Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weir Pulls Through And Daisies Push Back

Some have taken exception to my recent take on and subsequent comments about Pushing Daisies.

First, let me just say that I am generally not one to judge or criticize the opinions of others. If anything, I think I should be criticized for writing ineffective sarcasm and 'all-in-fun' digs. That's really what I was doing - taking some good natured jabs at some of my favourite readers and fellow bloggers. So...apologies and bygones?

But I will continue to 'dig my grave'.

Excessively repetitive narration aside, Daisies is a charmingly delightful premise...for a movie. And so it was with some pleasure I read this recent TV Guide article that revealed the premise of the show came from an unrealized storyline for creator Bryan Fuller's earlier series Dead Like Me.

Because that's exactly how it feels, like an episode (or movie) with it's own set of particular rules and regulations that can play out and get resolved over an hour or two. Kind of like Amélie (a film Daisies is oft compared to, and a film I liked a lot...but not sure I'd like to see it as a series). And my fear is Daisies the series is ultimately a convoluted one-trick pony that will continue to feel more and more circular and repetitive until it strangles on its own roots.

See..I'm not criticizing your taste...I'm simply trying to help you see some of the problems now so when you start to become bored and annoyed you won't be so surprised. I'm a helper, not a hater!

More examples you say? Well, one of the overriding arc questions of Pushing Daisies is: "What if you find the person of your dreams, the love of your life, and you can't touch them?" Well, Ned and Girl Chuck seem to be managing just fine if you ask me, even if they can't touch. Perhaps if Girl Chuck hadn't seemed so open to jump into Ned's life, the series might have the potential for legs. Like if she found him kind of annoying but they were forced to work as a team (kinda like Moonlighting) instead of being just so darn pleased to be together and holding hands with plastic wrap or hazmat gloves.

Furthermore, last week Girl Chuck finds out someone has to die if Ned doesn't put them back in Coffinville after one minute. Big dilemma and conflict, right?, because it's a fantasy show where dead people come to life and pie makers make pies in the Pie Hole. So Girl Chuck accepts it, and everything's okay. Next up plot-wise, we just know Girl Chuck will find out that her father was 'taken' when Ned didn't send his mother back to the Reaper in know, back when Ned was ten...and didn't understand how the rules worked...and all of the rest of it --- how can they play this for any sort of drama?

Ned had no idea what he was doing way back when...and if Girl Chuck's going to hold that against him and leave him, well, she'd be a b*tch and then there's no show anymore. So that won't happen. And if he ever should accidentally finger her (which already should've happened), Girl Chuck dies and the show is more or less over. Thus that's also not going to happen either. So say the rules of long running TV series.

And speaking of the rules, I'm still wrapping my head around them for Daisies. Ned touches someone/anyone? and they are toast? Or is it just if he touches dead people, they come back to life? Okay, let's say it's just dead people that are affected. So if he touches dead people, they come back to life for a minute. And then he can touch them again and life/death rights itself. But if he doesn't kill them again with his finger of death, someone else's life in close proximity gets taken, right? But then Ned can't touch them again or they die (and the taken person from before comes back to life again? I guess not, since Girl Chuck's dad didn't come back to life, but then there isn't balance again is there).

Confused yet? Well, you should be...this show just has way too many 'Hmmm, now wait a second...' moments. Like how flowers seem to die when Ned brings dead, rotten fruit back to life to make his wonderful pies...but how does he know it will be flowers? Why couldn't it be, say...customers? And didn't this 'gift' all start when young Ned's dog died and young Ned touched the dog and it came back to life...and we're supposed to believe young Ned never touched the dog again until the incident with his mother?

Bottom line...I'm having a hard time suspending disbelief, and I'm hard pressed to get invested in what might happen to the characters since I feel the show has already painted itself into a corner and really has nowhere to go.

So in answer to the haters...I get why you like this show and believe me, I do understand what's there to like (charm, whimsy, feelgoodiness) --- it's just I have a little bitty problem with Pushing Daisies being sold as a TV 'series'.

My other point was that this fall season has really been pretty underwhelming overall. And I feel that a lot of 'fans of TV', myself included, perhaps have been giving some shows more praise and kudo's than the shows actually deserve in an effort to find something they can swoon for.

But to each their own, that's how we roll. Hell, I'm not afraid to admit I like watching golf (Canada's Mike Weir won his first tourney in over 3 years today...yay!). Yes, I find enjoyment in viewing one of the most sleep-inducing pro sports ever to be televised.

Mileage, as we all know...does vary.


Diane Kristine said...

It doesn't matter to me at all if you dislike Pushing Daisies - criticize away. I fear a serious lack of imagination in people who can't see any potential for dramatic and comedic complications in this premise, but whatever. Why would I care if it peters out in the future when I love it so much now?

You dug your grave (and if I had Ned's powers, I wouldn't help you out of it) not by disagreeing with our opinion, but negating our right to have one. It squashes any kind of civilized discussion when you accuse people who disagree with you of not really having the opinion they profess to have, and it sure didn't seem like a joke, since you still seem to think people are piling on the praise out of desperation.

I loved Amelie - I've watched it many times and will watch it many more, and I've watched each episode of Pushing Daisies a couple of times now. It pushes every single one of my romantic comedy, black/silly/whimsical humour buttons. So it's not that I'm desperate for something different, it's that I feel like I've discovered a long-lost old friend.

And the rules behind the powers have been explained succinctly every episode now. It's not that complicated. Realistic? No. But who's watching this show for realism?

DMc said...

I gotta say, Will, that my reservations about the show were purely of the, "how do you replicate the tone when you have a weekly ep budget and no Sonnenfeld?"

But I just watched no. 3 on the weekend, and it looked pretty ok for me. Yeah, there's a lot of narration, but you either buy that or you don't.

i think now PD is just at the same threshold as every show -- where do you go, how do you extend and keep generating stories.

And now I'm purely given over to loving the characters and looking to settle back and enjoy the ride. They made Winnie the Pooh jokes. The colors, the sweetness -- sure it's twee. But it makes me happy.

After giving Dirty Sexy Money another catchup, I have to say that my new show loves are down to 3 -- PD, Journeyman, and Life. PD is the only one that seems to be doing ok in the ratings. I'm gonna stick with it, because it's just not like anything else I've ever seen. And that mix of the joyful and the sad is ... well. It's fuckin me, isn't it.

"Sorrrry, haytaaa!"

I'm kidding. I don't think yo'ure a hater. But good god man, telling Diane Kristine what she's thinking? What were YOU thinking? :)

Juniper said...

I agree with DMC! Kiss and make up already! [You did say you were a lover not a fighter, er... helper not a hater!]

Re-reading the comments I can now see the good-natured jibe - not the end to democracy. Maybe you need a cute smiley face icon.... gack!

When did your posts stop having musical quotes? Weird, I just realized that it wasn't there when I started to sing "....all we are saying, is give peace a chance...."


jimhenshaw said...

Sorry, I'm confused. Did the Daisy guy touch Mike Weir and bring him back to life or was the PGA tour in the proximity of him not touching somebody else and some of them died so Mike could win?

The_Lex said...

Was there really hatin' going on? I was just reacting because I like to hear myself talk. ;b

wcdixon said...

Heck, I didn't even realize I was telling anybody to 'think' anything!

"whateva' I'll do what I want."

Moving on, I think 'Life' is next up on the analysis list. I'm still digging it as well.

Good Dog said...

Will, interesting to hear that the show was based on a storyline for the (excellent) Dead Like Me.

I agree with what you're saying. I just couldn't get into it. And the voice-over kinda bugged me. Actually, it bugged me a whole lot.

Still, if some folk are getting it, I hope they're enjoying it.

Life... Oh, I'm loving that. The one thing that has be scratching my head is... how tall were the cast of Deadwood? Were they giants or was Robin Weigert standing in a trench all the time?

Because she's massive in Life!

Tim Thurmeier said...

I'm enjoying Life, but every time I see Crews, I can't help but think of Lt. Winters (or I guess he ended up being Maj. Winters) from Band of Brothers. Which isn't necessarily bad, cause BoB was fantastic. It was like seeing David Boreanaz in Bones, when I knew him from Buffy/Angel. Adjustment period I guess.

On an unrelated note, does anyone else wish Heroes would just focus, even for one episode, on less than 5 different storylines? I swear this last episode today, during the last 5 minutes we skipped through every single storyline. I want another episode like "Company Man".