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'Pushing Daisies' recap: Tricks are for kids

Season 2 | Episode 6 | “Oh Oh Oh … It’s Magic” | Aired Nov 19, 2008

Ned definitely didn’t come by his magic touch genetically, because there’s nothing less magical than the permanent disappearing act that his father had down to a science. Leaving young Ned at boarding school was only the dress rehearsal to his next trick: abandoning Maurice and Ralston, Ned’s half-brothers, at a magic show. It fell to the Great Herrmann to tell the boys that their father wasn’t coming back, so he sugarcoated it. Their father was an important man. He just had important man things to do. The boys latched on to Herrmann and grew up to be magicians themselves.

Abandonment had the opposite effect on Ned. He was never under any illusions about his father’s motives, so he rejected anything his dad once loved, including sleight of hand. Now, Ned is squirming in his seat at his stepbrothers’ show, popping lozenges to quell his anxiety-induced acid reflux. (“What they’re pulling out of their magic hats isn’t a rabbit; it’s my childhood trauma.”) Herrmann is also in the audience and embraces Ned like an estranged uncle. He has a request for Emerson: His assistants are being killed off, and he wants our private investigator on the case.

pushing daisies magic ned

Emerson accepts because he’ll always accept money, but the man has no patience for magicians. He’s even less enthused when he learns that the “assistants” in question are actually animals. Emerson Cod charges extra for animals. Herrmann hands over the cash and performs his second show of the night while the team does some digging. All of the signs point to these animals dying accidentally, victims of attempts made at Hermann’s life. Tonight, the killer has finally succeeded: Herrmann dies after failing to escape a chamber of quick-drying cement.

The team questions Herrmann’s non-animal assistant, Alexandria, who’s been waiting eight years to get her own act. Her motive is clear, but there is one other person who has shared the stage with Herrmann. He’s called the Geek, a circus term for performers who eat things like broken glass and regurgitate live animals, and he says that he was pickpocketing audience members at the time of Hermann’s death. But is Herrmann really dead? When they open up the block of cement at the morgue, they find only half of his scarf and a note reading “… Now you don’t. XOXO, The Great Herrmann.”

Ned tells his half-brothers that they’ve been abandoned by yet another father figure—and they might as well know that their real father didn’t leave to do anything important, either—but he rethinks his cynicism when he sees that ripped scarf in Ralston’s hand. If Herrmann really escaped, the rest of his scarf would have been in that cement block. This actually was a murder after all, and the killer pulled some clever sleight of hand by trading one cement block for another. The real block, with Herrmann inside, is still at the theater.


In the midst of their search for a giant block of cement (which is surprisingly difficult to find), the team finds the Geek impaled through his nose. Olive stands guard over the Geek while Ned wakes Herrmann, who says that he couldn’t escape through the trap door because someone removed the magnets from his shoes. Chuck remembers that her necklace was drawn to a magnet inside the Geek’s chest, but he’s upstairs, supposedly dead. Spoiler alert: Do not assume that people who eat glass die the same way as the rest of us.

The Geek takes Olive hostage and explains that he was hurt when Herrmann lost interest in him. Ned sympathizes with feeling abandoned, but he cautions that anger won’t change anything. Even when he was angry with his father, he still missed him. Chuck and Emerson drop the Geek through a trap door, Olive leaps into Ned’s arms, and another case is closed—which, since this is Ned’s life, just means that things are about to get complicated in other areas.


Dwight Dixon, the man looking for Ned’s father, pays a visit to Lily and Vivian. He tries way too hard to be friendly. Lily, bless her cynical heart, sees right through him, but he sees through her too. He knows that Chuck is actually Lily’s daughter. Vivian, oblivious to all of this, takes Dwight for a date to the Pie Hole, where he tells her that he’s looking for an old pocket watch that belonged to Chuck’s father. The watch was buried with Chuck. Olive doesn’t even have a chance to warn everyone, as she’s busy helping Ned give Chuck a special moment with her mom. Chuck has been crank-calling Lily just to hear her voice (Emerson: “Woman, don’t you know people have caller ID?”), so Olive dons an earpiece and microphone, gets Lily drunk, and asks her to pretend that she’s talking to Chuck. Sitting in a car outside, Chuck feeds Olive questions, and she finally has the chance to ask her mother about the day she was born. Across town, Dwight robs her grave and finds it empty.

So what does Dwight really want with that watch? Is he about to blow Chuck’s cover to her aunts? And what are your thoughts on that feather thing Chuck was wearing?

Best lines:

“What have you got against a magic show? There’s secrets and drama and the promise of bloodshed.” —Chuck

“Snorts and giggles are the raisins in my oatmeal.” —Dwight

“I’m gonna take care of this. Herrmann will be avenged. I don’t mean vigilante justice, because what kind of example would that be?” —Ned

“No! No! Fools rush in! We’re not fools!” —Ned

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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