If you haven’t seen the show Pushing Daisies, you need to. It feels like Amelie or Big Fish, with probably a hint of The Addams Family, only in a weekly hour-long programme.
The basic premise is this: as a boy, Ned found out he had a special ability. Whenever he touched something dead, it came back to life forever. Once he touched them again, they died. Forever. No amount of touching will bring them back. If he doesn’t touch them, within a minute something else will die in the area. Ned would say it’s a “random proximity thing.” This also leaves Ned with a fear of really getting close to anyone. His faithful dog, who is the first to receive his gift, lives on, never being pet except by strangers or tree branch.
It’s now 20 years later, he owns a pie shop, called The Pie Hole, and he solves mysterious deaths with a private eye: Emerson Cod. They touch dead people, ask how they died and collect the reward money. Watching the tv one day, he learns that his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Charles (nicknamed Chuck), was murdered on a cruise boat. He touches her at the mortuary, and can’t bear himself to touch her again. And so, she lives forever, and they’re in love, but they can never touch for fear of her dying again. Now, all three of them work together to solve these mysteries.
The real breakout star in the show is Olive Snook, played by Kristin Chenoweth. Olive is Ned’s only employee at The Pie Hole, and she’s in love with Ned. The fact that he’s in love with Chuck, someone who’s “re-living,” and someone he’ll never touch, is really confusing to her, given she has no idea about Ned’s power. She’s amazing though, a simply stellar actress. Even better than when she was in the West Wing. Just listening to her sing They Might Be Giant’s perennial hit “Birdhouse in Your Soul” a couple episodes back was amazing.
Anyhow, if you find yourselves wondering what to watch on Wednesday nights, check out ABC, I think at 8. Or, watch the episodes online at ABC.com. I don’t think I’ve seen television this funny, complex, quirky, and child-like all at once, ever.