Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pushing Daisies — A Show that Uses Genealogy as a Plot Point!

There are a number of things I would love to comment about but don't. Without some tie into genealogy, family history or even family I bite my tongue, sit on my typing fingers and remain silent. That's why I was delighted to see one of the new fall TV shows use genealogy as a plot point.

Last Wednesday on ABC's “Pushing Daisies” a confederate sword from a Southern Chinese gentleman played a role in the convoluted tale. They even did a flash back to 1863 when Fambing Woo, the great-great-great-grandfather of Wilford Woodard, accidentally becomes a Confederate War Hero taking on the family name of Woodard.

A genealogical plot point is not the norm in network TV. But then the whole concept for “Pushing Daisies” is not the norm. Quirky is the most apt description of the show, and I have a hunch the writers never sat at the cool kids table — heck they probably weren't allowed anywhere near it.

The premise is based on the idea that the hero, Ned, has acquired the ability to bring the dead back to life, once. A second touch by Ned, and they are consigned back to, well, death — forever. If Ned does not touch them a second time within one minute, someone else dies instead.

To complicate matters, a shady detective, Emerson has glommed onto Ned's talents and has blackmailed him into partnering with Emerson to solve murder cases. Easy work when the dead person, brought back to life, tells what happened.

Chuck, whose real name is Charlotte, and who as a young girl captured Ned's heart, is murdered in the show's pilot. When Ned brought her back to life, he couldn't bring himself to touch her again and have her die permanently. Therefore, he and Chuck can never touch and the director of the funeral home, a grave stealing scoundrel, dies instead.

If you have followed all of that, pat yourself on the back.

Chi McBride, who plays the semi-shady detective, Emerson Cod is priceless in the role. He can deliver a sarcastic one-liner with the best of them. His discussion with Ned (Lee Pace) about how to pull up a bandage:

Emerson: “I'm rippin' off the bandage.”

Ned: “I'm not a ripper. I pull up the corner, a little at a time, then I run it under warm water. And pull it up some more. It's a process.”

Emerson: “Better to rip.”

Or Chuck's (Anna Friel) worrying, “Do you think dying has made me morbid?”
A show with snappy dialogue, a genealogical plot point, references to Winnie the Pooh, an Asian American with a soft southern accent, a sword fight — well what more could you ask for in an hour?

Now is where I normally would be encouraging you to tune into this little novelty tonight at 8, but I'm not going to do that. This is an odd little show that takes an offbeat sense of humor (quirky and I are best friends), a suspension of disbelief, and a taste for tongue in cheek It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea.

Instead, I am giving notice to family and friends that Wednesdays from 8 to 9 I won't be answering my phone. I will be cuddled up on my couch, chuckling to myself, hoping enough people are watching to keep the show around for a while.

Until Next Time!

Note this post first published online, October 24, 2007, at Desktop Genealogist Blog at The News-Messenger Online

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