Mark Watches ‘Pushing Daisies’: S02E13 – Kerplunk!

In the thirteenth and final episode of Pushing Daisies, I hate that I had to type that sentence. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Pushing Daisies.

This is just cruel.

  • I suppose I’ll be forever bitter at the way ratings and popularity is measured by the big networks here in America. Granted, I get that Pushing Daisies was more expensive than most shows, and you can see that in every episode. This show was colorful, surreal, and inventive, and those same justifications for the higher cost are also part of the tragedy. I don’t want to spend too much time talking about how the very idea of free market economics doesn’t work, but for real, why? This show averaged (according to Wikipedia) just over 5.4 million viewers per episode during season 2, at least until ABC waited almost six months to release the final three episodes. That is so many people. Of course, all of the big media companies in America (ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, etc) have always struggled with shifting paradigms, especially as many of us turned to digital means to watch television.
  • I mean, I don’t have cable. I have had cable once since I lived at home, and that was for a year when I lived with someone else. I can’t afford. I still can’t! It’s well over $100 a month here in the Bay Area, and I have so few options that it’s not like I can choose the cheapest one.
  • Anyway, the point of this is that these networks don’t get this shit, and it angers me. I thank the TV gods that Fringe was able to last five season because good lord, I was constantly worrying I’d never get a complete story. This is one of the great tragedies of consuming media: One day, you’ll fall in love with something that never got its due.
  • That’s certainly the case with Pushing Daisies. I think I’ve communicated by intense love for this show fairly well, and then I watched this, and the whole time, I kept silently telling myself that there was more time left, that everything wouldn’t end soon, that I’d end my Pushing Daisies experience feeling satisfied and joyous.
  • Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely pleased with “Kerplunk!” because it manages to make a very emotional journey for Lily and Vivian into a murder-of-the-week mystery. That’s brilliant. Then, of course, there are the final five minutes, which I’ll sob about later. I PROMISE.
  • It’s fitting to me that the finale of this show deals with happiness because that’s been integral to a lot of the character decisions on the show. These people, like most of us, teeter between altruism and selfishness, and that has had lasting effects on where these characters have ended up. Lily chose to make Vivian happy by deferring to her when she needed to, but that also means she protected her own happiness by refusing to deal with what she’d done to Vivian in the past.
  • Ned kept Chuck alive to make himself happy, and then protected Chuck to keep her happy. But it’s not until the end of the episode that he realizes he’s been selfish the entire time.
  • More on that in a bit. The Aquacade will always be one of my favorite sets from this show. I couldn’t quite get my thought out in time while I was watching this episode, but I realized that all of Bryan Fuller’s shows had a quirky and fantastical view of American ingenuity and entertainment. Think about all the various places and jobs we’ve seen over the course of Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, and Pushing Daisies. Obviously, they’re much sillier here, but it fits the general tone of the show.
  • The Aquacade initially represents Vivian and Lily’s past, a nostalgic reminder of what they once did. But after Blanche dies by sharknado (LOL I HAD TO), it then becomes a way for them to pursue a future. Which is a difficult thing to face! But what I loved about “Kerplunk!” is that Lily realized that she could do this for her own good, that maybe it was time for her to stop feeling sad and start feeling happy.
  • Bless Chuck’s angry rant at Blanche and realizing she can’t wish her dead because she already is.
  • And bless Sid, played by Wilson Cruz, who was RICKIE VASQUEZ, my life and star. Lord, his work on My So-Called Life is my e v e r y t h i n g. Also, he was on Noah’s Arc, too!
  • I guess it was nice to see a feminine gay man of color on the show in a role where he could be who he was, and no one said HAHAHA LET’S LAUGH AT HIM. Also, it’s now my personal headcanon that Emerson realized he was bisexual after meeting Sid. The end.
  • On a more serious note, one of the more brilliant things about this episode is the introduction of Coral, who acts as a moral mirror for Lily. Like Lily, Coral cheated with her sister’s boyfriend. This secret (one of the only ones left in the show!) is a source of terror for Lily, not only because Coral has no reason to keep things to herself, but because it shows Lily just how reprehensible the act is. She can’t hide it from herself anymore, despite that she’s spent 30 years denying it. God, denial is such a strong thing!
  • I was also happy to see Chuck’s own struggle with Ned’s rules. I think that for the most part, this wasn’t intended as a finale, though I do admit it works surprisingly well as one. Obviously, it would have been great to see Chuck’s journey spread out over more episodes, but it still hit me hard regardless. She’s found happiness in the system that Ned has created, but Ned failed to realize how much of Chuck’s joy was based on being able to check up on her aunts. When his encouragement of them will possibly take them away from Chuck, she reacts. Poorly.
  • Well, Ned, does as well. They both consider sabotaging the show just to keep the people they love in their life. Which is both touching and totally unfair at the same time.
  • How great is the sequence where the Darling Mermaid Darlings dance and Ned saves them from electrocution? This show has never been one about perfect plot twists and realistic plotting in terms of resolving the murder mystery. I’ve never wanted it to be that. I instead wanted adorable scenes like Ned catching the microphone with a net while the crowd roars for him and the Darling Mermaid Darlings.
  • Which brings us to the end of this episode. The last five minutes of “Kerplunk!” are tear-inducing and wonderful, even if it felt like the quick summation at the end was tacked on once the writers realized that this was going to be it. WHICH IS FINE! But if this hadn’t been the series finale, I could have easily seen how this would have ended right when Ned agreed to let Chuck see her aunt/mother and Vivian ordered Lily out. I was actually terrified that I was about to be handed a cliffhanger, y’all.
  • And then Chuck is there, with a bouquet of flowers, and Ned’s got wine, and then we get closure. Yes, it doesn’t last long, and I will always want more, but I’m happy. I’m happy that Penny found her father. I’m happy that Olive found love AND OPENED A MAC ‘N’ CHEESE RESTAURANT. I’m happy that the Darling Mermaid Darlings got to go on tour.
  • I want so much more. I know most of y’all feel the same way. It’s a sign of how infectious and brilliant this show was. I am so glad I was horrifically wrong about being spoiled for it, because this is easily one of the best things I’ve ever seen. I’m serious, my heart still hurts when I think of Digby running through that field of sunflowers because… I just want more.
  • Thank you, friends.

Tomorrow, we start Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood for the new double-feature show! OH GOD.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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