Mark Watches ‘Pushing Daisies’: S01E03 – The Fun in Funeral

In the third episode of Pushing Daisies, the next case the team deals with forces Ned to tell Chuck his worst secret. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Pushing Daisies.

OH MY GOD, THIS SHOW IS GOING TO BE SO GREAT, I SWEAR.

  • Aside from a couple weird things, this was so pleasant.
  • Y’all, this is a show where pretty much everyone dies, and I’m not full of sadness and despair? I am serious. This is such a monumental feat because who can pull off something like this? More so than with Dead Like Me, Bryan Fuller has taken a morbid topic and turned it into this whimsical, feel-good fairy tale. And the feel-good-ness of Pushing Daisies isn’t condescending, either. It reminds me of that cheery, hopeful optimism found on Friday Night Lights, only this is way more colorful. And there’s pie.
  • This show has made me crave pie more than I already did. Which was a lot!
  • So, let’s start with why “The Fun in Funeral” rules: Bryan Fuller decides not to drag the plot about Ned “killing” Lawrence beyond the third episode. I found this refreshing and exhilarating because I honestly expected this to be one of the main sources of conflict between the two for most of this short first season. Instead, he sticks Ned in front of Lawrence Schatz’s dead body and forces him to deal with the consequences. It’s a daring choice, and I think Fuller handles this (and the moral implications of the premise) with finesse and style.
  • I don’t often get to talk about the style of the shows I watch. That’s mainly due to the fact that I don’t have a visual brain; while I can appreciate visuals, it’s always been hard for me to put thoughts relating to that in words. I think that’s also why I would ever purposely pursue a job writing films or a television show? Because I can imagine scenes in my head, but I can’t describe them in a way to provide direction for someone to film it. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? Like, the only example I have is that I once tried to help someone write an issue of their comic book, and I could come up with the story, but I was absolute shit at trying to help with anything artistic at all. That doesn’t mean I’ve sworn it off, and I’m sure I just need to actually practice it, but for now, I’ll stick to the written word.
  • Regardless, I really think the visuals in Pushing Daisies are important to develop the tone of the show. My god, that shot of the aunts’ house is so gorgeous, and it reminded me of some of the more beautiful neighborhoods in Southern California, with the stunning blue sky in the summer beating down on colorful works of architecture. (Though I’ve since discovered that San Francisco and Oakland have even more colorful houses here. IT’S SO LOVELY.)
  • There are quite a few shots that give the show this cartoon-ish feel, but I don’t mean that the show feels childish. No, it’s otherworldly. That’s the only way I know how to describe it. It’s set in our world, yes, but at times, it’s like Fuller has tipped the Pushing Daisies universe into an alternate reality, and it really helps to smooth the edges of some of the more disturbing ideas that are built into this world.
  • I mean, there’s actually a lot of suspense that comes with what Ned does! Yeah, the sixty-second rule is absolutely arbitrary, but how great is that scene where they accidentally close Lawrence inside his coffin as Emerson runs away? The tone, the colors, and the humor all distract us from the fact that this show is all about dead people and the inevitability of mortality.
  • Chuck, then, provides the emotional exception of this rule, and she fits inside the fairy tell in this sense. At the same time, Fuller avoids so many trope pitfalls with her character. She has agency. She chooses to be a part of these investigations. She chooses to find her own way around Ned’s rule about contacting her aunts. (That’s a common theme across all three of Fuller’s shows, actually. George, Jaye, and Chuck all decide that they can do whatever they want. They face repercussions of what they’ve done, but they still harbor a resentment for the establishment.) She chooses to develop romantic feelings for Ned. Amidst an impossible arrangement, she and Ned found a way to be affectionate for one another. I am not sorry to say that I was giddy when the two kissed through that plastic wrap. Y’all, it’s too much. Too much.
  • This exploration of a forbidden romance made possible allows Fuller to address the elephant in the room: Ned killed someone indirectly by allowing Chuck to live. I mean, yes, there’s still that other elephant in the room, but I feel like Chuck is far more sympathetic to the reality of Ned’s powers now that she knows what he’s capable of. Plus, he was a kid! It’s not like he did it on purpose!
  • Still, through “The Fun in Funeral,” we get to see Ned deal with the moral result of what he’s done. Was it worth it to send Lawrence to his death? Does that make him a bad person for preferring that Chuck live over Lawrence? It’s a complicated moral issue! And I’m happy that Ned gets to examine his own conscious while Chuck gets to decide how she feels about her new existence, too. Both of their thoughts matter, and that is just so lovely.
  • Which is why it’s just so jarring that this show uses the whole drugging trope as a positive thing. Can writers everywhere stop including nonconsensual drugging as a plot when they don’t acknowledge how fucked up it is? Look, I know I take this shit personally, but it’s a terrible thing to experience. It’s not a whimsical adventure! For me, though, it didn’t ruin Olive’s story. Oh gosh, I just feel so bad for her because unrequited love is the worst. But Olive gets a chance to do something with her grief, and I like that it really doesn’t have anything to do with Ned. She reaches out to people with the gift of pie. That’s awesome.
  • EXCEPT NOW SHE’S GOING TO FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT. She knows Chuck isn’t dead, though not for the reason she thinks. Shit! Shit! I have a feeling this is going to continue playing out in future episodes.
  • Okay, I don’t even know that I have a specific complaint yet, but did anyone else find the flashback with Wilfred Woodruff to be… like, horribly racist? Or at least immensely unfortunate? It was really uncomfortable to watch. Wilfred Woodruff himself wasn’t as bad, but lord, what was I watching?
  • Otherwise, I really dug this episode. Ned and Chuck feelings! The aunts looking fabulous! Emerson generally having all of the funny lines! Digby! Ugh, this show is great, y’all.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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