Thursday, November 8, 2007

Season 1 Episode 3
“The Fun In Funeral”
Written by Bryan Fuller
Directed by Paul Edwards

We kick off with a flashback to Ned’s time in private school, immediately following his mother’s death, where he quickly establishes the whole one-minute window deal by experimenting on some CGI fireflies.
We then settle down to the heart of this episode’s matter: Louis Schatz (Brad Grunberg, real-life brother of Heroes’ Greg), brother of Lawrence (also played by Grunberg), suspects foul play in his brother’s death, and hires Emerson to get to the bottom of it.
Here are the facts: the dead Schatz brother was caught pilfering family heirlooms from the funeral home’s clients, a crime which was made public, causing a furor and an avalanche of hate mail demanding items back. Louis suspects that Lawrence was murdered by one of the disgruntled family members.
What no one knows, except for Emerson and Ned, is that Lawrence was the unfortunate living being-in-close-proximity when Chuck was not returned to her deceased state after the one minute window.

Emerson tries to get Ned to interview Lawrence without Chuck present, but she manages to be at the morgue. When Ned sees who the dead body is though, he panics and rushes out. Annoyed, Emerson makes it clear to Chuck what keeping her around cost. Chuck, confused and guilty about the circumstances of her return from the dead, keeps her emotional distance from Ned.
Later on though, Chuck says she’d like Ned to talk to Lawrence, and she’d like to be there too, so Ned can apologize, and she can say “Thank you.” (Emerson, of course, wants to be there so he can find out where all the family heirlooms are, so he can make some kind of profit from all of this.)

When they talk to Lawrence though, it turns out that it’s Louis who knows where the heirlooms are, and the whole investigation was to throw suspicion off him. Chuck also finds her father’s watch in Lawrence‘s possession.
Emerson is just getting down to planning Louis‘ surveillance, hoping he’ll find out where the loot is, when Louis is discovered in The Pie Hole’s refrigerator, now just as dead as Lawrence. In a panic, Ned calls Emerson, who says someone’s framing Ned, and that that someone already probably called the cops.
Cue cops knocking at The Pie Hole’s door.
So Ned touches Louis, and they tell him he’s gotten into Heaven, but Heaven’s about to close in a minute, so he’s got to hustle. Ned, Chuck, and the reanimated Louis scramble to Emerson’s car, which he pulls into the Pie Hole’s back alley. They also manage to find out that Louis choked on his food when he was once again accosted by an irate family member demanding a Civil War heirloom be returned. The minute runs out though before they can find out where the loot is hidden.

Upon hearing about a Civil War heirloom, Chuck recalls one of the hate letters mentioning just that, a letter written by Wilfred Woodruff. So they know who inadvertently caused Louis‘ death, and who attempted to frame Ned.
First though, they attempt to get Louis‘ body back to the funeral home, where he died. The place is all locked up though, and they break in through a basement window. Emerson however, gets Winnie the Pooh-stuck, much to Chuck’s amusement.
There’s minor panic as Ned bumps into a number of cadavers in the basement, though he quickly touches them again.
There is, however, someone else in the basement: Wilfred Woodruff (That ‘80’s Show’s Eddie Shin), who has found his family’s Civil War saber (there’s also a funny flashback to show us how an Asian-American connects to the Civil War).
Apparently, Woodruff was there the day Lawrence died, and seeing Ned run out of the funeral home, simply assumed Ned had murdered Lawrence (thus, the frame-up). A duel ensues, Woodruff armed with the saber, Ned, with some funeral home equipment.
With a little help from Chuck and Pooh-stuck-in-the-window, Ned wins the duel, and finds the loot.

Chuck then takes it upon herself to match hate letters to missing family heirlooms, and sets about gift-wrapping each item so it can be returned. Emerson also sees the error of his ways… and vows to lose some weight.

In the episode’s subplot, Olive sees Ned and Chuck kiss (through a sheet of plastic wrap) and gets light-headed, inadvertently becoming the object of Alfredo (Find Me Guilty’s Raul Esparza) Aldarisio’s attention. Alfredo’s a traveling salesman who sells homeopathic cures for all sorts of illnesses, including depression.
When Chuck is given some samples of Alfredo’s wares, and upon discovering from Louis Schatz that her aunts spiraled back into depression just as the Darling Mermaid Darlings were about to make a splashy comeback, she decides to anonymously bake them a pie, and mixes a few drops of happiness in the recipe.
But when The Delivery Boy (Malcolm In The Middle’s Victor Z. Isaac) sees the address is out of his regular area, he refuses to deliver it. Feeling sympathy for the pie and its intended recipients, Olive takes it upon herself to deliver the pie herself.
She then meets the Darling Mermaid Darlings, and is regaled of tales of their dead niece Charlotte, who happened to be the childhood sweetheart of the “Beaver Boy” next door, who grew up to be a Pie Maker.
That’s when it all clicks in Olive’s head: now she believes that Ned faked Chuck’s death, and that there’s some nefarious reason behind the conspiracy.
And in her fixation on Ned, Olive remains oblivious to the attention being paid her by Alfredo…

If you frequent the Iguana, you know I love Pushing Daisies, and this episode’s no exception.
Sure, this one’s got some defects (the motivation for the frame-up seems a little muddled, and just how did Chuck get into the funeral home anyway, given that the door was supposedly locked and Emerson Pooh had jammed up the window?), but the writing continues to be funny, and the romantic tension is still both taut and touching, and the stylized look of the show remains some of the best eye candy primetime TV has to offer.
Oh, and Jim Dale’s narration is just plain brilliant.

(Image courtesy of

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