Candice’s Top 5 TV Shows: #4 – PUSHING DAISIES

Pushing Daisies

I don’t do well with lists. Five becomes ten, it gets reordered a dozen times, and then I end up cutting something I like. So when I compiled my top 5, I did it quickly, including only the first shows that came to mind. Did I forget some old favourites? Yup. But PUSHING DAISIES truly deserves a place on this list.

What is the show about?

Ned (the Pie-maker) can resurrect the dead – but only for one minute. Any longer and someone or something else will die. When Ned raises his first love to say goodbye before her funeral, he finds he can’t let go. The thieving funeral director dies, Charlotte ‘Chuck’ Charles lives, and they live happily ever after.

Well, not quite. If Ned ever has skin-to-skin contact with Chuck she’ll die. Permanently. Life becomes a game of dodging each other – when they’re not finding ingenious ways to get around the lack of contact.

Meanwhile, Ned partners with private detective Emerson Cod, raising the dead long enough for them to obtain clues as to how the deceased died and claim any rewards.

Chuck finds herself hiding from the beloved aunts who still think she’s dead, while waitressing at Ned’s pie bakery – where she dishes up the tastiest pies in town alongside singing waitress extraordinaire Olive Snook – who secretly wishes Ned would love her, too.

Why I love it:

In short: because Bryan Fuller created it. It won’t be his only entry in my top five either. With his trademark humour and quirkiness, Pushing Daisies makes us laugh even as it’s secretly working at making us cry.

Beyond the almost poetic dialogue – Pushing Daisies has that rambling, verge-of-nonsensical dialogue that occasionally seems reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the characters are deep and endearing.

While the cases-of-the-week were fun and the strange (and expansive), the character drama kept me coming back for more. Would Chuck and Ned ever be able to touch? Would Ned encourage Chuck to find someone new and maybe even give Olive a chance himself? Would the reward-grabbing, pie-loving Emerson ever find true happiness?

Why people should watch it:

Ned and Chuck are a love story for the ages; lovers who are brought together after years apart, but are physically kept separated by a quirk of nature that is never explained. Olive is alternately adorable and heartbreaking, occasionally bursting into song to expression her feelings in all their glory. Chuck’s aunts used to be synchronised swimmers, the ‘Darling Mermaid Darlings’.

Okay, so Pushing Daisies isn’t for everyone, as evidenced by it only lasting 2 seasons. The very same things that made it unique also made it niche. It has voice over narration and bold, colourful settings that give it a fairy tale quality. Traditional geography is not honoured, characters and places often have repetitive or rhyming names (such as the town of Coeur d’Coeurs or brother and sister Billy and Dilly), and some – maybe all – of the murders are outrageously fun affairs.

But Pushing Daisies is a series with heart and warmth, and a wholesome quality that almost makes you forget you’re watching the dead – often with horrific injuries – rising from their morgue slabs to avenge their deaths.

So slip into a booth, grab a piece of pie, and give it a try. You just might like it.