Friday, October 19, 2007

Pushing Daisies...and sugar-free pies

There are very few television shows I would bother racing home to see these days. Barring The Office and Lost (I can NOT wait until the new season starts!), it seems most shows have either gotten ridiculously lame (Grey's Anatomy, anyone?) or fall into the slop pile of crappy reality programming. That being said, can I tell you how much I adore Pushing Daisies?
If you haven't seen it yet, tune in next Wednesday night. You can also watch the previously-aired episodes on-line.
Long story short, Pushing Daisies is a "forensic fairy tale" featuring Ned, an introvert piemaker with the ability to revive the dead - a gift that has its share of complications. Ned - joined by his once-dead childhood sweetheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles and snarky private investigator pal, Emerson Cod - capitalizes on this gift and resuscitates murder victims long enough to solve the mystery of their death and collect any outstanding rewards.
So what is so fabulous about this strange show? First off, it's a visual masterpiece, popping with rich colors and quirky, imaginative sets. It also has a magical, whimsical undertone. The production team seems to have drawn inspiration from films like Amelie, Big Fish and Lemony Snicket.
Another bonus? The phenomenal cast. I just love me some Chi McBride, who is outstanding as the cranky, vest-knitting Emerson. And Kristen Chenoweth is a hoot playing the lovelorn Olive Snook, Ned's vertically-challenged neighbor/employee. In addition to the musical Ms. Chenoweth, there are several other Broadway veterans gracing the screen. Tony Award winner Raul Esparza is a traveling homeopathic antidepressant salesman who frequents Ned's shop, while Swoozie Kurtz and Ellen Greene ( Audrey!) play Chuck's eccentric aunts, former synchronized swimmers who hate leaving the house. I hope a musical number is coming up soon that features the lot of them!
Anyhoo, the only downside to the show is I've been craving a whole lot of sweet treats lately - which I blame entirely on the array of delectable desserts on display at The Pie Hole, Ned's humorously-named restaurant. So far, I've spotted pear pie, strawberry pie, apple pie, rhubarb pie and pecan pie. Yum!
In honor of the show - as well as an advance to National Boston Cream Pie Day next Wednesday - here are a few low-calorie recipes from to get you through the long weekend.

Chocolate Cream Pie
Strawberry Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Black Bottom Pecan Pie

And, in case you're interested, here's an extended preview of the first episode of Pushing Daisies.

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