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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this highly stylized murder mystery series is lighter than most. You'll see people get strangled, shot, and rise from the dead, but the tone is more campy than creepy. Even with occasional blood and gory wounds, chances are most viewers won't be left cringing. Other intense moments are abrupt surprises, like when a kid's dog is hit by a truck. But relief -- in the form of comedy or happier type of surprise -- tends to follow quickly, negating the initial shock. A chaste romance is central to the show; though there's some sexual innuendo and tension, the pair literally can't touch each other, so they can't get up to too many shenanigans.
What's the story?
Fun, fanciful murder mystery series PUSHING DAISIES has a unique premise. The protagonist, mild-mannered Ned (Lee Pace), has the ability to bring dead things back to life. He uses his talent to his benefit as a pie maker; his fruit is always at the peak of its life and flavor. And he also uses it to solve murders, bringing victims back to life momentarily so that they can say who killed them. Along with business partner/private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), Ned is assisted by his first love, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel). Chuck is alive, thanks to Ned, despite being murdered on a cruise ship while smuggling sculpted monkeys -- he brought her back to life, and now he can't touch her again or she'll be dead for good.
Is it any good?
If it all sounds a little strange, it is. But strange in a wonderful, playful, circus-like way that involves lots of primary colors, dancing clay figurines, and a shop in the middle of the city that's shaped like a pastry and called The Pie Hole. With quick, witty writing and spry comedic acting, this unconventional blend of crime show, romance, and fantasy takes viewers for a whirl.
Violent scenes in Pushing Daisies can be extreme, but they're played for laughs in high-camp style: A murderer suffocates his victims with plastic bags bearing a big yellow happy face, for example, or a shotgun blast blows a man straight through the circular window in the upstairs of a quaint Victorian. With both romance and dead bodies flying around, this isn't the best choice for kids, but teens should fare fine, especially given the lighthearted tone that informs both the good and the bad.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what type of show this is. Is it a crime drama? A fantasy? A romance? Can you think of other TV shows and movies that mix genres to create a unique style? How does the show's humor impact the effect of the murders and other violent acts? Does it make them seem less serious? Is that good or bad? Why? Families can also discuss Ned's dilemma. Is he doing the right thing by briefly reviving dead people to solve their murders (and profit himself)? What about his decision to keep Chuck alive -- was that the right thing to do? What would you do with Ned's powers?
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