Pushing Daisies: Candy-Coated Family Friendly?

Pushing Daisies is one of our favorite shows on TV right now — wonderfully quirky, and often feels to me like what might have happened if _Edward Scissorhands_-era Tim Burton had gone into television. The Disney Weblog has been doing weekly wrapups, and something about this week’s review got under my skin a little bit.

[Pushing Daisies][1] is one of my favorite shows on TV right now — wonderfully quirky, and often feels to me like what might have happened if _Edward Scissorhands_-era Tim Burton had gone into television. [The Disney Weblog][2] has been doing weekly wrapups, and something about [this week’s review][3] got under my skin a little bit.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pushing_Daisies “Wikipedia: Pushing Daisies”
[2]: http://thedisneyblog.com/ “The Disney Blog”
[3]: http://thedisneyblog.com/2008/10/23/frescorts-pushing-daisies/ “The Disney Blog: Frescorts (Pushing Daisies 2.4)”

(Since what follows hinges upon the final shot of the show, I’ll pop it under the cut to avoid spoilers…)

From the review:

> …Ned and Digby spend the evening eating pizza bachelor style.
>
> OH. UNTIL CHUCK ENTERS THE APARTMENT WEARING NOTHING BUT A QUILT and then DROPS IT in front of Ned. Good grief. I’d love to say more, but I’ll save it for my blog. I just don’t get why a candy coated family friendly show would need to have that scene? I don’t even want to think about what Ned and Chuck did after dropping the quilt. Double ew.
>
> […]
>
> And I really was sad about the naked Chuck scene. And Ned’s overjoyous face. (Still shaking my head trying to stop my brain from thinking about where they went next.)

(The following is a somewhat edited version of my comment on the posted review.)

I’ve got to admit, I’m a little confused by the reaction to the final scene of the show, and by the characterization of the show as ‘candy coated family friendly.’ Sure, there’s the bright color pallete and quirky dialog, hence the candy coating…but this is also a show that deals with death every week. Chuck _was_ dead and will be again if she and Ned ever happen to touch, and every week there’s another death, frequently a murder, sometimes multiple murders (last week’s death toll was around ten — nine (?) clowns and a mime — and this week we had two stabbings and a girl getting crushed to death).

The show doesn’t exactly shy away from the gruesome, either — sure, it’s not the blood splatter of many of the less candy-coated crime dramas, but we did get treated to spouting jets of formaldihyde (however that’s spelled) this week. That was _quite_ cringe-worthy for both Prairie and me.

And yet, all that rates as ‘candy coated family friendly,’ while a brief closing shot of two consenting adults who love each other taking the opportunity to get as intimate as possible (given that they can’t actually touch) rates condemnation and disgust? Personally, I find healthy (and imaginative) sexuality _far_ more ‘family friendly’ than murder, and have never understood why, as a culture, we in the United States are far more accepting of letting our children familiarize themselves with violence and murder than with a healthy outlook on sex.

(Okay, that’s enough comment cut-n-paste.)

I couldn’t find any record of the rating that the show is given, but I believe that it’s television’s equivalent of PG-13, and, in my opinion, deservedly so. In addition to the persistent themes of death and murder, there’s a lot of adult-level lewdness in all that quirky dialog, from Ned’s shop being named ‘The Pie Hole’ to character names (such as David Arquette’s hilarious “Randy Mann” in this episode). One of the two clients who first brought this week’s case to the agency was a woman who was quite frank about being only seen as a face and pair of breasts (appreciatively by men, not so appreciatively by women). And, while my work schedule kept me from seeing most of Pushing Daisy’s first season, Prairie tells me that the show’s had fun finding ways for Chuck and Ned to get as physical as they can — is it _really_ that surprising to infer that they might have actually seen each other in the buff at some point? And enjoyed it? And might even want to do it again?

Enjoy the bright colors, gorgeous sets, and rapid-fire off-kilter dialog all you want (I certainly do), but don’t lose sight of what’s actually _happening_ in the show. In its own wonderfully oddball way, it’s a crime show. It’s not a dark, brooding, gritty, realistic crime show, but it is _certainly_ a show aimed primarily at adults, with adults as characters, who will occasionally do adult things.

Personally, I thought the ending scene was quite cute. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what happened after the comforter dropped, and fully support Chuck and Ned in their playtime. Just ’cause they can’t play _with_ each other shouldn’t mean they can’t _play_ with each other!

Author: djwudi

Enthusiastic ambivert. Geeky, liberal, friendly, curious, feminist ally; trying to be a good person. (he/him)

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