funeral pie


"Pie-lette" is the first episode of the first season of the American television comedy-drama Pushing Daisies. The episode aired a day earlier in Canada than the United States.


Ned is a young man with a special gift -- he can bring a dead person back to life with a touch. But there's a catch -- if the person stays alive for more than one minute, then someone else nearby will die. Also, a second touch will bring back death, forever.

Ned discovers his gift as a child when he brings his dog, Digby, back to life. When Ned's mother dies, he brings her back to life -- but this kills the father of his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Charles, whom he likes to call "Chuck". Another touch kills Ned's mother. Both left alone, Ned is sent to boarding school, and Chuck lives with her aunts, the reclusive Lily and Vivian Charles. Ned and Chuck share a first kiss, and are then parted.

Nineteen years, thirty-four weeks, one day and fifty-nine minutes later (according to the narrator), Ned owns a bakery, the Pie Hole. He also moonlights as the partner of Emerson Cod, a private investigator who discovers Ned's secret gift. Emerson realizes that they can turn a profit solving murders by reviving the murder victim and asking who killed them. Meanwhile, Ned's employee and neighbor, Olive Snook, has a crush on the pie maker -- but Ned has learned not to get attached to anybody, and he wards off Olive's advances.

Everything changes when Ned learns that Chuck has been murdered on a cruise ship. He and Emerson travel to Ned's hometown, Coeur d'Coeurs, to solve the case. Ned revives Chuck, and she's thrilled to be reunited with her old friend. She doesn't know who killed her, and Ned only has a minute to return her to the grave. But he can't bear to kill her, and the funeral director, Lawrence Schatz, dies instead. Ned hides Chuck in the coffin, and secretly arranges to rescue her after the funeral. Chuck stays in Ned's apartment -- but despite the romantic feelings that they share, they can't ever touch again.

Chuck is happy to make a fresh start on her life, and she approaches Ned and Emerson with a plan to solve her own murder and collect the reward. They go to Boutique Travel Travel Boutique, where manager Deedee Duffield offered Chuck a free cruise in exchange for transporting a pair of plaster monkeys. When they arrive, Deedee has been killed as well. Ned brings Deedee back to life, but she dies again before telling them who killed her. Ned, Emerson and Chuck realize that if the plaster monkeys were in Chuck's possession on the cruise ship, then they would have been sent to her next of kin -- Aunt Vivian and Aunt Lily.

They go to Vivian and Lily's house, to find the monkeys before the killer does. Ned and Emerson talk to Chuck's aunts, ex-synchronized swimmers with matching social phobias. Chuck has to stay out of sight -- but she's determined to help, and she climbs up the back wall to her bedroom. Lily goes upstairs to collect the monkeys for Ned, and is attacked by the killer. Ned is also attacked, and Chuck rescues him. Lily survives her attack, and shoots the killer dead.

Ned and Chuck discover that the plaster monkeys were actually made of gold. Lily and Vivian collect the reward for catching Chuck's killer, and decide to leave the house for the first time in years. Ned, Chuck and Emerson agree to work together -- but despite their yearnings, Ned and Chuck can never touch again.


Diane Werts of Newsday liked "Pie-lette," saying that it "stakes out a brave, broad swath of storytelling territory, and a potentially fertile one."—however, Werts didn't think it would automatically lead to Pushing Daisies success. Brian Lowry of Variety made similar comments in his review, saying that "Pie-lette" stood "head and shoulders above this fall's other seedlings," while being wary that Pushing Daisies "will collapse by episode four or five.

Some reviewers also commented on the unique visual nature of the episode; Melanie McFarland of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described the look of "Pie-lette" as similar to an "intricately illustrated children's book. However, Maureen Ryan, of the Chicago Tribune, felt that director Sonnenfeld's vivid style didn't "leave much room for heart.

Director Barry Sonnenfeld won the 2008 Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for the episode. Screenwriter Bryan Fuller was also nominated for a 2008 Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Comedy.


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