Thursday, November 20, 2008

You're Always Cancelling My Favorite Things


Just wanted to mention that Pushing Daisies, which like all creative and unorthodox shows is apparently due for imminent cancellation, is the best network TV show since Friday Night Lights. People who care about quality TV are always wringing hands and complaining about the poor decisions of network executives and the viewing public. I join them in their hand-wringing, because the fact that this show could be cancelled while a unredeemable turd like Heroes remains on the air is just more proof that network TV has no idea how to market and sustain brilliant television. No one has mentioned the option of Pushing Daisies jumping to cable, but I wish a channel like Sci-Fi would pick it up.

Last night's episode was about the lead character Ned's feelings of abandonment by his father. He has just discovered that his father also abandoned his younger twin half-brothers, which, in typical Pushing Daisies tragic-wackiness, happened during a magic show. Their father enters the magic box, disappears, and refuses to reappear. The magician, played by Fred Willard (beloved of all), semi-adopts them, cantankerous wit hiding his real affection. Like all Pushing Daisies episodes, this is a procedural, so Willard soon turns up dead. Suspects include the geek, played by Mr. Show alumni Paul F. Tompkins, and his bitter assistant, played by The State alumni Kerri Kenney-Silver. The B-plot has Stephen Root (who is, delightfully, growing more and more psycho in each episode where he appears) visiting Ned's lady-love Chuck's aunts (one of whom is actually her mother) searching for a watch that he apparently needs to uncover some treasure that he, Chuck's father, and Ned's father all buried while involved in a UN peacekeeping mission. Still keeping up? The surprisingly emotional conclusion of the episode involved Olive getting Aunt Lilly, who is Chuck's real mom, to open up about how she feels about Chuck, while wearing a wire and earpiece so that Chuck can listen in and ask questions from the car outside. Chuck is supposed to be dead, of course.

In summation: some of the best guest-stars in tv history, the most convoluted-yet-fun stories in tv history, the most eye-popping set and costume design in tv history, and one of the weirdest amalgams of styles - detective procedural, fairy tale, and screwball comedy - going into each incredibly well-written episode. I wish someone at the network would take the time to try to promote the show: show the first season again, maybe, or get the actors onto talk shows. It's weird, yes, but it's delightfully weird. Unique. Beautiful. Touching. Meaningful. Worthwhile.

2 comments:

Anonymous 12:53 PM, November 21, 2008  

HERE HERE! I want ABC to have a contest where the winner gets their wardrobe and home redone by the set people and the wardrobe people for that show. I want Charlotte Charles' clothes!!!! The show is indeed one of the best. Like I say, "So pretty you'd enjoy watching it even on mute." Love, Ms. Obscurity

Hayden Childs 5:24 PM, November 21, 2008  

And word came down today: it's officially cancelled. Fuck you, ABC!

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