Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday's Daisies' Ways Not To Die

Have I ever got a special treat for y'all! In anticipation of the forthcoming comic-book continuation from DC - which I'll be posting plenty about as publication (TBA) nears - starting now and continuing every third Thursday of the month - Why the third Thursdays? Because that's an alliteration Jim Dale could narrate the heck outta, that's why - MNPP's routine "Thursday's Ways Not To Die" series will morph into something ever so slightly more Snook-tested, Pie-Maker approved. That's right, it's gonna be...

We'll be focusing on a death scene from the beloved 2007-09 series lovingly tended to by Bryan Fuller, the man also behind Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me and well if you're here at MNPP I assume you know who the hell Bryan Fuller is. That's him to the left. He rules with a velvety-smooth iron fist!

But hold up! That's not all! Not only will we be dedicating a post a month to this darling darling and sadly departed series, but we'll also be hearing from Bryan Fuller himself on what makes these death scenes so special. (I know!!!) (Holy crap!) (!!!) Awesome, right?

So let's toss these introductions to the wayside
and get down to dying Daisies-style, shall we?

Pushing Daisies
Episode #17 - "Comfort Food"

When pressed to name a favorite episode of this show, once my brain calms down and the synapses stop exploding from being overwhelmed by the impossible task, well my brain does think especially fondly on this one. Not only did it bring Beth Grant to the show - and playing the same character she played on Wonderfalls no less - but Kristen Chenoweth sings her hummingbird's heart out on The Bangles "Eternal Flame," a song I might've maybe crooned myself raw to in my own Junior High days. That's a twofer ya just can't argue with. Add in Lee Pace looking mighty fine all episode long...

... and you've got yourself a keeper. But let's move on to the main event: here are show creator Bryan Fuller's thoughts on Colonel Likken's deep fried demise!

MNPP: Where did the inspiration for this death come from? From the serial-killer-esque scrapbook of real life deaths tucked under your mattress, or just birthed from a fertile imagination?

Bryan Fuller: The earliest inspirations can be traced back to Hansel & Gretel. We knew from the comfort food world we were exploring that our victim was going to be cooked in some capacity. And there's something pretty horrific about being fried alive. Fertile imagination or trial run?

MNPP: And what came first when writing the episode – the idea for this way of dying, or the setting / plot surrounding it?

BF: To be honest, one of the main motivations for the episode was bringing Beth Grant's "Wonderfalls" character Mary Anne Marie Beetle into the Daisies world. I love Beth and love working with her. Muffins vs. Pies = comfort food cook-off. It was our version of Who's Killing the Great Chefs of Europe.

Once we settled on the world we were exploring for the episode, Colonel Sanders became Colonel Likken' and we deep fried his ass.

MNPP: Were there any winks and/or nudges intended towards other shows/movies or pop culture iconography that inspired the scene?

BF: There was definitely a big wink and nudge toward "Wonderfalls" and Who's Killing the Great Chefs of Europe. And I think Beth Grant has earned her place as a pop culture icon in and of herself.

"Did the colonel spatter when ya deep fat fried him, ya son of a bitch?"
MNPP: Was there anything you couldn’t show because of network restrictions?

BF: In the script phase, we were told by Broadcast Standards and Practices that we could under no circumstances have Colonel Likken eating himself. So we took it out of the script and removed the sound FX for the network cut. Then once that cut was approved, we added the crunchy sounds back in and made it very clear that Colonel Likken was indeed eating himself with additional foley work and yummy noises.

"I hate to go, but at least I'm going delicious."
Also, during the slow motion race to the finish line between Beth Grant and Kristin Chenoweth, Kristin's undulous bosoms had to be cropped out of the frame because they were deemed indecent.

So decent they were indecent.

MNPP: What sort of input did you have about the make-up and props involved in the scene?

BF: I worked very close with Todd McIntosh (our make-up guru) on all make-up effects for Daisies. I recall the first stage of the make-up looked more melted than fried, so we added Wheaties cereal chips to the surface of Tim Bagley's face to give it more of a deep fried texture.

MNPP: On a scale of natural causes to being struck by a falling space-station toilet seat, how bad a death do you consider this to be? If you had to pick one of your deaths as your way of going, would this be the one?

BF: This is a bad one. I don't want to be deep fried. I might have to go with the toilet seat.

Previous Ways Not To Die: By the Yard End of the Stick -- Screwed From A Very Great Distance -- A Righteous Bear-Jew Beatdown -- Fisted By Hugo Sitglitz -- Xeno Morphed -- Fuck-Stuck -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 4 -- Lava Bombed -- The Cradle Will Rock... Your Face Off!!! -- The Food of the Nilbog Goblins -- The Slugs Is Gonna Gitcha -- Phone Shark -- Hide The Carrot -- Sarlacc Snacked -- Avada Kedavra!!! -- Hooked, Lined and Sinkered -- "The Libyans!" -- Axe Me No Questions -- Pin the Chainsaw on the Prostitute -- The Wrath of the Crystal Unicorn -- The Ultimate Extreme Make-Over -- Drown In A Sink Before The Opening Credits Even Roll -- The Dog Who Knew Too Much -- Don't Die Over Spilled Milk -- Inviting the Wrath of Aguirre -- An Inconceivable Outwitting -- The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique -- Nipple Injected Blue Junk -- Your Pick Of The Deadly Six -- Thing Hungry -- Don't Fuck With The Serial Killer's Daughter -- DO Forget To Add The Fabric Softener -- Any Of The Ways Depicted In This Masterpiece Of Lost Cinema -- Rode Down In The Friscalating Dusklight -- Good Morning, Sunshine! -- Mornin' Cuppa Drano -- The Cylon-Engineered Apocalypse -- Tender-Eye-zed -- Martian Atmospheric Asphyxiation -- Maimed By A Mystical Person-Cat -- The Sheets Are Not To Be Trusted -- Handicapable Face-Hacked -- I Did It For You, Faramir -- Summertime In The Park... Of A Pedophile's Mind -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 3 -- Strung Up With Festive Holiday Bulbs By Santa Claus Himself -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 2 -- A Vengeful Elevator God: Part 1 -- Decapitated Plucked Broiled & Sliced -- Head On A Stick! -- A Trip To The Ol' Wood-Chipper -- Pointed By The T-1000 -- Sucking Face With Freddy Krueger -- A Pen-Full Of Home-Brewed Speed to The Eye -- Motivational Speech, Interrupted -- A Freak Ephemera Storm -- When Ya Gotta Go... Ya Gotta Go -- Hoisted By Your Own Hand Grenade -- Having The Years Suction-Cupped Away -- Criss-Cross -- Turned Into A Person-Cocoon By The Touch Of A Little Girl's Mirror Doppleganger -- Satisfying Society's "Pop Princess" Blood-Lust -- Done In By The Doggie Door -- Tuned Out -- Taking the 107th Step -- Rescuing Gretchen -- Incinerated By Lousy Dialogue -- Starred & Striped Forever -- Vivisection Via Vaginally-Minded Barbed-Wire -- Chompers (Down There) -- Run Down By M. Night Shyamalan -- Everything Up To And Including The Kitchen Toaster -- Sacrificed To Kali -- Via The Gargantuan Venom Of The Black Mamba Snake -- Turned Into An Evil Robot -- The Out-Of-Nowhere Careening Vehicle Splat -- "Oh My God... It's Dip!!!" -- Critter Balled -- Stuff'd -- A Hot-Air Balloon Ride... Straight To Hell!!! -- Puppy Betrayal -- High-Heeled By A Girlfriend Impersonator -- Flip-Top Beheaded -- Because I'm Too Goddamned Beautiful To Live -- By Choosing... Poorly... -- Fried Alive Due To Baby Ingenuity -- A Good Old-Fashioned Tentacle Smothering -- Eepa! Eepa! -- Gremlins Ate My Stairlift -- An Icicle Thru The Eye -- Face Carved Off By Ghost Doctor After Lesbian Tryst With Zombie Women -- Electrocuted By Fallen Power-Lines -- A Mouthful Of Flare -- Taken By The TV Lady -- Bitten By A Zombie -- Eaten By Your Mattress -- Stuffed To Splitting -- Face Stuck In Liquid Nitrogen -- Crushed By Crumbling Church Debris -- Bitten By The Jaws Of Life -- A Machete To The Crotch -- Showering With A Chain-Saw -- In A Room Filled With Razor Wire -- Pod People'd With Your Dog -- Force-Fed Art -- Skinned By A Witch -- Beaten With An Oar -- Curbed -- Cape Malfunction -- In The Corner -- Cooked In A Tanning Bed -- Diced -- Punched Through The Head -- Bugs Sucking On Your Head


Dale said...

JA, this is a very special treat indeed. I'm trying to come up with words to express how happy this makes me, and all I can think of is "Can I marry you?"

I'm so glad they kept the Colonel eating himself - cannibalism is one of my favourite subjects for comedy.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a billion dollars so that I could give it all to Bryan so that there would be many more episodes of Daisies.

Of course, I felt the same way about Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls.

nikki said...

This is great! I'm already looking forward to the next third Thursday :)

Thank you so much to Bryan for making the time for these delightful interviews.

I can't wait to hear updates on the comic publication. I've been checking Wildstorm's solicitations every month since the summer, looking for the heads up. I'm not asking for spoilers, just dying to know when I can start looking forward to buying them!

unclemike, I agree that if I had a boatload of money, that's how I would spend it. In fact, here is an exerpt of a prayer I had posted in a forum before the series was (erroneously) canceled:

Dear heavenly power that influences the universe,

Please bestow upon me vast amounts of cash. I promise only to use the money in negotiations with ABC in order to bring back more seasons of Pushing Daisies.

If you are feeling especially generous and sympathetic to this heavenly show, feel free to increase the sum of money. I would happily use it to remove ABC’s need for advertisements during Pushing Daisies.

Full prayer:

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

oh i miss this show so much!

James said...


zyzzyva said...

Yes, if wishes like that were granted, Bryan Fuller would be one of the richest men in the world--and Daisies would be one the most treasured, long-running shows of our time...

Thank you so much for this. I had a pretty awful day yesterday and was contemplating watching both PD DVD sets back to back today to cheer me up. This is definitely an omen that I was on the right track.

I can't help but hold on to the faint hope for an eventual movie, a la Firefly/Serenity. Until then I'll wait for the comic. I'll also continue playing in my head this elaborate fantasy I have of a musical sequence (dream sequence...?): Ned and Chuck singing 'Cheek to Cheek' as a duet whilst dancing a Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers-esque number through multiple settings and costume changes (all while keeping an inch separation between their cheeks, of course). *sigh*

[a side thought: Though the visuals are obviously integral to PD, don't you think the cast & Fuller could totally pull off an old-style radio show recording...? With sound effects and dramatic music (Jim Dooley) and everything? It could even be serialized and released in intervals on iTunes...]

Anonymous said...

This is amazing. I <3 Bryan Fuller! But I have yet to see Pushing Daisies. I know... I'm awful.

Ana Bastow said...

Wonderful! can't wait to read the rest! Kudos!

Anonymous said...



Kirk Hamilton said...

OMG awesome

ht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ht said...

To see the same method of death played straight, you should check out the second episode (season 1) of Spooks (MI5 in the US). Not that you really saw the death, but still a pretty crazed moment, as the character had been set up as a main character, and then gets killed in the 2nd ep...

Unknown said...

First of all let me say how much I love you for doing this! I am a huge fan of Pushing Daisies and this is just what fans who miss the show need. I love these posts - keep up the great job!

PS: Do you maybe have the full version of the wonderful Kristin Chenoweth's rendition of "Eternal Flame" from this episode? It is to die for!