Saturday, April 12, 2008

Push Off

Watching the pilot of Pushing Daisies again, this time when it premiered on ITV1, provoked the same response as the first time around: The overwhelming desire to repeatedly punch the television screen.

What I did admire though was the unexpectedly sly wit of the channel schedulers for broadcasting American Pie immediately after it.


At 11:47 am, Blogger Lucy said...

Is it no good then? I didn't watch it cos I was watching Casualty. (I know that alone probably makes me some kind of halfwit, but if you could concentrate on why Pushing Daisies is so bad I'd be grateful. Cheers).

At 6:19 pm, Blogger Jaded and Cynical said...

Got through ten minutes of it.

And that was only because I have a soft spot for Kristin Chenoweth.

At 11:00 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Lucy, I bet you didn’t watch Hostile Waters either, did you?! Good grief.

How can I describe Pushing Daisies? Maybe I should leave it to the ABC press release from last year:

From Bryan Fuller ("Heroes") and Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men in Black") comes an unprecedented blend of romance, crime procedural and high-concept fantasy in a forensic fairytale about a young man with a very special gift. Once upon a time, a mild-mannered boy named Ned realized he could touch dead things and bring them back to life. Grown-up Ned puts his ability to good use, not only touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavor, but working with an investigator to crack murder cases by asking the deceased to name their killers. But the tale gets complicated when Ned brings his childhood sweetheart, Chuck, back from the dead and keeps her alive. Chuck encourages him to use his power to help others, instead of merely solving mysteries and collecting the rewards. Life would be perfect for Ned and Chuck, except for one cruel twist: If he ever touches her again, she'll go back to being dead, this time for good.

I thought Fuller’s earlier show Dead Like Me was an absolute hoot, as was The Amazing Screw-On Head, and I’ve liked Sonnenfeld’s work, first as DP for the Coens and then director of Get Shorty and Men in Black. Heck, I even watched the Maximum Bob TV series. Both men managed to mix comedy with stuff that was really quite dark.

But Pushing Daisies is like being repeatedly slapped in the face by a kipper of brightly-coloured, syrupy whimsy. Supposedly Amelie is one of Fuller’s favourite movies and an inspiration for this new show. Although I loved Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children, I thought he seriously blotted his copybook with Alien Resurrection, so I haven’t yet bothered with Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain. But from the clips I’ve seen from the film, I kind of see where Fuller’s head is at.

The most annoying thing about the pilot – which I should point out was given the title “Pie-lette” because Ned is also a pie maker – is the narration that pretty much runs throughout. The first line of which is “At this very moment in the town of Couer d'Couers, Young Ned was 9 years, 27 weeks, 6 days, and 3 minutes old” as the kid gambols through a sea of bright yellow flowers with his Labrador dog, Digby.

The second line of the narration is: “His dog Digby was 3 years, 2 weeks, 6 days, 5 hours and 9 minutes old.” That should pretty much clue you in.

Only nine episodes in total were made pre-WGA strike (although it is coming back for a second season) so it may get better, but damn, it was seriously fucking annoying.

At 11:09 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

J&C, I was trying to figure out where I’d seen Kristin Chenoweth before. Then the penny dropped: final two seasons of The West Wing. Ah, happy days.


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