Mark Watches ‘Pushing Daisies’: S01E08 – Bitter Sweets

In the eighth episode of the first season of Pushing Daisies, the team quickly investigates the strangling death of a local man, only to discover that their real problem is a competitor who moves in across the street. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Pushing Daisies.

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I am so completely in love with this show and the joy/pain it gives me. Holy shit, how did I never watch this??? My friend was right: This show is perfectly suited to my tastes, and I am so floored that I get to watch it with all of you.

  • The cold open of “Bitter Sweets” is what sets up the titular theme of this episode: Ned’s happiness will always have a bittersweet aftertaste to it. I think that this show has done a fantastic job showing us how his power is both a blessing and a curse. It’s fascinating that the writers chose to make Ned a humble and unassuming person instead of someone who uses his power for some nefarious purpose. That’s at the heart of his refusal to engage in a war with Dilly Balsam. It’s not like him to confront others, to use violence, to seek out power. Hell, we even see him refuse a confrontation with Burly Bruce Carter twice. It’s not in his nature!
  • I knew something was going to be different about this episode once Tony DiNapoli’s murder was solved in just under twelve minutes. UM, THERE’S LIKE HALF AN HOUR LEFT. How? HOW???
  • It’s through this that the writers introduce the Balsams: Dilly and Billy. MOLLY SHANNON, HELLO. Oh god, she’s so perfect.
  • Dilly Balsam is pretty much the polar opposite of Ned, especially since she seeks out competition. So what does Ned do when the very thing he refuses to do is preventing him from keeping his beloved business alive? That’s why this is all bittersweet. There’s a negative aspect to every positive part of Ned’s life. He’s sweet and refuses to fight people, but that leaves the Pie Hole vulnerable to Dilly’s attacks. He loves and cherishes Chuck, but is terrified that she won’t love him if he tells her how he incidentally killed her father. You know, I really think Chuck would understand if he had told her, but now that he’s gone so much time without doing it, it’s not going to look good on his part.
  • Anyway, more on that in a bit. Let’s talk about Olive! This episode gives her a clear vision of a possible future for her, only to take it away at the end. (Or, rather, to delay it for a long time.) She’s been so obsessed with pining over Ned that it doesn’t occur to her that she should pursue anyone else instead. Yet she all but straight up admits that when she’s talking with Chuck as the two of them break into Bittersweets. Which is actually a neat scene beyond the fact that the two of them are hilarious to watch, mind you. They both don’t want to fight over Ned, and Chuck is entirely sympathetic to the idea that she may have made Olive feel bad by being with Ned.
  • On top of that, I’m glad that the writers didn’t take Alfredo’s story in some weird, stalker-y direction. Instead, this becomes about Olive realizing her own attraction to Alfredo, but only once he’s left town. Now, I get that Olive’s story is played fairly exaggerated, but I think that speaks more to the over-the-top style of the show than anything else. But I’ve developed sudden, overnight attractions before. I’m sure of you have, too, where you realize that someone you’ve known for a while is instantly hot? ISN’T THAT A WEIRD FEELING? IT IS. Oh god, that happened to me once a few years ago with a coworker who I had never found attractive, then I had a dream where I made out with them, and the horrible, awkward attraction was born. What are you doing to me, subconscious?
  • Dilly’s war against The Pie Hole gets worse and worse, and now I’m wondering if there is ever going to be a day when Olive is let in on Ned’s secret. Because holy shit, that health inspection scene would have gone so much better if she’d known! I don’t really understand why Ned hasn’t told her yet.
  • AND THEN THERE IS A MURDER MYSTERY IN THIS EPISODE, AND IT’S THE SECOND ONE. Holy shit, you know what’s great about this? Well, aside from the really good story. It’s the fact that you are led to believe that Dilly is clearly the killer. AND THEN SHE’S NOT. AND SHE REALLY DOES MISS AND CARE FOR HER BROTHER, ESPECIALLY SINCE HE REPRESENTS HER CONQUERING HER FEAR. Oh god. Yes, she’s super mean for a lot of this episode, but I’m happy that isn’t the only aspect of her character.
  • OLIVE’S PIE WITH THE GUN BAKED INTO IT. I CAN’T.
  • I haven’t praised the coroner enough. I would love an episode solely about him.
  • I JUST REMEMBERED A THING. Lars and the Real Girl. THAT IS THE NAME OF THAT MOVIE. Oh god, it’s weird and strangely touching?
  • Okay, let’s talk about it. Let’s do it. Ned comes to a decision (initially, at least) after spending some time with Burly Bruce Carter: You can achieve happiness by lying to yourself. Well, Burly Bruce Carter did, even if it is a delusion. And I really thought Ned was going to stick to that, at least for the time being. So yeah, I was shocked when he blurted out the truth to Chuck. Like, DON’T END THE EPISODE THERE. WHAT DOES HER EXPRESSION MEAN? IS SHE JUST MOMENTARILY SHOCKED BUT SHE’LL RECOVER? OR IS THERE NO HOPE? OR WHAT??? STOP IT. STOP IT.
  • Damn it, y’all. What have you done to me???

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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