EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community


Image Credit: Justin Stephens/ABC

'Pushing Daisies' recap: Does he touch you?

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Pie-Lette” | Aired Oct 03, 2007

The pilot episode of Pushing Daisies is named “Pie-Lette,” so let no one say they don’t know exactly what they’re getting into when they start this show. Pushing Daisies is cute. But it’s cute as seen through the eyes of the man who created Hannibal, so it’s also morbid and self-aware and different from anything else out there. An untimely cancellation cemented the show’s cult status, and with Lee Pace’s return to the small screen on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, there’s no better time to revisit this series. Pushing Daisies was alive. Now let’s make it alive again.

The show opens on young Ned (Lee Pace, played in flashbacks by Field Cate), who at this moment is 9 years, 27 weeks, 6 days and 3 minutes old. Ned lives in the town of Couer d’Couers, where fields of yellow flowers stretch in both directions, and kids run around with golden retrievers all day. It’s the kind of town Jim Dale would narrate, so he does.

couer d'couersWhen Ned’s dog, Digby, is hit by a truck, he finds that his touch brings the dog back to life. Digby bounds off like nothing happened, and Ned doesn’t ask any questions. He just accepts that good things are given to him, like the girl next door, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles (Anna Friel, played in flashbacks by Sammi Hanratti), and his mother, at least until a blood vessel in her brain bursts and kills her instantly. The narrator is awfully matter-of-fact about that last part. Death in this story is just a part of life, viewed as young Ned might view it: both world-altering and impossible to process.

Ned touches his mother’s cheek, and she goes back to baking pies, but Chuck’s dad drops dead a minute later. This is the first rule behind Ned’s gift: If he brings anyone back to life for more than 60 seconds, someone else has to die. But there’s a second rule, and Ned learns it the hard way when his mother kisses him on the forehead. First touch brings life; second touch brings death again, forever. Ned and Chuck’s lives change after that, as she goes to stay with her aunts and his dad ships him off to boarding school, but they share their first and only kiss at their respective parents’ funerals.

ned strawberryNineteen years later, Ned has a fear of intimacy and an obsession with pies. He runs a restaurant called the Pie Hole, baking with old fruits he’s brought back to life, but keeping his gift a secret, even from waitress Olive Snook (Kristin Chenoweth). Only P.I. Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) knows what Ned can do, and only because he stumbled upon it. The two of them solve murders by asking the victims who killed them, and it’s a lucrative business until Emerson picks their next target: Chuck.

Dubbed “Lonely Tourist Charlotte Charles” by the media, Chuck was found murdered on a cruise. Her life was a quiet one, caring for her shut-in aunts Lily (Swoosie Kurtz) and Vivian (Ellen Greene) and harvesting honey for the homeless. She went on one adventure and was killed. Ned agonizes over whether he can even bring her back to life before finally shutting himself in the room of a funeral home in Couer d’Couers and touching his childhood sweetheart on the cheek. Chuck has no idea who killed her, but she’s willing to let the boy who was her first kiss also be her last. He just can’t do it.

ned chuck kissKeeping Chuck in the world spells the end for the funeral-home director. It also exposes Ned to scrutiny and moral questions that he’d really rather avoid. Emerson in particular isn’t pleased with the arrangement, since his life easily could have been the one exchanged for Chuck’s. Ned wants Chuck to lay low, but she’s more interested in catching her killer and claiming the reward. She wasn’t on that cruise accidentally: Her travel agent offered a free trip if she would just bring back a couple of plaster monkeys. (“Those must’ve been some emotional monkeys.”) Chuck’s belongings were sent to her aunts, who could be in danger if the group can’t get to them first.

While Ned comforts Lily and Vivian over a plate of fine cheese, Chuck sneaks into the house and finds the monkeys just as the killer slips a bag on Lily’s head. Leaving Lily for dead, he turns to Ned, whom Chuck rescues, and Lily — whose career as a synchronized swimmer trained her to “hold her breath for a long time” — blasts the killer out of the window with a shotgun and rescues both of them. It looks like Ned’s secret may be out, but thanks to an dirty cat-sand incident that cost Lily her right eye, Chuck remains out of sight.

Chuck is free to start her own life now, and she wants to know why she’s been given this second chance. Ned assures her that his motives were completely selfish, which is to say that he believed his life would be better with her in it. The two can’t even hold hands, but they smash the monkeys’ mouths together for a by-proxy kiss and realize that they’re actually made of gold. The money goes to Lily and Vivian, who reenter the world as Ned and Chuck embark on a life of casual crime-solving, imaginary hand-holding and surrogate hugs from Emerson. What a time to be alive.

ned smile chuck morgueAfter years away from this show, it’s great to dive into its rich visuals and storybook writing again. This show fits summer like a beekeeping glove, and I’m excited to spend the next few months with it. New viewers, share your first impressions! Returning fans, does the pilot hold up on rewatch? And a question for everyone: Does Digby’s long life indicate that Chuck won’t age anymore? Think about it.

Best lines:

“A renowned synchronized swimming duo, they shared matching personality disorders and a love for fine cheese.”

“I hate to be a bad host, but I’m sort of exhausted from chasing your coffin.”

“Bitch, I was in proximity.”

“Middle-aged women who wear sweatshirts with things sewn to them.” “Usually kittens made of felt.”

Pushing Daisies is available at Amazon.com, Vudu, Xbox Video and Sony Entertainment Network.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like