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'Pushing Daisies' recap: Knitting in public

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “Dummy” | Aired Oct 10, 2007

Pushing Daisies is basically a pop-up book, but only some of the characters are meant to pop. The murder victims of the week — and this episode indicates that we’ll mostly be following a case-of-the-week procedural formula, but with quirk — are lightly drawn caricatures who catch butterflies and get mauled by their secretaries’ dogs. We can meet and lose them in 60 seconds, and go about our business just as Ned does. Only the main characters are given dimension, and this episode gets down to the business of knowing them. Don’t look at Ned; it was Chuck’s idea.

The boy who lived next door just brought her back from the dead, and Chuck has some questions. She hasn’t seen Ned since they were kids, and she wants to know what he’s done with himself. (“It’s pretty much I bake pies and wake the dead. I live a very sheltered life.”) She has no idea what she’s in for, but nothing could be more scandalous than Aunt Lily’s historic erotica, right? Ned isn’t so sure, because the more he explains his past, the more he has to talk about what he can do. He hasn’t told Chuck that if he keeps someone alive longer than 60 seconds, someone else has to die. That would mean admitting that he traded another life for hers. And he definitely hasn’t told her that her father’s life was the one he accidentally traded for his mom’s 19 years ago. He’s so much happier with Chuck in his life, and he doesn’t want to disrupt anything.

pushing daisies 102 ned

Chuck is all about disruption. She didn’t climb out of a coffin so she could stay inside all day. Chuck wants to go on adventures with Ned, and today that means talking to a dead guy. Automotive safety specialist Bernard Slaybeck was found on the side of the road, the victim of an apparent hit-and-run. Ned wakes Bernard to get the details, but Chuck, not knowing why the 60 seconds matter so much, steers the conversation toward Bernard’s beliefs and last requests. He asks them to tell Jeanine in promotions that he loved her. Ned only has time to learn that a crash-test dummy killed Bernard before he’s forced to send Bernard back to his death.

Emerson is annoyed by Chuck’s interference in the case, but Ned can’t even pretend to take those concerns seriously, because he’s too caught up in how sweet it is that Chuck wants to bake Jeanine a pie. The three of them head to Dandy Lion Industries, where Bernard was testing an experimental dandelion-powered car, and find Jeanine promoting the car in a terrifying flower headdress. She denies knowing the man whose last wish was to tell her that he loved her, so clearly the flower headdress ate her sense of human decency. Ned reluctantly hands Jeanine her pie, which she later cries into while crouched behind the car.

Jeanine isn’t the only one in denial. Pie Hole waitress Olive is still hiding her feelings for Ned, which is harder than ever with Chuck here. Who is this mysterious new brunette who never touches Ned and yet follows him everywhere? As she closes the restaurant, Olive indulges in a little musical number with Digby (“Hopelessly Devoted to You”), which works entirely because she keeps getting interrupted. The song also gives Olive some much-needed dimension. She isn’t just flirting with Ned because she can. She really pines for him and questions herself because of it.

pushing daisies 102 olive

Everyone gets a little more dimension tonight, whether Ned likes it or not. Emerson, as it turns out, knits and went to art school. Chuck thinks refrigerators are exclusively for cheese (what a life) and likes wandering off, which is how Jeanine finds her late at night in the factory. Now that her bosses aren’t watching, Jeanine admits to being in love with Bernard, and she wants to show everyone what he found. They’re on their way when her car explodes.

An aside: It’s clear by this point that Jeanine has bulimia. I had forgotten all about this and spent the whole episode hoping that I’d forgotten about it because it was misdirection. I was hoping that she’d turn out to be pregnant, because that would resonate with the story of Bernard’s murder. Her eating disorder isn’t tied to the main plot, so it starts to seem dangerously like just another quirk. Look how much pie she can eat. Chuck notices and expresses concern, and Jeanine decides on her own to get help, but it feels like an attempt to graft a problem onto her just so she can find resolution later. Jeanine isn’t given much dimension — she’s not one of the pop-up characters — and giving such a serious disorder to such a flat character does everyone a disservice. This is an issue too complicated for one paragraph in a recap, but it doesn’t sit right.

Jeanine directs everyone to a pit full of crash-test dummies, where they’re Tasered and wake up in a car. The facts, as our narrator would say, are these: The Dandy Lion SX is actually a death trap, and when Bernard figured it out, company president Mark Chase killed him. When Chase catches Ned, Chuck and Emerson at the pit, he stashes them in body bags and prepares to hurtle them into the crash wall, but Emerson has a knitting needle in his pocket that’s never been more useful. His hands untied, Ned speeds out of the factory. Chase is pulled over in his pursuit, and they all narrowly avoid running over Olive and Digby, who unintentionally save the day by forcing Ned to hit the brakes right as the car reaches peak explosion speed.

pushing daisies 102 ned chuck car

Realizing that he might find himself on a lot of drives with Chuck, Ned builds a divider between the driver and passenger seats. There’s even a glove for hand-holding. Nothing like a high-speed car chase to bring out the romantic in everyone. What did you think of that resolution? And which character is still keeping the most secrets?

Best lines:

“While Olive considered how much she loved Digby for paying attention to her when the Piemaker would not, and Digby considered how much he liked salt, the Piemaker considered what the sentence would be for breaking and entering with no prior convictions.”

“I will pay the both of you not to have this conversation in front of me.”
“It’s not in front of you, is it? It’s to the side and behind you.”

“As the Piemaker’s brain crackled with 10,000 volts of electricity and then lost consciousness, Olive would have no such luck.”

“Emerson Cod did not like to knit in public, but he often left the house with the needles in his pocket should the opportunity to rib-stitch a ski cap present itself.”

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

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