do you folks think the ramifications are going to be for that little revelation? I think she thinks she was seeing things, but these close encounters are going to happen more often as we go along.
  • What are these small problems Chuck and Ned have that make them like every other couple? I guess we'll find that out in small doses.
  • Body Bags. Check. Plastic wrap. Check. Beekeeper's suits. Check. How long is it going to take before we run out of ways for Ned and Chuck to touch each other? Can HAZMAT suits be next?
The more they tamp down the twee (thank you, Dan Fienberg!) the better this show will be. Kristin Chenoweth has enough cuteness on her own to fuel the show for the entire season, and the more real-world-ish problems Ned and Chuck encounter, the more enjoyable this show is going to be. Sure, I like the storybook nature of Daisies, but that only goes so far over 22 episodes. So far, the producers are on the right track. Maybe they should cut the budget even more for the next episode.
What's the next way Ned and Chuck will touch without actually touching?
HAZMAT suits28 (6.1%)
Green spandex suits48 (10.4%)
Fuill-body condoms138 (29.9%)
Sumo suits64 (13.9%)
Furry animal costumes184 (39.8%)

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I began watching this show only because my dear hubby wanted to watch. At first, I thought it was ridiculous. Now I love it, and I don't know why! : )

October 31 2007 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, I still like the show, but i far one got annoyed but the whole Ned can't touch Chuck, catch her or hold her hand!

I mean after the kiss over a thin plastic wrap, why doesn't he just wears thin gloves such as medical ones, that way he could catch her, hold her hand, etc.

It annoys me because after being so creative at finding ways, after the kiss, they don't go to that logical next step. It's a hige inconsistency to me...

> Emerson when he goes into the windmill: "Hand up!"

Yeah that was nice, but the best part that really made me laugh was how cops put handcuff on the guy's only hand!

October 27 2007 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Body Bags. Check. Plastic wrap. Check. Beekeeper's suits. Check. How long is it going to take before we run out of ways for Ned and Chuck to touch each other? "

Ok, I've thought about this too...but how many seasons did Home Improvement succeed at "hiding" neighbor Wilson yet keeping him an integral part of the show and plot? I rest my case. :)

October 26 2007 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

RE: 34

Actually before 9/11, this is what we expected of our "plane vs.. building" encounters, so for me, it was like going back to a more comforting time when all was well with the world. Strange how a plane hitting a skyscraper and not felling it can bring happiness to one's sense of normalcy.

October 26 2007 at 9:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There was no touching in the graveyard scene, but it certainly looked like it at first. I rewatched the scene at least 5 times. Chuck is making gestures while speaking, and her hands are in front of the pie maker - not touching.

I wouldn't put it past the producers to deliberately leave a little DVR moment in there - it's been done on other shows, like Lost.

October 26 2007 at 6:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

RE: 24 & 25 vacelts said twice actually:

"I think this show is cute. But I'm wondering if the cuteness will be enough to sustain me for a whole season?"

I on the other hand am not embarrassed to admit that while I love the sweetness, I'm also enthralled with Olive's chest. This show is so blatant in the way it has showcased Chuck and Olives' cleavage that I'm surprise I haven't seen more mention of it here. It's as if the producers said, the show is bound to have the women at hello, but to keep the men, there will be one actress every week in a killer pushup bra. They may want to tone that down, cause frankly, it's distracting me from the wonderful story.

October 26 2007 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm surprised. Nay, astounded that NOBODY comented on the "plane crashing into the building" thing. I watched it and thought it hit a little too close to home, and I'm not even american.

October 25 2007 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John D\'arc

did anyone else notice the windmill's house number was 3.14?

October 25 2007 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOVED the "Birdhouse In Your Soul" number. That's one of my favorite songs, and it just made my day to hear that in this show.

I'm also really enjoying the Medical Examiner. Hopefully he'll make a tiny apperance in every episode, like the Waffle Haus waitress in Dead Like Me.

And Ned and Chuck continue to break my heart. He can't catch her when she falls! The dance at the end was so sweet, though. I tear up a little bit at every episode, just for those two.

October 25 2007 at 5:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't even tell you how happy I am that this got picked up for a full season. This is one of the few shows that beginning to end makes you feel good.

Yes - it's over the top and gooey but come-on there is only so much drama I can watch. So let yourself go & enjoy... :)

October 25 2007 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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