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Daisy Chain: An Advance Look at Season Two of "Pushing Daisies"

Everyone who knows me knows that I love television but I can often be a harsh critic of the beast, having worked on both sides of the medium for many years. So when I first saw Pushing Daisies early last year, I knew a series had come along that was strikingly different, wholly original, and definitely danced to the beat of its own drum.

And then the writers strike happened last fall, curtailing production on Pushing Daisies and giving its fans only nine superlative episodes filled to the brim with resurrection, pie, monkeys, and a whole host of ephemera from the furtive mind of series creator Bryan Fuller. Forced to wait ten months since the end of the truncated first season, I've been in severe withdrawal from the candy-colored Pushing Daisies.

So imagine my absolute glee when I received the first three episodes of Season Two of Pushing Daisies a few weeks back. No power in heaven or hell could have prevented me from hungrily devouring these morsels after such a long fasting period but I was worried: would the series live up to my extremely high expectations after all of this time?

I'm happy to say that not only does Season Two of Pushing Daisies fulfill my hunger but surpasses it, crafting a series of new beginnings for Ned, Emerson, Chuck, Lily, and Vivian and turning the entire ordered universe of The Pie Hole on its head. And yet Daisies manages to be as comfortable and comforting as a slice of cherry pie, a warm mug of cocoa, or whatever it is that makes you feel all snuggly and safe on a cold winter's night.

So what can we expect from the start of Pushing Daisies' second season? Let's talk.

First up, look for major changes in the dynamic at The Pie Hole as Olive--bursting at the seams from knowing the truth about Chuck's parentage (Aunt Lily is really Mama Lil')--is placed in a convent by said Lily, where she encounters not only a truffle-sniffing pig named Pigby but also a wonderful Sound of Music parody and--in the third episode--cloistered intrigue in the form of a not-so-flying nun. Also look for Wonderfalls' Diana Scarwid to recur in the first three episodes as a sarcastic Mother Superior at the convent and for reclusive sisters Lily and Vivian to explore the world outside their carefully ordered existence at home.

As for star-crossed lovebirds Chuck and Ned, Olive's hasty disappearance brings about some major changes in their own touch-free relationship as Chuck looks to be slightly more independent than last season now that she has a literal second chance at life. Of course, the emergence of Lily and Vivian from their hermetically-sealed life in Coeur d'Coeurs spells new trouble for murdered tourist Charlotte Charles, who will eventually have to come clean to her aunts about her resurrection as they are practically breathing down her neck these days.

As for that secret about Chuck's parentage, look for the writers to handle this extremely skillfully and early on, rather than dragging out this plotline through the entire season. And, yes, the eventual explanation of how Lily could be Chuck's mother--confusing as it may seem, given that Vivian is her sister and they don't appear to have another sibling--will make sense, once we get there in the third episode. (Here's a hint: Chuck knows that Lily and Vivian were never really her biological aunts.)

As for Emerson, we learn a little bit more about his backstory--and his missing daughter--when the gang takes on a case of a missing teenage runaway and stumbles onto a car full of murdered clowns and various other circus-set misdeeds. I have a feeling that the search for his missing daughter (as evidenced by his authoring of mystery pop-up book Lil' Gumshoe) will happily be an ongoing subplot throughout the second season.

Throughout it all, the series' talented team of writers (which now includes Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Douglas Petrie) manage to make the action not only wacky but witty, effortlessly turning out lovingly crafted bon mots like so much delicious candy while making all of our characters lovable, memorable, and utterly unique.

In an age of pre-packaged reality series and sound-bite driven politics, Pushing Daisies proves once again to be television that makes you think, feel, and laugh, sometimes all at once. And that might just be the rarest truffle of all.

Pushing Daisies kicks off its second season tonight at 8 pm ET/PT on ABC.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Yay! Pushing Daisies is the one new show that I couldn't wait to see back on the air and I'm so happy to hear that the first three episodes of the season are so delectable. I can't wait!
Anonymous said…
The facts are these: I can't wait for this to come back tonight! Thanks for the spoilerific hints. S2 sounds divine!
Anonymous said…
Awesome review. Can't wait to watch this tonight. Is Olive leaving the show for good?
Anonymous said…
The storytelling Dexterish narrational voice-over was a great hook, and the cutesy bright-colors creative kick keeps up, with a real long-story arc actually developing. The charm hasn't worn off, and it's not falling into the 'what mystery will trouble the trio this time' fare either. With being hooked on Sons of Anarchy and new Pushing Daisies, only downer of the day was the Cubbies losing (sigh).

The good: Looking forward to Breaking Bad, and (crossing fingers) The Riches.

The bad: Prison Break is going mumbled conspiracy theory de jour (this season will be the last), and the "bad-things-happen" playbook that doomed Sarah Connor, has infected Fringe, but the numbers are good, in spite of the treadmill formula. The Cleaner makes my teeth hurt, corny beyond belief, and no mercy for Grace, post Battlestar. And Knight Rider should have been axed from the get-go, whatever Dev Exec thought that was a good idea, had to be stuck in some half pharmacologically-induced nostalgic time warp. Yeager's Gary Unmarried will become Gary Unaired, in no time, Mohr is downright painful to watch.

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