As if things weren’t already difficult enough for Ned (Lee Pace) and Chuck (Anna Friel) on Pushing Daisies, it was revealed on Saturday (March 15) night that reproduction is out of the question for the contact-starved couple.
The fact that Ned’s mere touch could send Chuck back to the grave was already an impediment, but this is the 21st Century and there are plenty of alternative forms of conception. Alas, series creator Bryan Fuller told the crowd at the William S. Paley Television Festival, even some form of artificial insemination would probably have negative consequences.
"I think her egg would die when the sperm hit it," Fuller says.
It’s unclear, in fact, if exposure to The Piemaker’s, um, "seed" would, in fact, constitute the sort of general touching that would kill Chuck entirely. But that’s a long and secondary discussion that can be tabled til the next time you’re engaged in a debate about the effect of Superman’s sperm on Lois Lane.
Bringing this post back to a happier and more family-friendly place, the long-and-short of things continues to be that the status quo remains unchanged — No touching for Ned and Chuck, which doesn’t mean that there aren’t accidental bumps on-set.
"I always do it," Friel admits. "He’s real good."
"I sit on my hands," Pace explains, later adding that it gives him motivation. "If I touch her, she’s dead. Dead. No more show."
To which Chi McBride, the show’s beloved Emerson Cod, chips in "And then my son’ll have to go to DeVry. Not that there’s anything wrong with DeVry, but we had our heart set on Dartmouth. So don’t touch."
As Pace puts it, "Chi is so funny that I’ve learned that if I’m in a shot with him, I’m funnier."
Few in the crowd would disagree, as McBride began the panel by mocking his castmates for their good-natured protestations that before the Pushing Daisies script came along, they "weren’t really looking to do television."
"It amazes me the amount of BS you hear in Hollywood," McBride says, in obviously good-natured ribbing.
Certainly McBride is happy to mock his own output including the under-watched ABC drama The Nine ("The first show in television history that was actually named for its audience") and the under-qualitied FOX drama Killer Instinct ("Kill It, It Stinks," McBride calls it). Oh and I’m not sure if he was kidding or not, but McBride told the crowd that his character on The Nine was behind the show’s central heist in some way, saying only "He had too many bills. It’s a long story. I’ll tell you afterward."
The writing staff of Pushing Daisies has only just gone back to work and they’re a long way from returning to production for a fall relaunch, so nobody on the Paley Festival panel has any specific spoilers for the show’s upcoming second season. Fuller, who doesn’t sound displeased by ABC’s decision not to bring Pushing Daisies for late-season episode post-strike, says that upcoming episodes will deal with Chuck’s mother and Emerson’s daughter and adds that they want to have Raul Esparza return as the potential love interest for Kristin Chenoweth’s Olive and, if possible, they’d love to have the Tony-nominated actor sing. Oh and the DVD will be out in the summer in England, but probably not until fall in the United States, plus a soundtrack album release is being discussed.
Fuller confirms that the resurrected dead don’t age like normal folks, meaning that Chuck, like Digby, may remain youthful for years. He also confirms that Ned is a vegetarian and that they wanted to include a scene dealing with that choice — bringing a lobster back to life in your mouth can’t be pleasant.
Everybody on the panel expresseds a sense of pleasure and amazement that despite many a prediction of an early demise, Pushing Daisies will be back on ABC next season.
As McBride puts it, "Normally when the network says they’re behind you, don’t lean back."
He adds, "I think that what went right is that we had the right show on the right network."