Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pushing Daisies

Pushing Daisies, the screwball comedy that comes in candy-fruit colors, returned for the first of its final three episodes. All was right with its world: there were two murders to be solved, but also a new complexity between the show's essential romantic triangle of pie-maker Ned, his love Charlotte "Chuck" Charles, and Olive, the Pie Hole restaurant waitress. Plus extensive study of the double-negative as a clue to the true meaning of love.
Personally, any time a major subplot involves Kristin Chenoweth's Olive, the happier I am with Daisies, and last night's was Chenowonderful. We saw a glimpse of Olive's childhood (unloved, neglected) and met two men who were once accused of kidnapping her. They were played, to my delight, by George Segal and Richard Benjamin (two stalwarts of 1970s cinema and television -- look them up on YouTube in Johnny Carson-era Tonight Show videos, and in films such as Blume in Love and Goodbye, Columbus). Both men played these two shady characters (not really kidnappers but petty thieves) as slapstick bumblers.
Meanwhile, back at the Pie Hole, Olive was being courted by David Arquette's Randy Mann. Olive, of course, spent much of her time mooning over eternally-unattainable Ned, parsing his every remark for signs of affection. (That's where her study of the double-negative in grammar came in.) When Ned kissed Olive, we got a brief, lovely musical number, with Olive/Chenoweth trilling the Lionel Richie hit "Hello," a song I thought I never wanted to hear again until that moment.

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