Perhaps it was because hearing news from Doctor Who about dead things coming back to life made us too sad to enjoy a whole show about such things, but last week’s Pushing Daisies wasn’t quite as charming as its predecessors. On the other hand, maybe this was because having storylines that center on Chinese people focus on gambling is tired, tired, tired. Or maybe it was because “Dim Sum, Lose Some” highlighted the least attractive parts of Chuck’s character. It doesn’t really matter whether Chuck’s decision to go behind Ned’s back and visit his family leads to good things or bad things–that decision is disrespectful and is less than what Chuck should do for the person she supposedly loves. After stating in “Frescorts” that she understood she sometimes acts like she’s the center of the universe, Chuck sure scurried back to being mostly concerned about getting her own way to the exclusion of others’ feelings again mighty quickly.
Thanks goodness her actions did lead to something good, then, as tearing up when Ned’s half-brothers embraced him saved the episode for me. Emerson’s dalliance helps as well (ABC censors must think a sweet show like this would never resort to anything dirty, because they couldn’t have been watching Emerson and Simone’s love scene). And even lesser Pushing Daisies is incredibly gorgeous, with the Chinatown setting emphasizing the way the art department creates different stunning color palettes every week. Visually, it’s a sumptuous, luxurious show…which probably helps explain why the low ratings can’t support its expense. Here’s hoping they’re able to tie up the stories they’ve introduced about Ned’s family before the show follows Chuck’s dad to the great beyond.