Reanimator - article on "Pushing Daisies" in the New Yorker
In this week's New Yorker, Nancy Franklin's article on the TV series Pushing Daisies reveals that its creator Bryan Fuller was responsible for two other quirky-brilliant television series, also favorites of mine. Dead Like Me ran for a brief two seasons on Showtime and Wonderfalls flared out after only four episodes. (Both shows are now available in their entirety on DVD.) In retrospect this makes a lot of sense; Daisies shares the precision of comedy that made both shows so delightful. The changeover to a male protagonist (both other shows featured young women as the focus) makes for interesting comparison, though Ned seems much less a protagonist than a human Maguffin around which the other characters orbit. If you're unfamiliar with the series, read Franklin's article for a good synopsis.
I don't know how many episodes Franklin got to see before turning in her final draft, but she skips over the show's most interesting feature by far: Kristen Chenoweth as Olive Snook, the waitress at Ned's restaurant and the rival for his affections. The third point in a romantic triangle is rarely given the charm and subtlety of character that we see in Olive, and given the problems inherent in a romance between Ned and Chuck, it would be nice to see the lovebirds come to some sense about their relationship and let Olive get her shot. For the purposes of drama, however, this is exactly what will not happen.
Franklin closes her article with this:
"Pushing Daisies" probably shouldn't last longer than a season; fairy tales aren't supposed to go on forever. It will then take its place proudly beside other worthy efforts that lived fast, died young, and left behind a beautiful DVD.I disagree that the concept doesn't have the legs to last longer than a season; it could probably go three or four without going completely stale, but it needs to get past the Ned & Chuck romance stage in order to move on to more interesting things -- like the origins of Ned's power (which might take all the fun out of it), or perhaps some other interesting applications to be derived from it. (Could Ned resurrect famous figures from the past, provided their remains could be located?) Fortunately for us the ratings for Pushing Daisies are quite good. If it can survive the seemingly inevitable writers' strike hiatus, we may get to see more than a single box set's worth of stories.