Pushing Daisies: “Dim Some, Lose Sum”

Daddy Dearest

Copyright © 2008 by Sarah Stegall

Pushing Daisies

ABC, Wednesdays, 8/79/8 E/C

“Dim Some, Lose Sum”

Written by Davey Holmes

Directed by Lawrence Trilling

Given the abandonment issues so largely featured in this show, I’m surprised it’s taken this long to get around to the other elephant in the room: Ned’s father. Now that Chuck has discovered that she has a mother she never knew, Ned discovers that his father didn’t just abandon him twenty years ago, he replaced him. A stranger named Dwight  Dixon (Stephen Root, King of the Hill) arrives in the Pie Hole and tells Ned his pies are “just like his mother used to make”. Unnerved at references to the past he tries so hard to ignore, Ned tries to avoid the question. Chuck and Olive, however, fascinated by any glimpse into Ned’s murky past, interrogate Dixon. Dixon is looking for Ned’s father, saying they are friends from many years ago and noting that Ned has his father’s eyes.  Nevertheless, Chuck manages to worm Ned’s father’s address out of him, and she and Olive go hunting his family.

Meanwhile, Emerson Cod finds his lunch of Chinese pork buns disturbed by a note in a fortune cookie addressing him by name. Going downstairs to the Chinese restaurant, he discovers that his favorite chef has recently died in what appears to be an accident. He encounters Simone Hundin (Christine Adams, Journeyman), who we met in “Bitches” in Season One. The feisty dog trainer enraptures him again, and this time she proves not only to be a heavy distraction for Cod, but a key to the case. It seems that the restaurant has for years been host to a covert poker game played out with dim sum instead of cards, a game at which the dead chef lost not only his daughter but his life. Emerson infiltrates the game, towing Ned in cowboy hat, a mustache, and his native Texan accent. (At which point I think I died and went to heaven.) They win the game, uncover the murderer of the chef, and free the beautiful daughter from an unwanted fiancé.

Olive and Chuck find Ned’s father’s house, but not his father. Rather, they find twins Maurice and Ralston (Graham and Alex Miller, Las Vegas), who just happen to be amateur stage magicians. Their resemblance to Ned, especially his eyebrows, strikes both women. Apparently the paterfamilias of this family stamps all his offspring with woolly-caterpillar eyebrows that express their owners’ emotions as effectively as a dog’s tail. Despite Ned’s annoyance that they went behind his back, they persuade him to go meet his half-brothers, who embrace him joyfully. It will be interesting to see Ned adjusting to the idea of a family that loves him, rather than abandons him.

The father issues in this episode are manifest: Mei Ting’s (Andrea Liu, Ladykiller) anger at her father for losing her hand in marriage in a card game; Ned’s continued pain at his father’s rejection and abandonment, even Chuck’s submerged issues with her own father’s death at Ned’s hand (so to speak). I was surprised that Emerson Cod’s search for his missing daughter didn’t come into this story, but since that was pretty well covered last week perhaps it would have been too much of a good thing. Even Bubblegum the dog got in on the act, however; apparently Simone is breeding her.

Ratings were a little skewed for Pushing Daisies this week, as it was up against a Presidential contender. The Obama paid political ad played against the first half hour of Pushing Daisies on all other major networks; nevertheless the show scored an overall rating of  6.8 million according to ABC. This means it was actually up by nearly 1 million viewers from last week. That’s still pretty abysmal; despite being the only scripted show on the air against a political ad, it came in fourth.

Pushing Daisies goes on a short hiatus next week for the CMA Awards show. The next new episode is slated for November 19. Since production on the current series of scripts ends November 12, ABC is going to have to make a decision very soon as to the show’s future. Of course, I’m hoping they’ll elect to continue the series. Although I love what the show is doing right now, maybe it’s time to make some changes in the storyline. More romance, less drama? Or the other way around? Either way, something has to give, or this show will be gone like a dandelion puffball in a spring breeze. If you want more Daisies, this is the time to write the network.