Mark Watches ‘Pushing Daisies’: S02E04 – Frescorts

In the fourth episode of the second season of Pushing Daisies, the team solves a case while trying to solve their own loneliness issues. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Pushing Daisies.

Seriously, y’all were right: This show has pretty much everything that I love in it. IT WAS MADE ESPECIALLY FOR ME.

  • Of course, that obviously applies to the biggest theme that “Frescorts” addresses: how to deal with loneliness. It’s an important part of my own work and life, especially since I was the weirdo who couldn’t fit in while in junior high and high school.
  • But let’s deal with some other aspects of “Frescorts” before we get to the heavy stuff. For instance, there’s the fact that this episode largely focuses on Emerson instead of the other three characters, and this includes BABY EMERSON.
  • I’ve also noticed that mothers play a far bigger role in this show than the fathers do. We don’t see Emerson’s father at all. Chuck’s father died, and it turns out that her mother played the most important part in her life. Ned’s abandonment issues stems from what his father did, and he was far closer to his mother.
  • Anyway, I am so pleased with Calista Cod, and her interactions with Emerson are all incredible. The two are just meant to be. It’s also nice that Emerson’s past is entirely positive! Calista has been a force for good in his life, and I adore that she supports and loves him. That’s why it’s so hard for Emerson to deal with knowing that he’s been lying to her for seven years.
  • That’s also a big part of the conflict in “Frescorts” for these characters. They’ve all held secrets for most of their lives or they’ve had to re-adjust their own lives to accommodate the secrets that others have held. How do you maintain friendships throughout this? We’re presented, then, with a complicated set of stories that elaborates on this very idea. How can Olive and Chuck still be friends after the events of the last few episodes? How will Ned cope with the jealousy he feels as Olive and Chuck do attempt to be friends? How will Emerson get over the guilt he feels towards his best friend, his mother?
  • Unrelated to this line of questioning: The scene where Ned wakes up Joe is REALLY GROSS AND SHOCKING, but becomes hilarious in hindsight. Bless this show.
  • I admit that the idea of “frescorts” is endlessly fascinating to me. If you didn’t know, I did a six-month stint as the web guy for an escort directory service in Los Angeles. It was the highest paying job I’ve ever had, I met some of the best people ever, my employers themselves were horrible people, and it shattered pretty much every expectation and prejudice I held about sex workers. There’s a common narrative about the people who buy escorts, though, and it’s that they’re deeply lonely and sad people. I can’t speak to that, but you see that theme pop up here, too. The people buying “frescorts” are lonely in their own way, and they try to use money to fulfill that.
  • The problem here is one of projection. People like Randy Mann and Buddy Amicus foster delusions about what sort of friends they have, though Buddy’s is obviously far more severe. And there’s a different between mistakenly perceiving a friendship as more than it is and what we see here, and I’m thankful the script makes that distinction. Randy and Buddy both imagine that their frescorts have developed genuine feelings, and they do so out of desperation.
  • Then Ned comes along, and I love the way the writers compare him with Randy. It’s not lost on me that both characters have a hobby that deals with dead things. That’s clearly intentional. That’s why Ned lashes out at Randy: He sees too much of himself in Randy.
  • So, I spent a few years as a manager at Hot Topic. Did you know that company used to have brutal rules about fraternization? I don’t know if they still do, but you were not allowed to be friends with anyone you worked with. It was considered a method of combatting internal theft. You know, if you weren’t friends with anyone, then you couldn’t team up to steal from the company you worked for. I know, I know, the logic is so abysmal I’m sure your head hurts. I knew an assistant manager who was fired because he happened to show up to a show where one of his employees was at, and just the fact that they were seen in the same room outside of work was enough to get him fired. I wish I was joking.
  • ANYWAY, WHO ELSE WAS TERRIFIED THAT RANDY WAS EATING JOE? Good god, save the cannibalism for Hannibal, Bryan Fuller! Oh wait, you totally did.
  • Was I also the only one worried that Ned would touch one of the taxidermy animals? Because technically, that would bring it back to life, right?
  • Holy awkward, that locker scene! I do want Olive and Chuck to be friends, I really do! But they have so much to work out between one another, and instead of running off to be a nun, it’s clear they’d rather work shit out, you know? Granted, that’s a painful process, and the stress of being locked in a tiny locker gets to both of them, and they just let it all out. It’s awful! Despite that they do apologize to one another and reconcile their relationship, it’s also neat that the writers don’t completely wrap this up. It’s far more realistic for them to say that Olive and Chuck will have to still work on their future together.
  • HOW FUCKING SCARY IS THAT SCENE WHERE THEY WAKE UP ARES??? HOLY SHIT, WHAT THE FUCK? At least it confirms my suspicion that corpses can be woken up, but that it doesn’t transform them in any way to make conversation easy.
  • The scene where Ned offers friendship to Randy is adorable, okay? I wish we could see more of him.
  • Actually, the entire last five minutes of “Frescorts” is just too adorable for words. Digby hugs, honest revelations, duvets, and mothers… it’s too much. I’m just so into the way that this show gives us hope without constantly crushing it. It’s really the best way to get by the more morbid imagery Bryan Fuller gives us.
  • I love this show.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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