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'Pushing Daisies' recap: Baking with hate

Season 2 | Episode 8 | “Comfort Food” | Aired Dec 3, 2008

Ned doesn’t want to be at the Comfort Food Cook-Off this year. He and Olive used to run the place: Two years ago, they almost took the grand prize, but Muffin Buffalo (hello, Wonderfalls) narrowly edged out the victory, maybe by cheating. Last year, they skipped the event because Ned had just brought Chuck back to life, and last night, he and Chuck brought her dad back to life.

Ned took 30 seconds to ask about Dwight Dixon—who’s very dangerous, according to Charles Charles, but won’t do anything as long as he’s got the pocket watch—and Chuck took the last 30 to say hello and goodbye. She’s been quiet ever since, and Ned wants to be with her. (“Are we weird now because I did it with your dad?”) Chuck has to force him to go bake blue-ribbon pies with Olive.

The Cook-Off is all just the usual comfort-food trash-talk until fried chicken magnate Colonel Likken is found dead, fried in his own batter after an apparent heart attack. Mrs. Likken is upset that her husband’s secret recipe died with him, so Ned wakes him, thinking he’ll just jot down a few ingredients. Instead, Likken says he was murdered, probably for the list of over 500 secret herbs and spices that’s gone missing from his pocket. Ned enlists Olive’s help to find the killer, which she’s more than happy to give.

pd208_olive_smileOlive and Ned’s investigation is immediately derailed by the smell of burning pie; someone has sabotaged their oven. There’s pure maple syrup stuck to the bottom of the oven, and it could only belong to the Waffle Nazi, so Ned and Olive sneak into his kitchen. Their hunch is all but confirmed when they find batter made with Likken’s secret recipe, but the Waffle Nazi says that he and Likken were going into the chicken-and-waffle business together. The killer is still out there. To make matters worse, Cook-Off Coordinator Leo Burns disqualifies the Pie Hole for entering a competitor’s kitchen.

Since they’re out of the game anyway, Ned and Olive sneak back to the crime scene to check for more clues. They find a broken piece of jewelry that belongs to Marianne Maree Beetle, owner of Muffin Buffalo, but her crime is sabotage, not murder. The murderer is Leo Burns, who drowned one day’s worth of sorrow in Likken’s famous chicken, developed an addiction, and gained so much weight that he’s now confined to a mobility scooter. With Burns in custody, the Pie Hole is back in the competition, and Olive is ready. She brought an icebox lemon pie for just this occasion. It takes first place, because how could it not? It’s Ned’s pie.

pd208_ned_olive_hugNed enjoys the victory, but not like Olive does. She’s happier about making Ned happy than he is. She even gets to hold his hand while the crowd applauds. Olive says that she’s over Ned, but she’s not really, as evidenced by the fact that she sings “Eternal Flame” as soon as he’s out of earshot. I’m all for the fact that Olive’s crush on Ned hasn’t been swept neatly under the rug. She respects herself—and his relationship with Chuck—too much to be a sad sack about it, but she can’t just shut down her feelings. Also, it’s entirely possible that they’d be a great couple, if for no other reason than the height difference.

Ned and his actual girlfriend do have a very cute plastic-wrap contraption in their bed for spooning purposes, but something more than plastic is about to come between them. Chuck has a secret: She gave her dad her glove, so when Ned thought he touched Charles back to death, he actually didn’t. Aside from the danger this poses to Ned’s secret, it also means that an innocent life was taken. Or at least, a life was taken. Dwight Dixon wasn’t entirely innocent. He had a gun trained on Chuck at the cemetery, but before he could take a shot, he died for Chuck’s decision to spare her dad.

pd208_chuck_coatChuck tells herself that she doesn’t have to feel guilty about a man like Dwight, but she still does. Emerson, showing a surprising amount of patience, helps her bury the body. He also helps her sneak away from Lily, who shows up to kill Dwight herself. Lily just wants to keep her sister safe, even if it means letting Vivian assume that she’s been rejected. Vivian goes to Olive for comfort (which this Comfort Food Cook-Off is strangely lacking), because the Pie Hole is closed, which worries Ned. As soon as he and Olive have their trophy, he leaves to scope out Lily and Vivian’s house, which is how he realizes that someone is in his old house across the street. It’s Chuck, and her bandaged, alive-again dad is with her. This should be an interesting conversation.

So how do you feel about Chuck’s decision to keep her dad alive—and to keep it secret from Ned? And how great are Olive and Ned as a crime-solving duo?

Best Lines

Olive: Isn’t it good to be back again? Just you and me, shoulder-to-shoulder, eye-to-eye, decorative hats fixed squarely on sweaty brows, bonding in the fiery kiln of competition that forges men’s souls!
Ned: We’re baking pie, Olive.

“Don’t be pecking me, woman. That’s the peck of cahoots, which we are definitely not in.” —Emerson

“Winning would make an excellent cover.” —Olive

“It’s like imagining us as hobbits. Or on jet packs. Or hobbits on jet packs!” —Olive

“I always knew one of his many massive heart attacks would do him in.” —Mrs. Likken

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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