First of all, I need to ask y'all something. Am I high? I mean, do I seem high to you? Wait. Are you high? Maybe you should be, because when I try to explain this show to you, you're going to feel high. Secondly, there are a lot of dogs on this show, which I appreciate; and third, Kristin Chenowith is crazy-short, but has huge boobs. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This show is about Ned, a pie maker (yes) who has the power to return the dead to life with a touch. No explanation is given for why he has this power, nor are the other rules explained, such as: 1) he can re-kill someone by touching them again; and 2) if he doesn't re-kill them within one minute, someone nearby has to die in his or her place. Natch? So he turns to the only sideline career available to him, after being sort of half-blackmailed by Emerson, a private detective who found out his secret. When he's not baking pies at his...pie restaurant...he and Emerson run around touching recently-murdered people, asking them (within sixty seconds) who killed them, killing them again, and then collecting rewards for solving the crimes. Is any of this making sense? Right. But I'm not even finished! So, by day, Ned hangs out with his dog -- who he has to pet with a skeleton hand on a stick in order not to re-kill him after bringing him back to life nineteen years ago -- and studiously avoids the boobalicious temptations of his pie shop waitress, the aforementioned Chenowith. Everything's going along swimmingly until...the latest murder reward becomes available and, crazily enough, the victim is his childhood beloved, Charlotte Charles, a.k.a. "Chuck," who lived next door to him growing up and was killed on a cruise ship in an alleged smuggling deal gone bad. Speaking of Chuck, it seems Ned accidentally killed her dad who was in the general proximity when Ned unknowingly brought his own mother back to life. You know, as happens. Let's see...Ned and Emerson go to enliven Chuck, planning to do their usual routine, but Ned cannot follow through. He brings her back to life and, instantly, his love for her reawakens as well. He can't re-kill her. She doesn't know who killed her in the first place, anyway. So, she makes it past the sixty-second deadline (ha!) and, in her place, a crooked funeral director dies on the john. Good riddance. Meanwhile, the team, now numbering three with the addition of Chuck, realize that her family -- two crazy, synchronized-swimming (really), cheese-loving, homebound aunts -- are in danger. The team reasons that the smuggler who killed Chuck is likely to go after the aunts (one of whom is the incomparable Swoosie Kurtz), looking for the allegedly smuggled booty. God, is anyone even still reading? Okay, so they get to the aunts' house, find out they're right, one of the aunts ends up killing the smuggler/murderer and the aunts, not realizing that Chuck has come back to life, and having collected the reward, have a new lease on life. Y'all, there aren't sentences long enough in the English language that will help me explain this any more clearly. What's weird is, it's all very charming and everyone is cute. Yes, I feel crazy, but so far, I like it.
All right, here we go. Brand-new show! When I learned I'd be recapping Pushing Daisies, I read as much as I could about it. Okay, a guy who can bring people back from the dead. Jesus-style sci-fi: I got it. As the weeks progressed, however, every new article leading up to the premiere seemed to reveal an increasing number of weird facts about the show and its characters. The main guy is a pie maker. His job is making pies. It's just on the side that he does this back-to-life, back-to-reality thing. And, by the way, he has to kill the people again within sixty seconds, or someone nearby dies. And so, his thing is to run around un-killing murder victims in order to find out who killed them and collect the reward when the murderer is brought to justice. Um...okay. And did I mention the pies? And that the show would be shot in glorious, saturated, CGI-enhanced Technicolor like you're having an acid trip inside a Betty Crocker box? Impossible as it may seem, all of that is, in fact, the case.
The one thing none of these news stories mentioned was the presence of a narrator. Now, I know audiences are sharply divided about narrators -- a lot of people hate them, and I understand all the reasons why. The thing is, those people obviously never watched Magnum P.I., the show that hooked me on narrators for life. Frankly, Magnum hooked me on a lot of things, okay? Tom Selleck. Short shorts. Dudes with mustaches. Men in uniform. Snappy theme music. Fruity cocktails. Wait. I'm sorry. I was talking about narrators. Yeah, I enjoy them, in general, even if, as we find in this program, they talk like a VISA commercial.
The great Jim Dale opens the show, telling us that Ned, the young boy we see running through an ultra-yellow field of wildflowers under a mega-blue sky is nine years, twenty-seven weeks, six days, and three minutes old. His dog, Digby, whom Ned is joyously chasing, is three years, two weeks, six something something, I'm not going to even tell you, because the DOG gets HIT BY A TRUCK at this very MOMENT and goes FLYING THROUGH THE AIR and I wasn't expecting it and it nearly killed me. Damn. Okay, so somehow Digby, though definitely dead, was not broken and mashed into a zillion bloody pieces, and when Ned rushes to his (dead) side in grief and reaches down to touch his face, a tiny lightning bolt shoots from his finger, and the dog springs back to life. "This was the moment," Jim Dale tells us, "when Ned realized he wasn't like the other children." No shit. "Young Ned could touch dead things," the narrator goes on, "and bring them back to life." Except, dun dun duuuuuunnnn, as Ned goes galloping after his newly-enlivened dog, we see a seemingly healthy squirrel drop from a tree branch, dead in the dog's place.