Pushing Daisies

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Bitterly Bad Idea

We begin with a flashback of Ned the Younger back in the day at his Boarding School for the Unloved where, because no one else will be nice to him, he is forced into friendship with another outcast, Eugene Maljandani, who is orthodonotically awkward, yes, but otherwise awesome, especially in the area of paper airplane-building. As Eugene attaches a balloon to his latest model and one of the classroom bullies goes to shoot it down with a spitball, Ned rises to the occasion and defends what turns out to be his first friend since he was dropped off at this prison. Of course, it is not to last. When he happily leaps into a pile of dead leaves, and they are reborn to utter greenness, Eugene Majandani flees in a flurry of saliva and fear, and though he returns, chalking up the incident to the leaves being magic, Ned learns the valuable lesson that happiness, born of passion, can never last.

"Through no fault of his own," Jim Dale tells us, back in the present day, "[Ned] had once again stumbled into happiness, which terrified him." And here comes his happiness: Chuck, tripping lightly up to the bar at the Pie Hole, blathering on about World Hello Day, and being cute, sure, but listen...I can't take the whimsy when it gets too chatty. Just get to the dead people. Okay...I think I need a week off. The thing is, Ned isn't tired of the whimsy. In fact, he is loving it. He loves it so much, he can't stop himself from asking, "Am I your boyfriend?" From here he diverges over the river and through the dang woods: sure, boyfriend and girlfriend may be conventional, trite labels, and yes, maybe it isn't necessary to define the relationship, and well, is she going to cut him off somewhere in here with a yes? Chuck: "Yes." Overhearing this nervous but happy exchange: Olive. And, though she decided previously that she really just wanted Ned to be happy, even if it was with Chuck, she is pained to hear the truth finally spoken. Ned, however, is sheepishly thrilled...until Chuck, with sweet sadness, mentions that today is her daddy's birthday. He would have been sixty, had he still been alive. Siiiiiiiiiigh. Being a member of the Dead Daddy Club, it ain't easy. My dad would have been sixty this year, too. Speaking of horrifying sadness, the needle has just come off the record in Ned's brain. No matter how happy he gets, any mention of Chuck's dad is going to bring him right down. "What's wrong?" Chuck asks, seeing him pale. "Nothing," Ned mutters but, au contraire. "The meaning of 'nothing' was," JD explains, "'I never told you how I inadvertently killed your father." I can't stand it that so much of this show is going to center on the inadvertent killing of Chuck's dad -- Ned didn't even know he had these powers, and would not have even realized Chuck's dad had died within any time-frame had he not looked out the window? I'm willing to suspend so much disbelief, but feeling guilty for twenty-plus years over something you didn't even do makes for some laborious plot-twisting.

Speaking of twisting: Olive is forgetting her troubles by spinning continuously on a stool at the bar. "Olive," Ned finally asks, sharply bringing her to a halt. "Where are the customers?" Olive, dizzy and dejected: "You got me." But, ah, there is one customer there waiting: Alfredo! Frankly, I am glad to see him back. Olive is getting the shaft over here, mooning after Ned who, let's just put it on front street, is weird. I mean, not that Alfredo's not weird -- no, in fact, he is delightfully weird, and loves Olive even when she stumbles off her stool to give him a long-promised macchiato and crashes into various pieces of furniture.

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Pushing Daisies

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