Tag Archives: Swoosie Kurtz

Chuck – “Chuck vs. the Role Models”

“Chuck vs. the Role Models”

May 3rd, 2010

I wasn’t actually in the writer’s room when it happened, but the more I watch of Chuck Season 3.5 (the six episodes ordered after the first thirteen were broken/written as a conclusive story) the more I feel like the writers quite literally went back to the drawing board. In some ways, this set of episodes is like a whole new spinoff series, starting with last week’s pilot-like “Chuck vs. the Honeymooners,” and now these are the episodes where the show taps into various situations that seem to stem logically from the central premise.

In this case, Chuck has been reimagined as a series about two spies in love trying to make it work, so “Chuck vs. the Role Models” trots out an older married couple within the CIA to offer Chuck and Sarah a glimpse of their future, and to test their long term compatibility (after their short-term teamwork was proven in last week’s episode). Similarly, after last week’s episode introduced us to Morgan as a member of Team Bartowski, this week had Casey run him through his paces by offering some field training. They’re stories that feel like sitcom pitches based on where the show was situated after the end of last week’s episode, logical avenues for the show to investigate that could feel perfunctory is not executed well.

Fortunately, “Chuck vs. the Role Models” is a regular hootenanny (bonus points to who can tell me what episode of Buffy I watched today which has this word stuck in my head), taking full advantage of a couple of great guest stars and some nicely drawn situations to really get the most out of these central storylines. Throw in some nice subtle serialization, both through Ellie and Awesome’s time in Africa and through the consistency of character/tone throughout, and you have a show which continues to feel re-energized after a downer of a season.

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Series Finale: Pushing Daisies – “Kerplunk”

pushingdaisiestitle

“Kerplunk”

Series Finale – June 13th, 2009

I should have known this day would come.

No, I don’t mean that I was actually in denial that, after the show struggled to regain its ratings foothold towards the end of Season One and bombed out the gate during season two, the show was short for this world, and that its final episode would be tossed aside in a ridiculous Saturday timeslot by ABC. Rather, I should have known when I first watched and fell in love with this pilot, but struggled to convince people I talked to that the show was worth watching, that it would never get the ending I knew it deserved.

When I reviewed that pilot (oh, sorry – “Pie-Lette”), I said the following:

…Pushing Daisies is as much a fairy tale romance as it is a dramatic television series. Unrequited love is one of those concepts that you see a lot of in television, but never has it been so whimsically (and maturely) portrayed. The entire pilot is about love and loss, and how mending those fences can be more difficult than you realize.

We, of course, don’t have Ned’s power to bring things back to life, but if we did I think all of us who watched until the end would, in an instant, touch this show and rescue it from the television graveyard as Ned did with Chuck. However, we can’t do that (although, presuming Lost would be protected, I’d be totally willing to let fate choose which ABC show has to die as a result of keeping it alive), and we’re left with a finale that we know shouldn’t be the end, that promises more than it concludes and that captures in its aquacades and elaborate disguises the whimsy that has set the show on a well-deserved pedestal that ABC chose to knock down late last year.

But I will give ABC credit for inadvertantly assisting in my ability to mend the fences of love and loss, delaying the airing of this episode until the show’s cancellation was no longer fresh. It may still hurt, certainly, but it’s given me a less angry and more celebratory perspective. While not everything you want a finale to be, and ending on a cliffhanger that seemed poised to breathe new life into the series, this finale finds the show joyously entertaining in a scenario and an environment that could only exist in the world of Papen County, the mind of Bryan Fuller, and, as fate has decided, the fond memories of viewers.

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Emmy Awards Preview – Nominee Analysis: Pushing Daisies

Of the new shows which premiered in fall network lineups in 2007, there’s only really one that expects to make a big splash at the Emmy Awards. While plenty of new shows will be highly competitive, they debuted in the summer on cable networks where much of the season’s quality came from. Between the strike and a fairly mediocre development season, the freshman lineup of the networks just didn’t measure up…except for Pushing Daisies.

It was the most-buzzed about pilot for a lot of reasons, from its witty writting to its fanciful direction to its lead and supporting stars. While the show only aired nine episodes before going off the air due to the strike, and won’t be returning until the Fall, the show still made a fairly big splash with critics and viewers, and was nominated for a handful for Golden Globes earlier this year.

But translating that to Emmy success will be difficult, not the least of which because comedy is an intense set of categories this year and because the show has been off the air for six months. Considering that so many networks basically gave up on a lot of their freshman lineups, I think that the general perception did the same: while the pilot’s strength in technical categories and for Bryan Fuller and Barry Sonnenfeld is likely to shine through, whether the show’s extremely talented actors can do the same remains a big question. But if the submissions are strong, perhaps there is hope yet for the little pie shop that could.

Outstanding Comedy Series

Submission: “Pie-Lette”

The reasons you need to submit the pilot episode for a show like Pushing Daisies are numerous: not only is it the show with the biggest budget and therefore the strongest effects work, but it also feels the most like a small, contained story. While ABC ensured that every episode opened with a detailed sequence explaining the complicated life/death sequences of the show, “Pie-Lette” is without question where it has the most resonance as he makes the decision to bring his childhood sweetheart back to life. Part of me wishes that the episode had more for the supporting players to do, but this is about selling this sweet and charming show first and foremost, and the pilot certainly does the best job of this.

YouTube: The Opening of the Pie-Lette

Chances: The show is a strong competitor in this category due to its hour-long running time and a very showy episode submission, plus it’s definitely the biggest new comedy if they’re looking for something new.

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