2017 has been a weird year so far, at least for me.
I remembered Bryan mentioning his experience as a kid several times when asked about how he got so comfortable writing about life and death. “There’s a serial killer in my hometown,” Says Bryan, “So I got used to going to funerals. And seeing how people were reacting to frequent tragedies and eventually being able to smile at funerals really influenced me.”
I went to my first funeral in April.
Let me correct myself. I’ve been to funerals, of course, but not in the States. One of my old relatives passed away when I was young, and I remembered going into a room full of people crying and mourning, with the smell of burned joss sticks.
I cried too because that’s what you’re supposed to do at Chinese funerals, even if you didn’t know the deceased at all.
That’s why I was really surprised when I walked into the funeral house and saw people smiling and talking.
In some Hollywood films I watched, funerals were always less serious than they should be. Bridget Jones even went husband-hunting at funerals, but I always thought that’s an extreme case.
“Damn, but Bridget wasn’t an extreme case, and movies were real.” I thought to myself.
I was telling my friend M about my first American funeral, about how lively everyone was and how light-hearted the funeral was.
M was a bit surprised too, but she quickly understood it.
“You’ll be surprised how people react to sudden tragedy like this,” M smiled and told me.
M’s father passed away due to cancer when she was in junior high, and she was completely unaware of her father’s illness until his death.
“I went back to school right before finals week and got all As that semester. I talked to all my family relatives at the funeral. Everyone thought I was okay, until 3 years later, I cried so hard in a cafe, when telling my friends about my father.”
Death marks the end of a person’s journey, but always symbolizes the start of someone else’s. From literary works to media on screen, stories concerning death are always about those left behind– the alive, the survivors.
M was also a huge fan of Bryan Fuller, so ultimately we started talking about the sweet deaths in Fullerverse. We sorta talked about Hannibal, but we both realized it’s in Pushing Daisies, the lightheartedness of handling death and the vibrancy of life are fully scrutinized.
M said to me, as someone who is a bit familiar with death, she actually appreciates Pushing Daisies‘s way of treating death.
It’s close, but not too close. It’s playful, but not disrespectful. It’s a fantasy, yet it’s relatable.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all have the power that Ned has?” M smiled and asked me, “At least we’d get to say goodbye?”
It would be. It would probably make farewells easier, or in some cases, harder.
But after all, Pushing Daisies is just a great fantasy show created by talented people. We are still the people left behind by the ones we loved. The only thing we can do is to smile, carry on and face the unpredictable path called life.
(And at least we’ll have good shows to smoothen the pain of living)