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"Pushing Daisies" Once Again Proves to Be as Comforting as a King-Size Duvet of Goose Down Goodness

Another fantastic installment of Pushing Daisies, but have we come to expect any less of this gorgeously crafted series? My only complaint about the series is, of course, that not enough people are watching and the clock is ticking away for the fate of Pushing Daisies as ABC has yet to order any additional scripts. Sigh.

On this week's episode of Pushing Daisies ("Frescorts")--written by Lisa Joy, Gretchen Berg, and Aaron Harberts--the gang investigates the murder of a professional best friend as new BFFs Chuck and Olive go undercover (as Kitty Pimms and Patty Boots respectively) as potential Frescort trainees, Emerson attempts to negotiate a new relationship with his best friend/mother Calista (Everwood's Debra Mooney) and finally comes clean about a secret, and Chuck and Ned try to find new footing in their relationship now that she's living with Olive.

And, of course, there was that jaw-dropping last scene in which Chuck surprised Ned (who earlier offered to be a comforter for Chuck, a "king-size duvet ready to wrap you in goose down goodness") by showing up at his apartment and dropping the duvet around her shoulders... to reveal that she wasn't wearing anything underneath. Poor Ned. If only they could actually, you know, touch.

I have to say that I really enjoyed David Arquette's performance as Randy Mann last night, which is saying a lot as Arquette often has the tendency to give me hives. But I thought that he was delightfully eccentric on last night's episode, which introduced taxidermy-loving Randy and set him up as a potential friend for Ned, one who might understand his special gift, given his own predilection for "reanimating" beloved things but stuffing and mounting them... and then posing them in vivid (and disturbing) tableaux. (Arquette, of course, will return later this season in a multiple-episode arc.)

It was also nice to see a softer side of Emerson Cod. I absolutely loved the flashback scenes of Young Emerson at the beginning of the episode in which we got to see his and Calista's crime-fighting past, beginning with Emerson was nothing more than a wee bairn used as a prop in Calista's attempt to prove an accident victim was faking his injuries. (Nice echo, BTW, to the Odessa steps scene in Battleship Potemkin.) I was also really impressed with the casting of Mooney as Calista Cod; I had assumed that Emerson's mother would be black and I was happy to see such color-blind casting at work here as no mention is made whatsoever about the racial differences between Emerson and his mother. Progressive and touching.

This week also continued the storyline of Emerson attempting to track down his missing daughter as his pop-up book "Lil' Gumshoe" gets rejected by a slew of publishers. Fortunately, Calista is able to give him some notes on how to improve the work and points out that any kid reading about Emerson's screwy upbringing (as a child gumshoe) would run the other way, so he should make the book about what a great father he would be. Something tells me we'll meet up with Emerson's daughter before long...

I loved seeing Chuck and Olive navigate the choppy waters of roommate-hood as each tried to be as cordial and conciliatory as possible to the other, despite their fractous history. I had a feeling that Olive would end up moving in with Chuck, if only because she has nowhere else to go and all of her belongings were taken by the poor (rather than the porter, as she incorrected assumed) at the convent. The locker scene with the two of them (in which Olive admitted that Chuck's freesia hair detangler nauseated her) was brilliant ("It's like we're trapped in a sachet in a panty drawer of a dead shut-in, who was shut in her bedroom by her cat so that they wouldn't have to smell the stench of Freesia"), as was the scene where they admit (helped, handily, by some shoofly pie) that, while they might not be best suited to living together, they'll give it another shot.

I like seeing Chuck and Olive as friends (complete with silly secret handshakes) as it subverts that dominant storytelling paradigm that says that two attractive women have to be adversaries. Yes, Chuck and Olive both love the Pie Maker but that doesn't mean that they can't also be supportive and understanding towards each other, rather than catty. It's a good thing.

Best line of the evening: "I want to duvet you right now."

Next week on Pushing Daisies ("Dim Sum Lose Some"), Ned is surprised to meet a mysterious man (guest star Stephen Root) who claims to be an old friend of his dad's and asks for help in locating him; Emerson investigates a murder at a dim sum restaurant reunites with Simone, the dog obedience trainer (and former polygamist's wife) who had caught his eye in Season One.


Anonymous said…
I love the woman that played Emerson's mom and the scenes of him as a child detective were hilarious.

I also (surprisingly) liked David Arquette as awkward, friendless Randy and his "art" was hysterical. I'm looking forward to seeing him again and just pray that they order more episodes of this brilliant series.
R.A. Porter said…
I notice your review implicitly did what mine did explicitly: ignore the MotW. I thought it was a really fun and sweet episode, but wasn't really entertained by Buddy Amicus and his problems. Fortunately, PD doesn't rely on the weekly story to be as good as it is.

More of my thoughts here.
Anonymous said…
To me the MoW on Daisies has always been less than interesting but a means to explore the characters. I like that the character storylines are continuing week to week so that there is a thread between eps even if the mysteries aren't all that thrilling. This week's MoW was pretty boring and I didn't care about Joe, Downey or the Spartans but I did care about Emerson and his mom, Ned and Chuck and Olive.
Anonymous said…
I loved this episode (I love them all). Really liked learning more about Emerson, and agree with you about colorblind casting. What an inspired choice!

I saw Dana Davis' name in the credits and immediately thought she was going to be Emerson's daughter (as she played his daughter on The nine), but it was nice to see her playing against the type of character she always plays.

I really hope the show lasts long enough that we get some resolution on the Emerson's daughter front.

Unknown said…
I'm still amazed when networks ignore such great shows by waiting until the last minute to place full orders--or cancel them. They'd be foolish to let this one go. Think of the DVD sales, networks!!

I find myself paying attention to the characters' storylines while the MotW is mere background entertainment, like a radio playing softly. I like it.

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