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

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pushing Daisies: Corpsicle

When I first heard that Pushing Daisies would be ending the first part of this strike-addled season on a major cliffhanger, I assumed it would be Ned telling Chuck he killed her father. But then that happened, and I was left wondering: What could be more major than that? Well, I'm not sure if the cliffhanger that closed "Corpsicle" was bigger, necessarily — but it certainly wasn't something I saw coming.

The good news: If that's our last Pushing Daisies for quite some time, it left on a high note, with a great balance between drama and chuckle-out-loud cleverness.

It's a little embarrassing, but I wanted to cry from the second Young Ned took us back to Play-Doh world. That scene of Chuck stomping around in her dino costume was the moment in the "Pie-lette" that I knew this show was a keeper. And it set the tone perfectly for the episode, which was oh-so-cute and yet oh-so-heartstring-tugging — from the aunts comforting Ned and Chuck on the day they both lost their parents to Lily's drug-induced revelation at the end.

About that: Lily is Chuck's mom? Wha-huh? I'm glad there's something tying the aunts (er, mom-and-aunt duo) tighter into the series, but I wasn't expecting this. Lily's so caustic — "motherly" wouldn't come to mind — but I wonder how much of that is due to losing her only daughter. Plus: Does Vivian know? It seems like Chuck certainly doesn't. That twist also answers my question about what the show would do when the secret about Chuck's father was revealed: Why, they'll introduce a new secret!

But as for that first secret: Poor Chuck. Usually so chipper, she was really down in this episode — and no surprise, given that she'd just learned her soulmate killed her dad. She came so close to letting Oscar know her secret, to let it escape and "warm its toes in the sun." But she pulled back, for some reason, so now the only person who knows is Olive — and Olive thinks the whole "I was dead" thing was just a way for Chuck to stop talking. (Olive at her literal-minded best: "Is this an insurance scam?")

It would be easy to skip over the Corpse of the Week, but the case offered some comic relief in a heavy episode. It must have been fun for the writers, who usually work with such cheery material, to create the character of miserable little Abner ("I said lap dance, not tap dance!"). And the Wishy Wish lady being the "killa killa" was perfect, down to the jaunty tune that played as she claimed her victims and the benobo named Bobo who took care of her in the end.

Some other thoughts:

Oh hey, Emerson has a daughter! Yet another new secret.

Sight Gag O' The Week: I've gotta give it to the shotgun through the mail slot and straight into Ned's crotch.

Much as I loved Emerson and Ned's exchange with the coroner in his holiday sweater, Emerson's word vomit line was my favorite: "And you slipped in word vomit and fell on your ass and now you're covered in word vomit."

Oscar calling a bludgeoning "a unique sensory experience" was super creepy. I hope he's back when the show returns.

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