It’s times like these when I wish I had the power to revive the dead with a single touch. And when I say the dead, I mean a potentially cancelled television show. And when I say with a single touch, I mean the single click of a remote to ABC on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.
If I somehow had the power to make the ratings of ‘Pushing Daisies” climb so infinitely high that the network would have no choice but to renew it for another season, life would be good. Unfortunately, I don’t have Ned’s power to bring the deceased back to life, even if it’s only for 60 seconds. Totally lost? Let me explain, Jim Dale style.
One year, six weeks, three days, 44 minutes and 36 seconds ago, the world was introduced to Ned (Lee Pace) and his dog, Digby. Jim Dale (the voice of the ‘Harry Potter” tapes) narrates us from the moment of Ned’s discovery of his gift through bringing his dog Digby back to life after being hit by a car all the way through the present, when Ned runs a restaurant known as the Pie Hole.
If only it were as simple as bringing the dead back to life. Ned has the unfortunate discovery of the rules of his gift when he brings his mother back to life for over 60 seconds.
After that minute is up, his gift takes the life of another person at random in this case, his best friend and childhood sweetheart’s (Chuck) father. And if that isn’t sad enough, Ned learns, as Jim Dale so eloquently states, ‘First touch, life. Second touch, dead again, forever.” He first learns this through his mother kissing him goodnight and falling to the floor, never to rise up again.
In the ‘pie-lette” episode, we discover that Ned has been working on the side for Emerson Codd (Chi McBride), a private investigator, by interviewing dead victims and returning them to their peaceful states before someone else’s life is taken. In one of his investigations, he discovers that Chuck (Anna Friel) is the victim and he can’t bring himself to send her back to her death. The chemistry between Ned and Chuck is undeniable, except for the tiny little detail that they can’t touch each other.
And cue the unresolved sexual tension that always makes a show worth watching. So Ned, Emerson, Chuck, Dibgy and waitress Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth) work side-by-side making pies and talking to the dead in their spare time.
It sounds a little out there, right? Well, that’s because it is. ‘Pushing Daisies” is a cross between ‘Alice in Wonderland” and Grimm’s fairy tales. Creator Bryan Fuller has constructed this fairy-tale universe where the vivid colors and fantastical sets alone capture the audience’s attention immediately.
Every episode brings something new to the show, whether the characters are investigating complicated family trees, kissing through saran wrap or making their weekly visit to the morgue. And if Jim Dale’s story-book narration isn’t enough to get you to watch, I guarantee the characters will capture your hearts.
Ned is not only played by the adorable Lee Pace, but you can’t help but love his shy, somewhat sarcastic, somewhat reserved emotional character, whose smile could really just make you melt. Then there’s Chuck, who has a sweet innocence about her, combined with a witty charm that makes her and Ned the definition of star-crossed lovers.
And if the depressed combo of the love that can never be gets you down, Olive, the hopeless romantic of the bunch, played by the melodramatic (in a good way) Chenoweth, has enough spirit and smiles to get everyone in a good mood. To bring this fairy tale back to life and to bring all the characters together, the persistently cynical Emerson Codd reminds them all that they have a job to do, while constantly making the audience laugh. Oh, and we can’t forget Digby, the ever lovable golden retriever. But really, who doesn’t love an adorable dog?
So why bother telling you about this great show? You mean besides the fact that it is a great show, I’m assuming. At this moment, Ned, Chuck, Emerson, Olive and Digby are all in more danger than any of the dead characters they have encountered thus far. They are at risk of disappearing forever.
With low ratings in its second season after a first season with only nine episodes due to the writers’ strike, the network has begun to lose faith in one of the most promising new shows on television.
So on the fourth day of the week, in the 20th hour of the day (that’s Wednesday at 8 p.m.), I will be watching ‘Pushing Daisies” in hopes of reviving the life of this dying show.
Rosenberg is a member of the class of 2012.