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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

‘Pushing Daisies’ blogging: “Oh Oh Oh… It’s Magic” (and yes, it’s cancelled)

(previous: Episode 5: “Dim Sum, Lose Some”)

Do you smell pie? I smell pie. Mmmmm, pie…

[spoilers after the jump!]
I’m so sad today, because today we got the news: Pushing Daisies has been cancelled. It will end after episode 13, on a cliffhanger, according to creator Bryan Fuller at E! Online today. Fuller also says:

[ABC president] Steve McPherson called me, and said “We gave it the best shot we could.”

Bullshit. Before last night’s episode — which I’ll get to in a moment — ABC had not aired an episode for three weeks. That’s not “giving it the best shot we could.” That’s not caring if anyone’s watching, and particularly not caring about those who would like to be watching.

I almost feel like there’s no point in continuing to watch — why should I bother when I know I’m going to be disappointed in the end, and be left without resolution to the multithreaded character arcs the show has been weaving? Why compound the disappointment I’m feeling now?

But of course I’ll watch because there’s so little else worth watching at the moment. And because I get such immense pleasure merely from listening to the language and the clever word play. No other show sounds like this, and maybe only Firefly was similar in how it tickles the ear. With each episode, I have to resist the urge to simply transcribe the whole damn thing and say, “Look? Can you hear how amazing and weird and wonderful this is?” A few of my favorite gems from this episode:

• “Those little bastards my father was cheating on me with.” –Ned, describing his half brothers
• “There’s sequins and drama and the promise of bloodshed.” –Chuck on the appeal of magic shows
• “I’m not made of hugs.” –Hermann
• “If you’ll excuse me, the county bridge-and-tunnel folk have arrived dor the nine-o’clock.” –more Hermann
• “The Great Hermann had a dedicated fanbase of barnacles, corals, and oysters.” –one of the twins

That’s all just so odd and beautiful. The people writing this stuff deserve to be given awards and chocolate and hugs, not the boot. Particularly whoever came up with “Cementia!” That’s genius.

And the ideas these writers invent: Chuck crankcalling her mother. Olive pulling the spike from the geek’s nose. Dwight in the UN peacekeepers, like it’s some sort of modern equivalent of the French Foreign Legion. The dead monkey in the freezer surrounded by ice cream. An actual depiction of Chuck’s conception. The “conversation” between Chuck and her aunt/mother. Simply brilliant, every single one of them. And these are all jammed into one episode. It’s madness to cancel this show. Madness.

Poor Ned! He’s never been so bitter as he is here. Maybe he knew cancellation was coming.

(Watch full episodes at ABC’s official site for the show.)

(next: Episode 7: “Robbing Hood”)


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