Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pushing the daisy envelope

The critics are rooting for Pushing Daisies as one of the most creative entries in the fall TV line-up. Hoping spiritual significance would flower in a show about a piemaker who can bring dead people back to life, I tuned in. Last night's premiere had a lot of visual fun, very 60s-mod looking colors. There was less verbal fun, altho parts of the script crackled more than others. I loved the deadpan of Chi McBride, who plays Emerson Cod, Ned's private investigator partner. It reminded me overwhelmingly of the film Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, with visual exaggeration and above all a narrator, whose ubiquitous drone annoyed me. Ned the baker's Pie Hole restaurant also reminded me strongly of the bakery in the whimsy-romance film Stranger than Fiction. Leftover set? I prefer whimsy to fantasy, because the latter can easily shade over to allegorical. And I love it that weird stories can ask large questions and be quite disarming about it. At the moment I prefer Stranger than Fiction; its conceits and concerns with love and imagination were familiar and yet quite fresh. By comparison, Pushing Daisies is pretty far out there, certainly for mainstream TV. Usually cable TV is the home of metaphysics.

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