Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Season 1 Episode 6
Written by Chad Gomez Creasey and Dara Resnik Creasey
Directed by Allan Kroeker

This is a fantastic episode, something that you might get if Tim Burton and Alfred Hitchcock had a dalliance on the set of CSI, with some Big Love thrown in for good measure.
The set up: dog breeder Harold Hundin (The Soup host, Joel McHale) is apparently stabbed to death in his office, but when Ned and company have their one-minute chat, they find out the stabbing was not the true cause of his death, but rather, the cyanide in his coffee. And when asked who gave him his coffee, he answers, “My wife.”
But a clam happy Emerson deflates when it’s discovered that Hundin was a polygamist, with four, count ‘em, four wives!
Further investigating ensues—a brilliant story idea where Ned, Chuck, Emerson, and a delighted Olive each go undercover to speak with one wife to uncover the identity of the poisoner. And since each wife is also a dog breeder, Digby is also utilized in the investigation. (Yay, Digby!)
What soon emerges is an intricate web of money and sinister motivations as other key players surface: rival dog breeder Ramsfield Snuppy (Mark Harelik; Will & Grace and Prison Break), and Hundin’s prize pooch, Bubble Gum, a col-a-dor-russell-poo (a super-hybrid collie/Labrador/Jack Russell terrier/poodle; incidentally, the favourite breeds of each of his wives), apparently run over by dog trainer wife Simone Hundin (Home Again‘s Christine Adams).

The whole dog lover aspect of the episode provides a humourous avenue to explore the personalities of the show’s characters: Emerson winds up with Simone, whose relationship with Hundin was strictly financial, thus attracting Emerson like a moth to a flame; while Ned speaks with dog psychiatrist wife Heather Hundin (The Proud Family’s Lydia Look) introducing himself as Mr. Digby, and his dog “Ned,” serving us a neat twist on the “I’ve got a friend whose problem is this, but I’m actually talking about me, but then you already know that, right?” scenario.
It also manages to play with the idea that a person’s preferred dog breed reflects on the pet owner’s personality.

And, as if that weren’t enough, there are also some great nods to Hitchcock that just send this one over the top.
Director Allan Kroeker (who’s also helmed some Battlestar Galactica, and recently, “Chuck Versus the Wookie”) sails the Technicolor visual seas of Pushing Daisies with ease, giving us yet another brilliant hour of TV eye candy whose whimsical artificiality belies the warm, very human heart that beats beneath its Crayola surface.

Parting shot: The brief stop-motion segment at the top of the episode was also fantastic. And yes, heart-breaking too.

Parting shot 2: Loads of congratulations go out to Bryan Fuller, Lee Pace, Anna Friel, and all involved in Pushing Daisies, for the Golden Globe and WGA nominations, the Satellite win, and the AFI nod. (See Afterthoughts (33) to (35).)

Pushing Daisies will also be honoured by the Paley Center for Media at the 25th annual William S. Paley Television Festival in March 2008.

(Images courtesy of

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