Pushing Daisies: “Legend of Merle McQuoddy”

10 December 2008
by R.A. Porter

A pie is simple it’s limited. Just a bit of pastry and filling. Cake is complex, layered with treasures waiting to be discovered. Which one do you choose?

Pushing Daisies is just bold enough that I believed there was a small chance Chuck would leave with her father tonight. Not forever necessarily, but at this late date it might as well be. I honestly did not know whether Chuck would choose cake or pie, so when she told Ned her spoon landed right where she was, I was glad. But I didn’t buy that her father was going to be happy about it. He’s chosen too, and his spoon is taking him, and Ned’s car, elsewhere.

In some ways I can’t fault Charles Charles. After all, he’s been brought back to life by the same whippersnapper who killed him, inadvertent though it might have been. He’s decayed so far he needs to be permanently swaddled. His daughter is alive-again and stuck on the most dangerous man in her universe.

Then there’s Ned and all his very controlling rules. Ned’s not the sort to leave much to chance or serendipity, so in his eyes not only are the rules necessary, but they are second nature. He knows he’d never touch Chuck because the rules are a part of who he is. But Charles chafes under the strictures. And Charles wants to get out of town with Chuck to take her on the adventures she’d planned as a little girl.

With a fun little broom fight in the kitchen, Ned and Charles try to stake their flags, but in the end it’s Chuck who must decide what she wants. She wants Ned so Charles ditches.

On the MoW front, we’ve got another easy one, though the killer did it for different reasons than I’d guessed.

After being lost for 10 years on a deserted island, Merle McQuoddy came home to his wife and son, but there was trouble in the lighthouse. Too much time had passed and Nora had begun a relationship with another man and joined the Notable Widows of Papen County and become dear friends with Annabelle Vandersloop. What I didn’t see coming was either having an affair with Augustus Papen.

I assumed Annabelle had killed Nora in a misguided attempt at killing Merle because she didn’t want her friend to NOT be a widow any longer.

The most interesting outcome of the MoW was the deepening of the friendship between Olive and Emerson. She helped him get over his hatred of rainy days by talking to him about his breakup and why rainy days botherered him so much. He talked to her about her resurgent feelings for Ned and told her she’d always have a place with him. Chi McBride and Kristin Chenowith have really sweet chemistry together, magnified by their extreme physical differences. Add to that Chenowith’s generosity as a performer, always making everyone else in a scene shine, and watching them together is a lot of fun.

One more thing to miss about this show.

Other thoughts:

  • I can tell you this much about the show: it takes place east of the Mississippi. TV station WNKW was on the TV.
  • The other two times the call letters WNKW have been used? The dreadful Jodie Foster movie The Brave One and Leo McGarry’s preferred radio station.1
  • I liked the quick and clever exchange between Chuck and Charles in the closet when the aunts came in. “Except for the one that’s my mother.” Whenever another show would take an hour to dole out a story, Pushing Daisies manages to jump by it in half a scene.
  • Ned quickly forgiving Chuck because he knows how he felt when he kept her alive.
  • Elliot McQuoddy motorboating the girls’ girls and their reactions to him.
  • Annabelle’s constant digs at Olive and her lack of happiness.
  • The broom fight wasn’t quite as exciting as Ned’s sword fight from season one, but still fun to watch.
  • Annabelle’s big ol’ barrel of gunpowder. I was expecting to see Elmer Fudd pop his head from behind it.

What did everyone else think?

R.A. Porter is an aspiring television writer who currently toils away in the software mines. He can be found at Sketch War, Tumblr, and stalked on Twitter.
  1. The latter is according to the Internet. How often is *that* wrong. []

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posted by R.A. Porter in → Reviews

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