Mark Watches ‘Pushing Daisies’: S01E05 – Girth

In the fifth episode of the first season of Pushing Daisies, Olive, Chuck, and Ned all face ghosts from their own past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Pushing Daisies.

Gods, this is great.

  • Already we get a Halloween episode of Pushing Daisies! I LOVE HALLOWEEN. And ghost stories! And the exploration of what it means to have a secret! And to feel like your past is “haunting” oneself! And adorableness everywhere!
  • Seriously, this show just makes me feel good. I’d say all of Bryan Fuller’s shows are in stark contrast to what I normally watch. (Though, upon saying that, I don’t find The West Wing to be all that bleak at all, either.)
  • First of all, Kristin Chenoweth is incredible in “Girth.” She balances humor, sadness, and fear like a goddamn pro, which I already expect from her because she’s so wonderful. The show itself manages to walk the line between being campy and being endearing, and I think Chenowith’s performance here is indicative of that tone. But it’s also an important journey for her character! As she struggles with the internal fight she’s having regarding Chuck’s secret, the writers take her back to her own past so that she can empathize with what it’s like to have to carry a secret within yourself.
  • Of course, this is done in a totally over-the-top story involving a ghost horse that spits fire and tramples jockeys to death. And yet, it all fits! It’s hard for a show to hop around in different genres, and Pushing Daisies does it well. It reminds me of how much fun it was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time because that show could experiment with so many genres without losing sight of the feel of it all.
  • So, while Olive is afraid of how her past is coming back into her life, Ned journeys back to his own tragic past. I really don’t think I can come up with a better word than “tragic” to describe what his childhood was like. It was sad enough that his mother died twice, that he accidentally killed his childhood crush’s father, and that he was sent to a boarding school, far away from Chuck. No, that’s not enough. “Girth” reveals that NED’S FATHER LEFT NED AT SCHOOL AND STARTED A NEW FAMILY. Oh my god. OH MY GOD. How??? How could you do that to someone? How could abandon your son like this???
  • Can I also point out that this episode very specifically explains what a trigger is, and then has Chuck offer to take down the decorations so that she doesn’t trigger him further? I am so tired of hearing assholes on the Internet (who tend to be Men’s Rights Activists, which surprises absolutely no one) say that life doesn’t have trigger warnings, so why should we use them? Hell, nearly every time I use them on Tumblr or on this site, I get a PM or an email decrying their use and explaining how irritating they are. First of all, if the existence of one bolded sentence that doesn’t apply to you or affect your life in any measurable way is enough to inspire you to email me your whining, then just get the fuck off my site. Please. I don’t care. Secondly, if you don’t have triggers? They are literally not for you. That’s like yelling at a company for putting allergen warnings on their food product because you wish the space was used for something else.
  • Anyway, there you have it. This episode demonstrates what a trigger is. Now you know!
  • Chuck deals with her own secret, too, and I am so appreciative how the writers are dealing with every issue as it’s brought up. I thought that Olive might keep Chuck’s secret to herself after learning it in “The Fun in Funeral,” but here it is, brought out in the open, and by the end of the episode, every character has discussed it. I know that this is a short season and it was probably designed that way, but lord, it feels so consistent. Given that I just watched two shows that were given twenty-two episode runs, having a nine-episode-long season is really refreshing! That doesn’t mean I am already sad at the thought that this show was prematurely cancelled, but… oh god, I hope y’all understand what I mean.
  • In case you don’t watch this commission, I’ve made a request: Can we get one those huge Tumblr-esque collages of every single instance that Emerson’s face says, “Yeah, I am so fucking done with every single one of you”? Because that’s a thing this fandom needs. Right now.
  • Hey! It’s the same actress who played Joy’s mother on Dead Like Me! Huzzah! And she is just as great here.
  • I’d like to also attempt to comment on the show’s design, even if that’s something I’m bound to mess up because visuals confuse me, but LOOK AT MAMMA JACOBS’S HOUSE. Who painted that? That set is brilliant, especially since the saccharine environment harbors two devastating secrets: John Joseph Jacobs is alive and living in the basement, and Mamma Jacobs is the one actually committing the murders.
  • Which, for the record, was something I predicted correctly mere minutes before it was revealed!
  • So yeah. Why didn’t Chuck and Olive stay inside the house? Or go upstairs? Horses can’t climb staircases like that.
  • Okay, now I’m nitpicking for the sake of it. I got a feeling that Chuck and Olive came to an understanding with one another. A small one, mind you, but Chuck is so appreciative that Olive didn’t tell her aunts about Chuck being alive. Plus, after what Olive goes through here, she knows how painful it is to have a secret forced out into the open.
  • I remain emotionally confused because I love Chuck and Ned as a couple, and then I am terribly sad that Olive’s love isn’t reciprocated. Like, one of these people is going to end up unhappy, and that’s not fair. 🙁
  • Everything is unfair. 🙁
  • Sad faces. 🙁

The video commission for this episode is now archived on for just $0.99!

Mark Links Stuff

– I have redesigned! Check out this post explaining the new changes, which includes the start of a permanent archive of all Mark Watches videos!
The Mark Does Stuff Summer Tour is happening soon! Check out the posted dates, suggest new ones, help bring me to YOUR TOWN.
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
- Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
- Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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