Pushing Daisies is so Tim Burton-esque that I looked for his name in the credits. It has all of his signature elements, bright colors, quirky special effects, slightly odd looking characters, little gimmicks, and witty bits of business about bringing the dead back to life. There is also a very Willy Wonka like voice over, but then, it is a lot like the voice over in Babe as well.
Like the Three Rules of Gremlins, there are Three Rules of Bringing the Dead Back to Life-One touch brings them back to life, another touch kills them again, don’t touch them for a minute and they stay alive, but someone else dies.
The main focus of the first episode is our Hero and his childhood sweetheart, who is known in the media as Stupid Tourist. She was smuggling Two Monkeys and was killed over them, by an unseen assailant. The unseen part is important, as Our Hero makes some money on the side by collection Reward Monies when he re-animates someone long enough for them to tell him who killed them. He just can’t bring himself to kill his childhood sweetheart, and she moves in with him. So we have two people that sort of love each other, but can never touch. There is a sickeningly sweet moment at the end of the episode where they hold hands by holding their own hands and pretending.
I could see this as a cable show, much like Dead Like Me or Six Feet Under where each episode would start with a grisly death and our Hero would then come to ask them who did this to them. And that may well be the formula here, hard to tell after only one show. But I like it.
There are a number of odd things, such as our Hero making pies for a living by re-animating dead fruits so that they are forever fresh and tasty. I know it is magic and all, but wouldn’t that make the pies impossible to digest? Not to mention that it would be a very unpleasant experience for the fruit fillings. The name of his restaurant is The Pie Hole, another over the top bit of business in a building whose roof looks like a giant pie crust. His one employee is a woman who is in love with him, but he doesn’t want to get too attached to her, just in case.
His partner for the Reward Scheme is Chi McBride from Boston Public and House, where he plays a slightly mean, but really a cupcake P.I. I like him and his character and he has a couple of funny lines.
This is a goof ball show. It is meant to be funny, even though people are dying left and right, they are all people we don’t know and don’t care about, so it’s ok. I will be interested in seeing how it plays out over the next few weeks.
The Website for Pushing Daisies is fun and quirky as well. It has a neat little count down clock that tells how many seconds until the next show. Isn’t that cute?