Before he was writing about compelling cannibals, Bryan Fuller created Pushing Daisies, a quirky and candy-colored show about a Piemaker and the girl he loves. Oh yeah, and Ned the Piemaker also has the ability to raise the dead with the touch of his finger. Unfortunately, there is only a one minute window for resurrection or someone else in proximity will die. To earn some cash and do some good, Ned teams up with private investigator Emerson Cod to solve murders by going straight to the source: the victims themselves. One of those victims is Ned’s childhood sweetheart, Chuck, who he resurrects after her high-profile murder. Unable to administer the second touch that would result in her re-death, Ned and Chuck engage in an adorable and frustrating relationship without the ability to ever touch.
Despite its grim subject matter, Pushing Daisies is one of the sunniest and most adorable shows in recent memory. Sadly, it was a victim of the Writers Strike in 2007-2008, only running for two short seasons. Though it has been off the air for six years, fans remain faithful, hoping that it will return in some capacity. Until then, let’s revisit some of the weirdest deaths that the Pie Hole gang investigated.
Death by Crash Test Dummy – “Dummy”, Season 1, Episode 2
When a man claims to have been killed by a crash test dummy, Ned and Chuck go undercover at Dandy Lion Industries. The company claims that their new car that runs on dandelion fuel will be an environmental boon, but something sinister is uncovered instead. Ricki Lindholme, recently seen on Garfunkel and Oates, guest stars.
Death by Ghost Jockey – “Girth”, Season 1, Episode 5
“Girth” gives viewers some great backstory for Kristen Chenoweth’s Olive Snook, the Pie Hole waitress with an unrequited crush on Ned. A former jockey, Olive was involved in the sabotage of a former racing champion, which resulted in his death. The other jockeys are now being murdered one by one, apparently by a “ghost.”
Death by Poisoned Polygamist Coffee – “Bitches”, Season 1, Episode 6
Joel McHale guest stars in this episode as Harold Hundin, a dog breeder who appears to have been murdered by one of his four wives. Thanks to the ticking clock on resurrection, they were unable to clarify which wife poisoned his coffee before the minute was up. This leads them to explore the dark underbelly of dog breeding, which is apparently more cutthroat than you would think.
Death by Scratch ‘n Sniff Book – “Smell of Success”, Season 1, Episode 7
Anita Gray, a loyal assistant and acolyte, gets caught up in the middle of a bitter rivalry between two olfactory scientists, one of whom is an aspiring writer. When she is killed in the explosion of a pop-up book written by her boss, Napoleon LeNez, suspicion falls on his rival, the reclusive Oscar Vibenious. Paul Ruebens guest stars as the eccentric Vibenious, who later causes issues for Chuck when his heightened sense of smell can detect the lingering effect of death.
Death by Taffy – “Bitter Sweets”, Season 1, Episode 8
Molly Shannon and Mike White appear in this episode as Dilly and Billy Balsam, the brother-and-sister proprietors of a rival sweets shop that opens up right across the street from The Pie Hole. As profits fall for The Pie Hole and a war of sabotage ensues, Ned is implicated in the death of Billy, who is found in a giant vat of taffy.
Death by Bee Sting – “Bzzzzzzz!”, Season 2, Episode 1
When the new spokesperson for a natural cosmetics company turns up stung to death, Chuck goes undercover as a “Bee Girl” to find the culprit. She soon discovers that office politics are often more than just stealing someone else’s lunch from the break room.
Death by Hug Machine – “Frescorts”, Season 2, Episode 4
When an employee at a friend-for-hire escort service is murdered, Chuck and Olive go undercover as “frescorts” while Emerson and Ned investigate some patrons, including taxidermy fan Randy Mann, played by David Arquette. As the mystery is unraveled, it becomes clear that the wounds inflicted during high school are not always easily healed.
Death by Deep Fryer – “Comfort Food”, Season 2, Episode 8
Ned and Olive represent The Pie Hole in a bake-off competition, but a scandal ensues when the reigning champion, Colonel Likkin of Likkin Chicken, is murdered via deep fryer. Ned and Olive attempt to figure out which competitor is the murderer while also attempting to win and raise the profile of the struggling Pie Hole.
Death by Shark – “Kerplunk”, Season 2, Episode 13
In the series finale, Chuck’s beloved aunts, Vivian and Lily, revive their old synchronized swimming act, The Darling Mermaid Darlings. But when a member of the rival swimming group is killed due to a series of shark tank malfunctions, the Pie Hole gang rallies to solve one last case.
While the ending isn’t as satisfying as fans would have liked, some semblance of closure is found.