Nov 3 2008 2:05am

Pushing Daisies Review: Dim Sum, Lose Some

In the latest episode, our main characters learned that “in gambling, no matter how well you know the odds, there’s always an outcome you can’t see coming.” Of course, they’re no strangers to taking risks; Ned had already gambled on both the Pie Hole and on Chuck, with happier results than he could have expected, but there’s still one thing on which he isn’t willing to take a chance: reuniting with the father who abandoned him as a boy. Though he’s had his father’s address for twenty years (via a “We’re Moving!” postcard he received at boarding school), he’s never sought him out. Then Dwight Dixon (Stephen Root) shows up at the Pie Hole, claiming to be an old friend of his father’s who is trying to find him.

Chuck and Olive take a gamble of their own and visit the address Ned gives them, hoping that they’re doing him a favor. Instead of his father, they find his twin half-brothers, parlor magicians named Maurice and Ralston. Ned is not pleased that he was so easily replaced by “Mercutio and Ribald.” More importantly, he worries that meeting them would make his father happy, wherever he is, but has a change of heart when he realizes that they were abandoned just like him. They were all baggage to their father, which the magicians demonstrate less metaphorically by performing a magic trick using two trunks, a la The Prestige.

Meanwhile, Emerson becomes involved in a murder mystery at the Chinese restaurant below his office, the Dim Sum, when he receives a fortune cookie in his take-out with the message “Help me Emerson Cod!” If you automatically added “in bed” to the end of that, you wouldn’t be far off—while investigating the death of the Dim Sum’s owner, Bao Ting (via a pipe in the kitchen, though the critical injury is more reminiscent of a Mike’s Hard Lemonade commercial than the game Clue), Emerson soon runs into the lovely Simone Hundin. Simone is a dog obedience trainer from the Season 1 episode “Bitches,” who has Emerson as well-trained as her pet Bubble Gum. As Emerson gets to the bottom of a gambling ring that substitutes food for cards in games of poker, Emerson takes a chance on romance and kindles a new relationship with Simone.

When all the facts are in, Emerson’s client, Mei, finds out that her father, Bao, was murdered after trying to win her freedom from her arranged marriage in a poker game—after losing her in the first place thanks to his gambling habit, bad luck, and a little cheating by his opponent. It seems that she didn’t know her father after all, and that his actions over the years didn’t speak for themselves. Ned also realizes it’s always been easier for him to make assumptions about his own father’s actions, rather than admit he doesn’t know why he was left behind. He decides to seek out his family, beginning with his half-brothers.

ABC certainly gambled on Pushing Daisies, but it seems that they’re losing. Ratings continue to be down from last year; although there was a slight increase to 6.6 million viewers for the October 29th episode, the show still came in fourth behind Obama’s 30-minute campaign ad last week (bad for the show, but perhaps not for the nation). E! Online reports that there’s still no pick-up for a full season after the 13th episode, and given that the show will be preempted next week for Dancing with the Stars and the following week by an awards show, things don’t look good for the series. If you enjoy Pushing Daisies, sign the petition to save it. But more importantly, WATCH IT, and tell your friends about it. Because there’s no justice in a world that keeps derivative and sloppy shows like Heroes and Knight Rider on the air when something truly special like Pushing Daisies is allowed to wither and die.

So the next episode, “Oh Oh Oh... It’s Magic” (where we learn more about Maurice and Ralston), unfortunately won’t be on until Wednesday, November 19th (hopefully!) at 8:00pm EST on ABC.

I know lots of people are less enchanted with the show than they were before, but I still think it’s enjoyable and one of the best written shows on television. There’s nothing else quite like it, and that’s more than enough reason to save it—because it’s hard to come by something this original these days. Do you think this is the end for the Pie-maker and his friends? Will you miss the show if it gets cancelled?

Laura Jackson
1. Laura Jackson

Ned had sought his father out, in fact, in the Halloween episode, and found him leading a new life with a new family. Or am I remembering it wrong?
Laura Jackson
2. Teka Lynn
Young Ned found his father with the second family while trick or treating, and chose not to initiate contact. As an adult, he has just now been introduced to and warmly embraced by his younger brothers. His father is still AWOL.

("sought", surely?)

Thank you for the alert about the petition. I've signed it. Now, if we can only ensure Matt Weinberg stays in charge of Mad Men, we'll be doing even better.
Laura Jackson
3. Blooms
I just got into the show a few episodes ago and love it! I hope it doesn't go away.
Laura Jackson
4. smonkey
oh no!
another cutesy for being cute's sake being cancelled by the big bad world!

oh save us with a petition...quick quick
like a bunny!!!!


I do like the visuals some. If only they didn't have that "Edward Scissorhands" voice over. Oh, and the characters were more interesting. And not annoying.

yeah....I'll be signing that petition any second now...
- -
5. heresiarch
This episode was great, and allowed me to figure out what I disliked so much about the last episode. Last episode, they didn't develop any ongoing story arc,* which left the whole thing feeling like a sitcom--new problems introduced at beginning of episode all solved by the end, never to be mentioned again. Boring.

This time, they mentioned/introduced GOBS of stuff that I'm excited to learn about. Ned's brothers, the mysterious liar trying to find Ned's dad (to kill him?), the totally hot Emerson/Simone hook up--yay! I'm excited again.

*Sure, they "advanced" Emerson's missing kid story with the introduction of his mom, who also vanished at the end of the episode. Net gain=0.

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