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August 30, 2015

Pushing Daisies: Smell of Success

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Nov 21st 2007 11:57PM
Pushing Daisies
(S01E07) "The mere smell of it made him feel, if only for an hour, exactly like he wanted to feel: safe and warm and loved, which is why he became the pie maker." - Narrator

ABC lost a good and fun opportunity to offer Pushing Daisies viewers a chance to get up close and really personal with the show and maybe attract new people who would have been interested in a scratch 'n' sniff event! Yes, it would have been pretty much a copy of what NBC did last year with My Name Is Earl, but having a scratch 'n' sniff card to use throughout this olfactory episode would have been just as magical as the episode itself! Okay, maybe the smell of the sock and the sewer would have been terrible but it would have been interesting to smell Ned, Emerson, and "honey and death" (aka Chuck). Okay, maybe that would have been a bad idea. Let's move on to the episode instead.

Pushing DaisiesNed, the traditional pie maker

As pretty much everyone expected, Ned became a pie maker because of his mother issues. As the narrator described it, Ned wanted a way to reconnect with his mother, feel safe, warm and loved. Ned must have made pies with his mother when she was alive because, for a 9-year-old, he sure made tasty-looking pies.

These "safe, warm, and loved" feelings resonated all through the end of the episode when Ned caved in and changed his traditional pie menu to include Chuck's cup pies. That was a big step of Ned because allowing non-traditional pies on the menu was also a way for Ned to move on. As he tried to explain to Emerson and Chuck, he never really made connections with anyone (no real girlfriends) before because things got in the way... he lived for his pies, his mother's memories. He is now at a point where he's ready to move on... allow cup pies to enter his life.

Olive and the aunts

Pushing Daisies

The Powers That Be on the show must know fans enjoy Olive a lot because this week she was involved in both storylines. Most importantly, she agreed to help Chuck during Phase 2 of "Project: Aunts." If Olive was a smell, she would definitely be something refreshing (citrus?) because throughout the episode, that's what she was. She tried to put a little sunshine (or more precisely chlorinated water) in the aunts' lives to get them back to swimming. The plan, eventually worked and the Mermaids are back in the pool! (If they ever need a third member, Olive at least fits in the 4th of July outfit.) Even if Lily was a tough nut to crack, Olive tried her best to help the sisters move on. But it was Vivian who was eventually able to crack her sister thanks to her singing under the rain of "Morning Has Broken" and, surely, her speech about happiness. So now that Phase 2 is complete, what is Phase 3? Post your ideas below.


Paul Reubens was supposed to play Alfredo Aldarisio, the traveling homeopathic traveler we saw a few episodes ago, but the creators decided to reshoot the scenes with another actor and have Reubens play another character. This week was his first appearance of.... well, depending on how the writers' strike goes, the number of episodes he'll be in can change. But, as the final scene of "Smell of Success" hinted, expect him to turn up again before the end of the current streak of episodes.

That said, I think Reubens suited the role of Oscar well. He has the look and the craziness required for such a unique role. It'll be interesting to see how he stalks Chuck and if he'll find out about Ned's secret and try to use that info to his advantage.

The storyline involving Oscar was unlike anything else I've seen on TV. It was a little bit predictable (I started pointing the finger at Napoleon when we learned that the new publishing date was not that great) but I don't recall the last time I've seen scent experts be the focal point of an entire episode. The writers clearly exploited that unusual job to its fullest because the episode was filled with references to smell and olfactory (Napoleon's last name, Lenez, means "the nose" in French). Kudos to the props department for that really cool "Smell of Success" book, I would definitely buy one as long as it doesn't explode!

Napoleon told Ned, Emerson and Chuck that a smell tells much more than the speaking word. He was able to smell death on Chuck, lust for someone (Chuck) on Ned, and the fact that Emerson was a knitting detective. Now, Emerson is a pop-up book detective! No matter, smell is powerful and Oscar won't stop investigating until he finds out what Chuck really smells like.

Other tidbits of interest:

  • It was fun to watch Chuck plan her honey harvesting expansion. I'm not sure other people would have liked to have bees flying all over their rooftops though!
  • The show paid homage to the Wizard of Oz by having the characters "follow the yellow thick hose!"
  • Olive and Chuck are growing closer and closer but, as Olive warned Chuck, they have not reached the stage where Chuck can cry yet. Oops! Too late. Chuck cried!
  • "I was a surprise, you made room for me." - Chuck to Ned
  • "A slice of pie can't save all their problems." - Olive to Chuck
  • "I don't always say everything I think." - Lily
  • "I'm canceling my pre-order." - Olive to Napoleon
What smell theory do you like best?
Napoleon's theory.73 (44.0%)
Oscar's theory.93 (56.0%)

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I loved the whole "Morning Has Broken" sequence. When the singer is that talented (Ellen Greene, or Kristin C.), why the heck not??? It adds an audio richness to a show that's already so much fun to look at (as does the clever dialogue).

But my favorite joke, not mentioned here, has to be "The Pop-Up Book of Sports Related Deaths", seen when they're first in the popup book shop. Unfortunately, we only see the cover!

November 28 2007 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To me, the funniest comment by anyone on TV this year was Emerson's response to Chuck's diatribe about the eating habits of C.H.U.D.'s - "Well, I hope they prefer white meat." I ROTFL my butt off at that! :)

November 27 2007 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, and I love the musical numbers. "Morning Has Broken" brought me to tears, too, even as the humor of the Chinese lantern hats made me laugh. It's such a great combination, this show.

November 25 2007 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is one of the most brilliant bits of eye candy I've ever seen. It delights my mind, brings me to tears, and makes me laugh aloud. The "Jews for Cheeses" picture the sisters viewed in the stereo viewer tickled me to pieces. What was the event where it was taken? I didn't quite catch that.

There are very few series I would watch repeatedly and therefore own on DVD; this is one of them.

November 25 2007 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to say that Vivian's version of "Morning has Broken" was one of the most beautiful versions of this song I have ever heard. It was melodic, full and sweet. It made me cry.
Yes typically you would call Chuck's cup-pies tarts, but they are slightly different. They are made in muffin tins not tart tins and the name has more allure.

This episode was solid and I've grown to enjoy the Aunts, especially now that Olive is connected with them. I also love that Ned is panicking at Olive and Chuck's blossoming friendship.

Favorite moment when Emerson walked in where the sock was and put his finger over his mouth to keep from hurling. He's often very girly for such a butch man. Knitting, pink shirts, weak stomach. I love it!

November 24 2007 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Olive does have a smell.......Dog

November 23 2007 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

YES! the bear skin rug was hilarious. I couldn't believe it wasn't mentioned either.

November 22 2007 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Knitwit magazine (for knitting humor) had me rolling with laughter for a good couple of minutes :)

November 22 2007 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hee hee. I love how most episodes peope inevitably bring up the "how does Ned get it on?" question.

Anyways, I loved the episode as per usual. Man, I love Wednesdays this year!

November 22 2007 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In the range of possible problems: can Ned wear leather?

November 22 2007 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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