TV REVIEW Pushing Daisies 1.09 "Corpsicle"

Original US airdate: 12/11/2007

Written by: Lisa Joy

Directed by: Brian Dannelly

Rating:

The One Where: Unsurprisingly, Chuck doesn’t take Ned’s confession – that he inadvertently killed her dad when he resurrected his mum – particularly well, and she goes into hiding. Meanwhile, Emerson and Ned investigate the deaths of health insurance assessors who are winding up deep-frozen – the “corpsicles” of the episode title.

After digging through the Christmas snow, they realise that the murders are related to a surly teen who’s repeatedly been denied a heart transplant by the insurers. It turns out that a relentlessly chirpy charity worker from the “Wish a Wish” foundation has resorted to killing; her normal methods of bringing good cheer have fallen on deaf ears, and she thinks that delivering a few violent deaths by baseball bat is the only way she can make the boy happy.

Meanwhile, Olive accidentally ups the dose of mood enhancers in the pies she’s been delivering to Chuck’s synchronised swimming aunts – prompting Aunt Lily to deliver a shocking cliffhanger of a revelation.

Verdict: The last episode made before the writers’ strike took hold is disappointingly the weakest of the series. Ned and Chuck in full-on mope mode are nowhere near as endearing as usual, and their overplayed relationship issues really knock the bounce out of the show. Salvation comes from the ever-brilliant Emerson Cod, a deliciously dark case of the week and the return of Paul “Pee Wee” Reubens as the “smell” expert determined to work out why Chuck has a whiff of death. And there’s plenty to look forward to when the show returns from its enforced break, now that a drugged-up Aunt Lily has confessed that she’s actually Chuck’s mum. We never saw that one coming...

Flashback: We see the immediate aftermath of Chuck’s dad’s death, from Aunts Lily and Vivian turning up to act as guardians, to Ned’s mum’s death, to Ned’s estranged dad coming to take the boy away to the hell of boarding school. They won’t see each other again until Chuck dies.

Olive vs Chuck: When Chuck runs away from Ned, her first port of call is Olive. Olive lends a shoulder to cry on, but she can’t stop herself from checking whether Ned’s back on the market. Nor does she believe Chuck when she tries to explain that she’s dead.

Nice quirk: Reubens’ nasally proficient Oscar Vibenius reckons he’ll get to the bottom of Chuck and Digby (the dog)’s back-from-the-deadness by sniffing their hair. Weird.

Satire? Could the failure of an insurance company to provide a heart transplant for a dying teen be a dig at the US health system? It’s like Michael Moore’s Sicko retold as quirky drama...

Best Line:
Olive: "I also heard you walking the streets, moaning her name like something out of a Tennesse Williams. It may be romantic but it’s not dignified!"

Richard Edwards

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