PUSHING DAISIES “Frescorts”: Look at All Those Bridges

Friend o’ Bacon Brayden recently claimed he can’t watch Pushing Daisies because the characters are too sweet–the lead character doesn’t have enough addiction problems to be of interest. I’d argue that said lead character keeps something dead around to talk to and manipulates life and death to his own professional and personal advantage, which essentially makes him Al Swearengen, right? Still, it’s a fair point–the show can edge toward the all-too precious, as evidenced this week by naming a character who sells friendship Buddy Amicus.

On the other hand, the writers on this show are actually aware of their characters as fully formed human beings who not only have flaws but work on changing them. Ned’s realization about his avoidance of his past was quickly followed this week by his decision to learn how to be alone without being lonely. Olive and Chuck’s locker-bound fight exposed that the writers really do realize that Chuck often behaves as though her interests and imperatives are the center of the universe, and Ned enables her in this. Emerson’s relationship with his mother is fabulous for viewers (I’ll bet Debra Mooney still has great getaway sticks), but it needs to change in order to be truly healthy, and both parties know it. A show this colorful and witty might look at first glance like it’s all lambs and lollipops, but the core is made up of painfully real human emotions and a willingness to engage them.

Of course, I do have to wonder if a show that might be struggling to capture an audience because of that juxtaposition of fairy dust and elbow grease–and because they make jokes out of Latin and Battleship Potemkin–really ought to have storylines featuring a) offal and b) David Arquette. There’s dark, and then there’s creepy.

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4 thoughts on “PUSHING DAISIES “Frescorts”: Look at All Those Bridges

  1. Maybe it would do better if there was a little more dark in Daisies, but I doubt it. By bringing in dark elements, you’re capturing a slightly different audience but you’d be driving away just as many (or more) viewers.

    I’m a pretty unique viewer and so I wouldn’t encourage any television producer to design a show specifically for me if you want to make money (as evidenced by the failure of my favorite shows). Lately I’ve been watching and enjoying the new season of Friday Night Lights on DirecTV, which is just another one of my favorite shows to be pushed to the periphery because of its fascination with screwed-up characters and unresolved issues. But luckily for me, someone at DirecTV has good taste.

    BTW, the best thing about the new FNL season (besides the absence of a stupid accidental homicide plot) is that Jason Street is no longer a central character in the show. Instead, we get a lot more Riggins, who the writers are making more complex and interesting. It looks like the strategy of the show for this season is to do more with less.

  2. Look! It’s a tiny you!

    So you’re not buying the Piemaker=Swearengen argument, hmmm? You bring up an interesting equation, though–just like there’s no way to find a political candidate who matches you perfectly unless you run yourself, it’s impossible to find a TV show that will match your tastes perfectly unless you are a writer who somehow can escape network interference. Even my favorite shows have moments, plots, or characters that rub me the wrong way. So how much does a show have to be like (generic) you before you can love it? How little can it be like you before you just can’t watch it at all?

    In terms of darkness, I felt like this episode’s dead people were quite a lot more distressing than in previous episodes–I wonder if others felt the same way and how that effects their enjoyment. I found last week’s episode featuring a swearing nun as the corpse a lot more fun than this week’s victims spouting formaldehyde and needing their lungs reinflated and being so grotesquely mummified that the characters insist they cover up, but is that about the darkness of the deaths, or other components of the ep?

    And I’m sooooo glad to hear your review of FNL–I won’t be getting it until NBC deigns to show it, so I’m very pleased to know it’s worth looking forward to. Please to inform if they add a new stupid accidental homicide plot with Jason Street killing Riggins–I want to go through the grieving process early.

  3. Even if I didn’t buy it, I was amused by the Swearengen likening. Picturing Swearengen bringing dead people back to life in the midst of Van Gogh-like pictorial surroundings makes me smile.

    Yes, FNL season 3 has returned to the formula that made season 1 work so well. Without giving too much away, my favorite plot line involves Tami, Dillon High’s new principal, taking a stand against the boosters who want to spend thousands of dollars to put a new jumbo-tron in the stadium instead of spending the money to, well you know, fund education. Tami as principal kicks a**.

  4. Pingback: PUSHING DAISIES “Dim Sum, Lose Some”: Hello, Mercutio and Ribald « TV BACON

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