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Next Best Thing Magic Dad: Truth and Illusion on "Pushing Daisies"

It seems like it's been months since we've gotten a new episode of Pushing Daisies, though it's really only been three weeks. (In the rarefied world of Daisies, that's like a lifetime for those of us craving a piece of narrative pie from The Pie Hole.)

Suffice it to say, I found myself positively salivating for the series' quirky sweetness during the "previously on" montage at the start of this week's episode of Pushing Daisies ("Oh Oh Oh... It's Magic"), a delightful confection that had Ned and the gang investigating the murders of the animal assistants of The Great Herrmann, a.k.a. Herman Gunt (guest star Fred Willard), a stage magician who had become the surrogate father for Ned's own half-brothers Ralston and Maurice. (Where do the writers come up with these delightful names?)

Written by Kath Lingenfelter (who was hired on Daisies, according to creator Bryan Fuller, on the strength of a sample piece about a man with pork chop hands), this week's installment was an episode filled to the brim with guest stars aplenty, from Willard to Kerri Kenney-Silver (Reno 911!) and Stephen Root (Office Space). What more could you possibly want, save maybe a glass of cold milk with which to wash that down?

I absolutely loved Ned's abhorrence of all things magical as evidenced by his acid reflux symptoms every time the word "magic" was mentioned and how this tied into his own abandonment by his neglectful father (and that of Maurice and Ralston during an actual magic performance). For a man with seemingly magical abilities, it's an interesting paradox that he should find slight-of-hand so unseemly but be (relatively) at ease with his own extraordinary powers. I think it incredibly inventive of the writers to throw two very needy twin half-brothers at the relationship-phobic Ned. After all, he might be able to bring dead people to life with barely a touch, but the Pie Maker can't seem to stand human contact with the living. Could the twin illusionists melt the frost around Ned's heart? Unlikely, but I relished seeing him thrust into the role of explaining his own father's actions.

Speaking of Ned's father, just what is his old friend Dwight Dixon up to and why does he need the three pocket watches he, Ned's father, and Charles Charles had during their time as UN Peacekeepers? Hmmm. Dwight inched his way closer to uncovering a secret from the very first episode of Pushing Daisies: namely that there was no body in the grave of lonely tourist Charlotte Charles and therefore no pocket watch to be had. While it's clear that Dwight doesn't know Chuck and Ned's secret, the mere fact that he's digging around (quite literally) could prove to be disastrous, especially if he learns that Chuck is actually out and about among the living... and armed with that coveted pocket watch.

Meanwhile, he's cozying up to Aunt Vivian, who seemed to thrill at the mere prospect of an illicit date with a man her sister disapproves of, a man who also knows Lily's decades-old secret about being the birth mother to Chuck. Something tells me that it's only a matter of time before poor Vivian learns the truth about Chuck's parentage and it won't be pretty.

What did I love? Herrmann's "I'm not made of hugs" line; Chuck putting on various accents to try and get Lily to admit on the phone that she gave birth to a child; Cementia; Olive turning the wrong way (towards Emerson) to tell Chuck that the twins were "magically delicious"; Herrmann allowing the gang to call him "Great" and expressing his tiredness with the twins' neediness; Vivian's "emotional or federal?" line to Dwight upon learning that he was in prison; the Geek accidentally regurgitating the kitten after Ned and Olive spring their trap on stage; and Emerson referring to Maurice and Ralston as the "Wonder Twins" and them offering to copy Herrmann's book for Alexandria.

But the cream was the conversation between Lily and Olive at the episode's end, in which Olive engages in a role playing exercise where she pretends to be Chuck asking her birth mother for the truth... while all the while Chuck listens in and gets to ask her own burning questions to Lily. A trick to beat all other tricks, conjured up by Ned. Who says that the Pie Maker doesn't believe in magic?

Next week on Pushing Daisies ("Robbing Hood"), the gang investigates the suspicious death of a millionaire who may have been killed by a modern day Robin Hood or his gold-digging young widow; Lily is irate when Vivian and Dixon begin spending more time together.

Comments

R.A. Porter said…
I especially liked that Anna Friel's fake British accent was so bad, as opposed to British Anna Friel's real British accent.
Fred Willard was fantastic as The Great Herrmann. I loved how he kept warning Ned about the twins' neediness and I especially loved his "I'm not made of hugs" line to Olive. Excellent casting!
Unknown said…
Wow, am I going to miss this show!

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