"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pushing Daisies: Girth

My first thought when I learned Pushing Daisies was doing a Halloween episode: "Aren't they all?" But it turns out that Daisies lends itself perfectly to even spookier stories of hauntings and ghosts. "Girth" was definitely a Halloween treat.

This was a good time to get an Olive-centric episode. She's learned Chuck's secret, and she's already refrained from telling the aunts, but now she's desperate to tell Ned (not knowing, of course, that Ned is well aware Chuck is, er, "alive again"). So it was perfect that this episode involved a secret that Olive had sworn long ago to keep.

The case itself was a great callback to the Headless Horseman and other storybook fables, with trampled jockeys, ghost horses and a villain in (brightly colored) disguise. As usual, the little touches were my favorites: the distinct horseshoe print on the face of every trampling victim; the very large trophies for very small jockeys; the bar where people over 60 inches tall couldn't drink.

Ned, meanwhile, had some past hauntings of his own to tend to. It amazes me that Daisies can show heartbreaking moments — say, the revelation that Ned's father had left him and had another family on the side — and still make them sweet. Ned had spent every Halloween sleeping where his old bed used to be, trying to deal with his dad's desertion — but it took Chuck's aunts telling him what a good man he'd become despite his jackass father before he could truly move on.

Some other thoughts:

Emerson's one-liners are always a highlight, but he was really on in this episode. A few favorites: "Don't try to think that's a word that anybody knows.""Think of it as an escrow between my thighs.""Different like purple and mauve."The whole "conversation" with the money.

Speaking of one-liners, my favorite from the episode might actually be Olive's "I scream, you scream, no one screams when you fake your death!"

It's good that Olive and Chuck are getting some more screen time together as they battle for Ned's affections. The scene with Olive bouncing up and down on her bed cracked me up — but not as much as Olive finally getting swept off her feet by Ned, only to be dropped as soon as he realized Chuck was around.

JJJ's mother's barbs about Olive dressing demurely, huh?

I love that I'm starting to get more glimpses of the aunts' personalities — Lily saying she'd get a shotgun when the doorbell rang, Vivian grabbing the candy bowl.

There were so many fantastic sight gags that picking the Sight Gag O' The Episode is pretty darn tough. The aunts' heads exploding (and being filled with confetti) is a contender as is the jack o' lantern turning into a frowny face when Young Ned got the postcard from his father. But if forced to pick a favorite, I'd say it's Young Ned and Digby trick-or-treating in their matching ghost outfits.

I wonder how long the actor who played JJJ practiced his horsey gait. That was a nice touch.

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