If you haven’t been lucky enough to hit the Paley Festival, I have to highly recommend it. Programmed by the wonderful Paley Center for the Media, a repository for television and radio both classic and contemporary, each spring the Paley Festival puts on panels with the creators of current shows and thematic sessions about the state of television. Recent awesomeness has included everything from almost the entire cast of Lost to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion to an evening with prominent creators of drama that included everyone from Tom Fontana and Aaron Sorkin to JJ Abrams and Dick Wolf. This year’s offerings gave us panels on True Blood, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Desperate Housewives, and several others. It’s a two-week celebration of television, and if you believe in TV, you need to go to the Paley.
Baconeers were able to hit a couple of the panels this year (many thanks to Friends o’ Bacon D and B for their hosting!), including Bryan Fuller presenting the last three episodes of Pushing Daisies that ABC has yet to broadcast. The episodes will allegedly be shown on May 30th, so we don’t want to spoil too much, but there were some pie-level-of-deliciousness tidbits to share:
- in addition to Bryan Fuller–who was adorable and charming and managed to pull off a light-colored suit with aplomb–Chi McBride, Ellen Greene, Barry Sonnenfeld, and several of the writers and crew members attended. When McBride came into the auditorium, he seemed surprised at the size and the enthusiasm of the crowd.
- Composer Jim Dooley provided a jazz ensemble that entertained the crowd before the episodes were shown (and they were good!).
- Fuller, McBride, and Greene addressed the crowd before showing the episodes. McBride noted that pitchforks and torches to be used in threatening ABC would be handed out at the door, but then amended that statement to plastic forks and glowsticks.
- Fuller noted that this was his 10th Paley Festival (with his first–and perhaps several others–being as a spectator/fan). There must have been a Buffy panel that first year, as he said most fervently, “God bless Joss Whedon.” We’d have to agree.
- When trying to mention people who couldn’t make it, Sonnenfeld remembered Lee Pace and Anna Friel. Greene reminded him of Kristin Chenoweth, to which Sonnenfeld replied, “or, as I always say, ‘Kristin, show us more cleavage.’”
- Greene became quite emotional, thanking the crowd for trying to save the show. Also, she is smoking hot with red hair.
- They threw a bunch of t-shirts to the crowd–I am utterly gutted that I didn’t get a “Jews for Cheeses” shirt–and handed out raffle tickets for props, including the bell from “Robbing Hood”, some of Chuck’s Honey for the Homeless, a bee key from “Bzzzzzzzz!”, signed CDs of the soundtrack, Olive’s arm sling (“it touched her boob!”), some champagne and newspapers from the final episode, the MOTHER license plate from “The Norwegians”, and a Pie Hole menu. They were just a really, really generous crew, both literally giving things out and with their gratitude.
As to the episodes themselves:
The first concentrates on a piece of Olive’s history. Let’s just say she gets why Ned creates constructed families.
- As such, Olive gets to imagine a little more of what might happen if she got her wish and Ned wanted her.
- And, bless her heart, she finally decides to stop eating other people’s french fries, and I love her at that moment about as much as I know how to love anything.
- That having been said, I assume a previously used actor is unavailable, leading to some weirdness in the resolution of Olive’s romantic life (or lack thereof).
- Also, Chenoweth sings again. It is typically awesome..and it’s Lionel Richie’s “Hello”. Really.
- The episode has something of a silver and gold color scheme and has a scene segue device reminscent of “Oh, Oh, Oh…It’s Magic!”‘s curtains.
- To my glee, there is a lovely slam on Fuller’s former/current employer as Ned is forced to ask why a person with a superpower would mope about said power and decide not to use it. Amen, Ned.
The second of the final three episodes focuses on isses from Emerson’s past. Let’s just say he gets why Ned creates constructed families.
- The focus on water and noir detective work means we’ve moved on from Hitchcock to Chinatown.
- Given that one of the important settings looks like Hoover Dam, it should be no surprise that there are many, many references to a “Dam Ruby.” It doesn’t stop being funny.
- An important person from Emerson’s past is a big damn con artist. Or big dam con artist.
- Also, there are Mennonite lawyers.
The final–WAH!–episode focuses on issues from the aunts’ past. Ned’s got nothing on them.
- Synchronized swimming + sharks + Wendie Malick + Nora Dunn + Wilson Cruz=why doesn’t America love this show?!?
- the Darling Mermaid Darlings’ detective entourage has a bright orange and lime green color scheme, and it is so wrong it’s right. And the Burburry mermaid tail garment bags make a reappearance.
- There is closure. It’s about 90 seconds long and will leave you longing for more–because it’s beautiful–but it’s there. The episode initially cut to black on a cliffhanger–a doozy of a cliffhanger, actually–but Fuller and Co. rallied to give us an ending, a real one. Perhaps it’s unsurprising, given how visual this show was, but the visual return to previous cases/episodes was what really got to me. Fuller described a fairly desperate attempt to provide that closure and how people from every corner of the production sacrificed to provide it. Effects houses providing $90,000 visual effects shots for $8,000? I don’t care how short the closure it or how much more you wish you knew–these people gave us a gift.
- And speaking of endings: I haven’t scoured every corner of the internet–I try to avoid most spoilers to begin with–but even I have tripped over alleged spoilers that have created massive consternation in the fanbase. And…they’re wrong. They’re just not true. Might Fuller go to those places in the comic books he’s hoping to do? Maybe. But the stuff I’ve seen screaming over? Just not true. Gift.
Can’t wait for May 30th to see them again!