The pilot of Pushing Daisies was possibly the cutest hour of television I've ever seen.
This week's "Dummy" was, however, in a close second, and it didn't annoy me one bit. The show settled nicely into its mystery-of-the-week formula, which I find promising. Chuck resurrected a man who had been found dead on the road and found out only that the guy had been killed "by a dummy." They eventually discovered that the man had been killed to cover up the fact that a certain dandelion-powered car was in fact very dangerous. I definitely feel like with a show whose UST couple is going to be ultra-dead-end, since, you know, they aren't allowed to touch each other or she will drop dead, the week-to-week story is going to be extremely important. And it was beautifully done, managing to pull off what sounds like an overly-cutesy plot on the page with so much self-assurance that you're kind of compelled to come along for the ride (pun intended, natch).
The visuals were, once again, simply stunning. The flowers -- big puffy white dandelions being wielded by Chuck and Ned, a bulimic redhead dressed as a large yellow dandelion -- and the bright green cars and the general over-saturated design all worked wonderfully. The Chuck/Ned thing continued in the path established by the pilot, with Ned installing a glass door between the driver's and shotgun's seat of his car -- with a little hole just big enough for Chuck's little hand to slip into an airtight glove, for hand-holding purposes. I think that part might get annoying, but hopefully they'll mix it up by introducing a love interest for one of them.
The one thing I wasn't sure I bought was Olive Snook's rendition of "Hopelessly Devoted" in the Pie Hole after-hours. I mean... I understand that Kristin Chenoweth is from Broadway or something, and she has a good voice, and it was kind of funny, and I like everyone else in my (girls') school grew up loving Grease, but it was also kind of dumb and ruined the tone.
The other weird tone issue was the bulimia storyline. At first it seemed like our cute redheaded dandelion impersonator was merely a big eater, one of those quirks that this show likes to establish. She would put away an entire pie in one sitting and then ask for more, only in a good mood when she could have her food. It even started to bother me, like, okay, I'll buy that Ned can raise the dead and everything, but I also have to watch this tiny woman eating tons of pie and not getting fat?! PLEASE. Then suddenly Chuck yells at the men for not noticing that the girl has a serious problem, and we see her laxatives fly out of the car she crashes in? It was weird. Binge-eating and bulimia are odd topics for a show so replete with magic and sunshine; unlike death, which especially because it's curable, has more of a romantic and dramatic flavor in this world, taking laxatives to purge yourself of a huge pie is an unavoidably, viscerally unpleasant idea. So it was weird, but on the whole, kind of interesting. I haven't read other reviews of this episode yet (avoiding spoilers) but I'm curious to know what other people thought of it.
Both episodes of Pushing Daisies that I've now seen, I've enjoyed and admired wholeheartedly. Now I want to see some better introduction of our characters, because we all lead busy lives, and in order to keep coming back we have to care.
In Summary: Still not tired of The Cute.
10/10/07: Pushing Daisies -- Pilot