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

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pushing Daisies: Bad Habits

Pushing Daisies started this season by piling secrets on top of secrets, and this episode many of them come tumbling out. A suspicious death at the nunnery forces Ned, Olive, and Chuck together again, which means Olive's faced with everything she'd "taken the veil" to avoid. The episode involves Night Ranger references, glitter paint family trees, and gourmet truffles.

It all starts with a family tree — Chuck's, from elementary school, mostly blank. Even the investigator she hires to look into her past comes up empty-handed. The explanation for that, of course, is that Lily is her mother and not her aunt (well, step-aunt; I'm glad we've got that sorted out). It's a big enough secret to drive Olive to a nunnery, where she's been living in seclusion — until the possible murder of Sister LaRue leads her to seek Emerson's help. It's sweet that Olive thinks he's just a great private eye; I wonder if she'd think less of him if she knew about the whole waking-the-dead bit.

So Ned and Chuck arrive in the place where Olive's gone to keep secrets, which of course means secrets can't be kept for too long. And boy, do they come out: Olive admits her crush on Ned (who brushes it off like "OK, good to know," much to Olive's dismay); Ned finds out about Lily through a guessing game (that ends when Olive finally covers up one eye in a photo of Lily); and I learn how deep Ned's issues with his father truly run. I was glad to see Ned tell Chuck the truth about her mother — and even happier to see Chuck take the news with a smile. She's been feeling trapped all season somewhere between life and death. Maybe this news will "un-stick" her — and maybe it will prompt Ned to start working through issues of his own.

All of this happens against the backdrop of the murder of a foul-mouthed nun, whose awakening would have been much funnier on cable — it just didn't quite work with all the dirty words removed. This might have been my favorite case of the season overall, though, involving contraband feminine hygiene products, specially engineered truffles, bat poo, and a murderous pig. In such a heavy episode, it was nice to have some comic relief (er, as comic as dying nuns can ever be).
Some other thoughts:
Hooray for the introduction to Young Olive, who brims with optimism and digs for buried treasure/secrets.
Emerson's reaction to Sister Olive is priceless: He delivers a booming belly laugh, makes a little finger frame around her face to block his view of her teal habit, and inquires, "What got thee to a nunnery?"
Apparently there's a new waitress at the Pie Hole: "Brandy, Candy, somebody named after booze or food."
Some scenes had so many bleeps and bloops I could barely focus on the dialogue.

The "by-proxy high five" is amazing, and by Emerson's reaction, I assume this is something Ned and Chuck have done before.
Ned simply salivates over the truffles. How perfect that the piemaker is a foodie!
Possibly my very favorite bit of dialogue from this show ever:
"Sister Christian is nothing but a heavy-petting power ballad.""We're motorin'."
I glad (most of) the secrets are out and am happy to be getting Olive back at the Pie Hole. Plus I have a craving for Georgia peach pie with cinnamon ice cream.

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