“Pie-Lette” – From Script to Screen

Recently, I have started to realize that all my articles on this site are Hannibal-related even though I have watched almost all of Bryan Fuller’s works. I have to admit that Hannibal is my personal favorite, but I decided to bring some variety into my Fullerverse writings.

I have so much fun writing articles on scripts and productions (and Harlan said he had fun reading it, which really meant a lot to me), so I want to do one for Pushing Daisies. I still remember how impressed I was when I first watched the show because all the heavy, dark elements are presented in a light-hearted tone. Reading the script and re-watching the pilot simultaneously (or as Bryan put it, “Pie-Lette”) really made me fall in love with the show again, but in a brand new way.

I do apologize, however, for the quality of upcoming screenshots. I borrowed the DVD from my school library and the definition is quite dismal. But Lee should look super fine regardless.

Right! Let’s get the pie baking.


Shoutout to the PD and food team! You had me at “strawberry pie.”


This is the first time that we’ve been introduced to the adult Ned. Bryan didn’t put much description of his appearance, but when Lee’s Ned appears on screen, I realize how great he captured the description.

And here comes our favorite, Kristin Chenoweth.


Here I think the PD team deserves another shoutout.


Reading the script thoroughly, you may realize that Bryan, like many great screenwriters, is not really fond of putting too much description or stage direction unless it is a very important detail that may determine the tone or story plot. In this scene, I was really impressed by the image, and I imagine that the team must have worked really hard to capture the tone and create the beauty.

Next, let’s look at one of my favorite romance scenes in the series.


The untouchable romance– it would appear more often in the series later, but this was the first scene that touched me deeply. And because of the ‘untouchability’ of this relationship, it never gets cheesy. It always feels bitter-sweet.

This episode ends with another romantic moment between Ned and Chuck:



“OFF Chuck and Ned holding their hands behind their backs… The morgue background MORPHS into a field of daisies.”


The title card marks the end of the beginning of an extraordinary show.

Looking back at Pushing Daisies now, I am still surprised by how cinematic and unconventional it was. I started watching the show after it ‘ended’; it kept appearing on my Tumblr and a friend recommended it to me, telling me “it is probably your style since it has death and romance in it.” I was super into Wes Anderson at that time, and I thought of Anderson’s narrative style while watching this. The quirkiness reminded me of Wes Anderson, but there was more than light-hearted narration. Death appears in every episode of the show, and heavy topics are brought up constantly, but the show somehow dissolves the heavy part and leads its audience to “aww” zombie romance.


So the most important question arises – when will we get to see Pushing Daisies again?

Lanca Li
About Lanca Li 17 Articles
Lanca Li was born and raised in a tropical island of China. When she was in middle school, her mathematics teacher told her that she had no future in maths and therefore she should "just go home and watch TV." So she did. Now a full-time film/television major student, Lanca has been on numerous professional and student sets, mostly for producing and post production. Besides films and TV shows, her other hobbies include eating super spicy meat, having deep conversations and staring at the night sky.

1 Comment

  1. MY god, I experience cognitive dissonance every time I am reminded that Lee Pace plays Ned AND King Thranduil because they’re such different characters. And obvs, ACTING but it really is such a marvel and I love all the little things he does for each role. But ahem, yes! Bryan really has a deft touch and I am really glad Pushing Daisies exists in this world. He could have really gone the other way, but just the vibrant absurdity of this lighthearted romance is so perf and so dorky and I get honest to god heart palpitations because of this show. SO MUCH GOOEY FLUFFINESS. And also Olive is so so so so so important and such a smol bean and I love her so much. Never gonna stop crying over that, heh.

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