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Throwback Thursday - Pushing Daisies - Comfort Food

Throwback Thursday, a weekly article in which we look back at our favorite TV episodes from over the years.

There is no comedy series that I love more than Pushing Daisies. Not Friends, not How I Met Your Mother, not Community, not even my close second Futurama. No, Pushing Daisies is the absolute pinnacle of comedy for me, with its beautiful and unique aesthetic, its superb acting, the wonderful witty writing, editing, art and overall direction, all that it is Pushing Daisies is perfect for me, like a show that was tailor made for me. Every episode is basically a gem for me, and yet it was pretty easy to go for “Comfort Food” as the one I’d choose for this Throwback Thursday.

The episode has a strong start with its flashback to Ned’s childhood: turns out he was feeling lonely and decided to bake pies in order to feel closer to his mother. This lead to a sequence of events that unleashed a big party for all the boys that felt lonely. That sequence is glorious in every level, it’s a moment of paradise for those lost boys and everyone is having fun, so contagiously cheerful that I myself can’t help but smiling every time I watch it. But sadly, like all things, it has to come to an end. Ned and his group is found out and the fun is over. But not for us.

One of the things that makes “Comfort Food” great is the way it has fun with character pairings that weren’t so usual on the show. Ned and Olive go to a comfort food contest together, while Chuck and Emerson are off trying to tie the loose ends of Chuck inadvertently killing Dwight Dixon. The results? Pretty amazing on both sides.

One of the biggest candidates to win the contest, The Colonel, gets killed off, supposedly by heart attack. While trying to help the widow by getting The Colonel’s recipe, Ned brings him back to life and learns that he was actually murdered. And so he decides to investigate.
There is essentially no week of Pushing Daisies that is case of the week free, and the success of each and one of them comes by the way the writers handle it: while the Dwight Dixon and Chuck’s resurrected father looks like a more compelling plot line to follow, the thing is that the murder of the week formula worked wonders here. From the style, the acting and the way everything flowed, the comedy and the action just never disappointed.

Overly concerned Ned and super competitive Olive were a nice mix to have in this episode, as Olive’s mind mostly thinks about winning, while Ned himself just wants to get justice done. And it’s interesting to see him being able to pull it off on him own… well, not on his own, he couldn’t have done it without Olive.

The strength of the case of the week (and what helps make it remarkable) comes from the guest cast: Beth Grant (The Beetle, making for a Wonderfalls crossover with Pushing Daisies) and Eric Stonestreet (Leo, one of the contest’s judges) do an amazing work portraying their characters quirks and their dynamics with our main cast. (Also a shout out to Patrick Fischler, the Waffle Nazi who shone during his brief scenes).

Olive’s passive aggressive (though mostly outright aggressive) relationship with The Beetle made everything going on in the episode all the more fun, and both actress brought forth the best in each other. Even when they realized Leo killed the Colonel for the recipe in act of vengeance over getting overweight by eating his chicken, once he is put away both ladies get back into competing for the blue ribbon.

There are countless great jokes in the midst of the case of the week, Lee Pace and Kristin Chenoweth nail every single one of them and their moments together are all amazing. Though it could be tiring that the show still pushed Olive’s feeling for Ned after all this time, one doesn’t really mind, as their interactions are all great.

And then Olive sings ”The Eternal Flame”. God, how I miss Kristin’s musical numbers. Besides from being a talented actress she is a talented musician, and as with every musical number given on the show, Kristin nails it. It’s touching and it’s entertaining as Ned interrupts her dream singing sequences. It’s nice that Ned ended up by telling her “good job, partner” letting a smile slide.

The work put by the crew in all the artistic aspects of the episode shines brighter than usual, the costumes, the color, the set pieces, all of it comes together as the best the show has ever done (and that’s saying a lot) to just portray how special this occasion is.

But aside from the murder of the week, Daisies keep bringing the goodies. Keeping up with the recent Dwight Dixon storyline, after finding out that Dwight was after Chuck’s watch, Lily hopes to find him in his apartment for a not so friendly chat. He never shows up however, so she leaves a note telling her to meet on the cemetery.

The night before, Ned finally agreed on letting Chuck have 30 seconds for his father (after the 30 seconds he used to ask about Dwight) and Chuck, in act of pure impulse, put a glove on her father’s hand and tricked Ned into thinking he touched him back to death.

She hides her father on Ned’s old house and goes to Emerson filled with guilt as she knows she killed someone. Emerson Cod is the most pragmatic character in the show, even while infuriated he is able to keep his anger aside to help Chuck when she needs the most. They were an unlikely pairing on season 1, but one that paid off every time they shared a scene on season 2.

Every bit of chat Emerson and Chuck have as Chuck’s wonder if she is guilty or if she tipped the scale to her favor by killing off Dwight is amazing, their conversations are filled with witty dialogue and it becomes a thing of wonders. And of course, Lily has to step in and Chuck has to hide (but at least they managed to bury Dwight’s body already). All the sequence of events come to serve the plot, but also the comedy, which makes this episode so damn great.

After winning the contest and finding out Chuck hasn’t been on the Pie Hole, Ned makes a visit to Chuck’s aunt to know if Dwight has been seen lately, so he can cross off the list the possibility of Chuck being kidnapped. But the aunts don’t know, and they catch a glimpse of someone on Ned’s old house.

Ned runs, scared that Dwight may have took Chuck already and that he could hurt him, but what he found out hurt him more. Chuck is safe, but she has kept her father alive.
”I was going to tell you”, she says, but it’s too late, as Ned found out on his own that Charles Charle is alive. Cut to black.

There’s not enough words to describe my love for the episode (and the show as a whole, really). Absolutely everything works on every level. I remember a few years back when I was watching this episode and I was so excited for the way the plot was developing and for the way the case was being treated; funny and tight, the plot progressed and it left for another week, promising more greatness.

To this day, Pushing Daisies is a comedy masterpiece for me, infinitely creative and imaginative. “Comfort Food” is an episode that display the show’s greatest strengths and one that I can watch over and over again, and never be tired of.
If I could just forget everything about Pushing Daisies and watch it again from the beginning, now that would be heaven for me.

Grade: A

About the Author - Pablo
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing reviews for Once Upon a Time, The 100 and Halt and Catch Fire
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