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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Everything's coming up "Daisies"

Not a day goes by where I don't read an anonymous Web site comment justifying a lack of sympathy for striking writers because "all of TV sucks." Whatever side of the fence you fall on as the stalemate continues, it's ridiculous to paint striking writers with the same broad brushstroke. Yeah, "According to Jim" isn't in the same class as "30 Rock." "According to Jim" isn't even in the same class as watching a guy make armpit noises for a half hour. But even if it's just one or two shows that you end up caring about each season, there's a lot of original and entertaining programming in TV land.

Which brings me to a show I care deeply about, and hope I'll continue to care deeply about as the deliciously demented plot thickens. The freshness of "Pushing Daisies" continues to amaze me each week. I wrote in Thursday's WEEKEND section that the folks who write (er, used to write) "Daisies" must be mainlining Pixy Stix while penning scripts. Every week, you get sumptuous slices of pie and Olive Snook's (Kristin Chenoweth is sunshine personified) sugar-coated smile greeting you at 7 p.m. And if you're lucky, there's a They Might Be Giants sing-a-long tossed in for good measure.

If you like the twisted humor of "Twin Peaks," you should be watching this show. If you like Tim Burton's fanciful creations, you should be watching this show. If you like wickedly fun plot developments and well-written, rapid-fire dialogue that you actually have to pay attention to, you should be watching this show.

Consider that in last night's episode, the following happened: a polygamist dog breeder (played by "The Soup's" Joel McHale) impaled himself on a spiky brush end after repeatedly slipping on spilled - regrettably poisoned - coffee. The rest of the episode revolved around determining which of the breeder's four wives did the dirty, highly caffeinated deed, all while continuing to probe the real straw that stirs the "Daisies" drink - Ned's (Lee Pace) freakish capability to bring people back to life, and therefore, his subsequent inability to touch the love of his life; the already deceased, but breathing because of Ned abusing his powers (whew!) Chuck (Anna Friel).

I know that sounds incredibly deranged, but rehashing the entire "pie-lette" in more organized detail is somewhat moot six episodes into the season. If you're not watching the show, what you have to do is decide for yourself whether those tiny insights sound interesting enough to explore further. Then go online to and watch older episodes, or when the strike inevitably kills off spankin' new TV, hope they replay the show from the beginning and get caught-up.

Yes, the show is about dead people coming back to life. But there isn't a hint of gloom and doom to the overall premise. When a guy wakes up in the morgue with a tire mark across his forehead, he doesn't flip out at the sight of being reanimated by Ned. Instead, he answers his questions and asks for a breath mint, you know, like any dead person who was cognizant that they had just been put down for eternal rest probably would.

That's original. That's funny. That's "Pushing Daisies."

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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I just have to say, i appreciate Twin Peaks status as litmus for quality avante garde television. Long live Coop.

By Anonymous eric, At November 16, 2007 at 7:22 PM  

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