Pushing Daisies

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    Pushing daisies sm 6389.jpg

    Well, I suppose dying's as good an excuse as any to start living.

    Charlotte "Chuck" Charles

    The facts are these:

    There once was a pie-maker who could raise the dead with a touch--but only for sixty seconds, or else someone else would have to die to take their place. If he touched the resurrected person again, they died permanently. One day, the pie-maker was given the opportunity to raise Chuck, his childhood sweetheart... So he did. This act brought the two much closer, but tragically kept them apart; one more touch would mean Chuck would be dead forever. Along with his undead dog, a grumpy private eye, her eccentric aunts and a singing waitress, they solved murders, asking the dead who their murderers were in those sixty seconds and then collecting the often substantial reward for finding the killers.

    That could be the premise of Pushing Daisies, if it weren't a laughably inadequate description.

    Created by Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me executive Bryan Fuller, and set In a World lavishly decorated in Fifties styles, the show effortlessly makes its faintly ridiculous plots believable, as it deftly traces the line between earnestness and irony. Its fast-paced and witty dialogue, quirky characters, and great acting really bring out what can only be called the heart of the show: showing how people connect, or don't connect, with their fellow humans.

    Unfortunately, it ended up doomed to live up to its name. The first season was truncated by the Writers' Strike, and the second season didn't have much of a head of steam under it. The writing team was given 3 episodes to wrap up the series, and the last episode was aired on June 13, 2009 - one year, eight months, one week and three days after the first. The two seasons together make up a normal full-sized season.

    Recaps page is here.

    Tropes used in Pushing Daisies include:
    • 555-0155: Is Emerson Cod's phone number.
    • Aborted Arc: When the first season was cut short due to the Writer's Strike, most of the plot threads set up during the first half received abrupt Ass Pull resolutions. When the second season suffered a similar fate upon the show's cancellation, most lingering threads were simply left hanging, though a choice few received mention in a Ass Pull epilogue. Sadly, the two half seasons do not equal a whole in terms of story.
    • Accidental Kidnapping: Olive Snook as a child.
    • All Germans Are Nazis: Invoked and subverted twice. In "Bad Habits", a threatening guy with an accent, thought to be an 'Angry German' by Emerson Cod, was actually Swiss (and non-threatening). In "Comfort Food", it was the Waffle Nazi, who appeared with full Lederhosen get-up, Gratuitous German, speech patterns, and threatening personality - only for it to be revealed as fake: he is neither German nor actually speaks the language, but is putting on a show.
    • Alliteration: The writers seem very fond of this. See also Repetitive Name, below.
      • Recurring character Dwight Dixon
      • Merle McQuoddy, his boat the Knockout Nora, and Typhoon Tyrone, which sunk her.
      • Main character Charlotte "Chuck" Charles
    • Anachronic Order: Each episode opens with a segment showing one of the principals--usually Ned, but sometimes Chuck, Olive, or Emerson--as a child.
    • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite having magical necromancy powers, Ned finds the notion of ghosts risible.
    • Back From the Dead: Chuck, most obviously; but also, briefly, the week's murder victim(s).
      • And now, it would seem, Charles Charles.
    • Badass Bystander: Lily, who blasts Chuck's assassin with a shotgun, complete with a nice Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I can hold my breath for a long time."
    • Balancing Death's Books: There's a grace period of a minute, but if Ned doesn't re-touch the re-animated, something else of approximately equal "life" value will die in exchange. And even after said grace period, Ned can't touch the re-animated person/creature/whatever, or they'll be dead again.
    • Bandaged Face: Chuck's dad. He even has a smiley face drawn on it.
    • Blatant Lies: Any lie Ned ever tells.
    • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers
    • Blessed with Suck: Sorry, you can't touch your girlfriend...
    • Boarding School of Loneliness, Grayness, and Crushing Depression: The Longborough School For Boys
    • Born Detective: Emerson Cod.
    • Brainy Brunette: Chuck is book smart on just about everything.
    • Brick Joke: Emerson's confusion of "narcoleptic" and "necrophiliac"--set up in "Pie-lette" for a payoff in "Pigeon".
    • Came Back Wrong: All of the bodies of the people Ned brings back to life remain as they were when he touched them. This is not always pleasant to watch.
      • Interestingly, this doesn't seem to apply to strawberries. One explanation or rationalization could be that Ned's powers can reverse/heal the effects of time or death by "natural" causes but can't reverse physical trauma.
    • Canine Companion: Digby (though of course, Ned can't touch him, as Digby was the first thing Ned had ever brought back to life).
      • Combine this with Just for Pun and you get Olive's pig companion, Pigby.
    • Can't Have Sex Ever/Chastity Couple/Courtly Love: Ned and Chuck, though they've apparently found ways around the "no touching" problem.

    Ned: It's hard enough being in a relationship where we can't touch. But... we improvise, figured out ways around that. I've even built contraptions. There's a weird mask.


    Ned: How much does Olive know?
    Chuck: Don't worry about what Olive knows. Even if I told her the truth she wouldn't believe me.
    Ned: You don't know that.
    Chuck: Yes I do, because I told her and she wouldn't believe me.

    • Catch Phrase: The narrator has "At this very moment" and "The facts are these..."
      • Emerson's Catch Phrase is "Aw, hell no!"
        • Which was stolen by Olive on more than one occasion.
      • Played with once with the narrator saying "Oh, hell no!", and once with this exchange:

    Rob Wright: I know how it must sound, but the facts were these...
    Chuck: Huh?
    Rob Wright: These were the facts...

    • Chekhov's Gun: "Circus Circus" has Chekhov's Cannon. A midget with a cannon happens to pass by when Ned and Emerson are at the ringmaster's trailer... then later in the episode, the human cannonball gets fired at them. Also with Chuck's father's pocket watch, which the mysterious Dixon wants for some reason. It was shown in the very first episode and has only become relevant now, halfway through Season 2.
    • Chinese Laborer: Wilfred Woodruff's ancestor, in "The Fun In Funeral".
    • City with No Name: The city where the main action takes place is never named, though we do know that it's in (fictitious) Papen County, 131 miles due north of Coeur d'Coeurs (Ned and Chuck's equally fictitious hometown). Information on placing Papen County in a US state or region is internally inconsistent.
    • Clear My Name: Ned is jailed for the murder of Billy Balsam in "Bitter Sweets".

    Emerson: I mean, it's a broad generalization, but my guess is an attractive man who makes pies for a living shouldn't spend even a short amount of time in prison.


    Chuck: There was a young man named von Deenis
    Ned: Who they said had a very big-- (act break)

    • Cursed with Awesome: Ned can revive the dead with a touch, and has used that power to revive his dog and later his childhood sweetheart, make lots of money investigating murders, and open a thriving bakery by using old, rotted fruit in his pies (since it becomes fresh-off-the-vine as soon as he touches it). And as a result, he can't touch the woman he loves lest she drop dead instantly, ditto his beloved pet, and if he ever eats any of his pies the fruit will wither and rot in his mouth.
      • Although, if he ever wanted to make a pie for himself, he could get around the whole rotting-in-his-mouth problem by actually using fresh ingredients, which he does later in the series.
      • His second revival was his mother whose lingering caused the death of Chuck's father and then she promptly died when she kissed him good night.
    • Cut Short: The finale is a mad rush to try to tie up several of the loose ends, and misses a few in the process. Stupid network.
      • We never did find out what happened to Charles Charles or meet Ned's dad beyond a five second shot at the end of one episode. He was going to be played by George Hamilton. Stupid network.
    • Cutesy Name Town: Coeur d' Coeurs. You can't really get more cutesy than that. For the non-Francophones in the room, it means "Heart of Hearts".
    • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: "Circus Circus".
    • Daydream Surprise:
      • Olive, as she realizes (too late) how Alfredo feels about her.
      • In "Comfort Food", Lily imagines a conversation with Dwight while she waits for him.
    • Dead Person Impersonation: "Pigeon".
    • Deadpan Snarker: Emerson Cod, Aunt Lily.
      • Lampshaded in "Dim Sum Lose Sum", where a sudden lack of snarkage clues Ned and Chuck into Emerson's absence.
    • Death Amnesia: Though the newly-revived are generally aware that they have died, they do not remember any sort of an afterlife.
    • Death by Childbirth: Chuck's mom. This is later subverted when it is revealed that Aunt Lily is really her mother. She lied due to the fact that Vivian was engaged to Charles.
    • Delicious Distraction: Ned's pies, especially those Chuck bakes with cheese on the crust for her aunts.
    • Department of Redundancy Department: everywhere, as well as all over the place (see also Repetitive Name below). Chuck's aunts used to be the Darling Mermaid Darlings. There's a life insurance firm called Uber-Life Life Insurance. The travel agency Chuck frequented was Boutique Travel Travel Boutique. It was run by... Dee Dee.
    • Digging to China: Young Olive in "Bad Habits".
    • Discriminate and Switch: A bartender refuses to serve Emerson in "Girth"--not because he's black, but because he's too tall (the bar, as it turns out, is specifically for horse jockeys).
    • Double Entendre: Hur Hur, Bee-Girls. It's a pun on B-Girl, a euphemism for prostitute.
    • Dramedy
    • Drop What You Are Doing: Ned's mother, when she died (the first time), died instantly of a brain aneurysm.
    • Drop-In Character: Olive, initially.
    • Equivalent Exchange: Giving someone life costs another's: a human's for a human's, an animal's for an animal's, a plant's for a plant's.
    • Erotic Dream: Ned, in "Bitches".
    • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Specifically, Jim Dale always refers to "Young Ned" in the flashbacks, but adult Ned is always "The Pie-maker".
    • Everythings Better With Bunnies: Subverted, as the bunny appearing in "Oh Oh Oh... It's Magic" dies.
    • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Bubba the Shark in "Kerplunk".
    • Evil Clown: In "The Legend of Merle McQuoddy".
    • Evil Gloating: Dilly in "Bitter Sweets"... until the Pie Hole gang proved they had nothing to do with her brother's murder.
    • Eyepatch of Power: Aunt Lily
    • Fairy Tale: Essentially. It mixes what is something of a fairy tale romance with some of the darker themes present in the older fairy stories.
    • Faking the Dead: Chuck, sort of. Olive thinks Chuck's faking her death.
    • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Chuck is the daughter of the woman she always believed to be her aunt. See also Parental Abandonment below.
    • Fan Service: Used a fair bit, especially with Olive's outfits -- the costuming department really got the most out of using Kristin Chenoweth, that's for sure. The ultra-low-cut mermaid costume with the one-leg so she had to hop up and down to move is probably the shining example.
    • Film Noir: The show's aesthetic draws pretty heavily on the Film Noir, particularly Emerson's office, the clipped, rapid-fire dialogue, and a good portion of "Dim Sum Lose Some". Also, several film noir classics can be seen playing in the background in a few scenes of "Corpsicle".
    • First-Episode Resurrection: Chuck dies and is revived in "Pie-lette".
    • Five-Man Band:
    • Flash Back:
      • As mentioned above, each episode begins with a segment indicating something about young Ned's past.
      • Usually the Victim of the Week recounts something about their murder, or the Narrator sums up the clues Emerson and company have found to solve the Mystery of the Week.
    • Foot Popping: Olive, in a Daydream Surprise.
    • Foreshadowing:
      • In "Smell of Success", Aunt Lily mentions a sweater that belonged to Charlotte's mother. The narrator mentions that this made her go to "her dark place". The moment is framed such that it appears Chuck's aunt simply misses her niece. But a later episode reveals that Aunt Lily is Chuck's mother.
      • In the first episode, Lily mentions that Chuck used to threaten to bake anti-depressants into their food in order to cheer them up. Come Season Two...
    • Free the Frogs: Young Ned, in "Bitter Sweets".
    • Freudian Trio: Ned/Chuck/Emerson as Ego/Superego/Id, respectively.
    • Friendless Background: Ned very explicitly had no friends as of the start of the series. Emerson and Olive start as more business associate and oblivious crusher than anything.
    • Friendly Local Chinatown: As part of the Emerson's PI status, as well as the pervasive noirish milieu, his office is located in the local Chinatown, directly above a dim-sum restaurant, and his sign is in Chinese as well as English.
    • The Fun in Funeral: Trope Namer?
    • Genki Girl: Chuck, determined to make the most of her second chance at life.
    • Genre Savvy: Chuck is aware of and afraid of CHUD: Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers.
    • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Jock-off 2000." "Well, I'll be dental-dammed." "Simone had come... and gone." How in holy hell do they get that past the radar?
      • Also in the episode "The Norwegians", the crime lab used by the titular Norwegians is called Mother, with the lettering on the side saying "Mobile Investigative Lab Facility". The acronym spells a certain popular term for a hot mom.
        • In that same episode, Emerson ate at a Noodle bar called Hentai Noodles.
      • Naming an episode "Bitches" when only one female dog is involved?
      • Randy Mann. That is all.
      • Olive, in one episode: "I used to think 'masturbation' meant chewing."
      • Chuck in episode 2 talks about a tee shirt Ned gave her for her eighth birthday, "Be kind to animals, kiss a beaver." Also Lampshaded by Chuck's aunts, who said Ned had a dirty mind and called him "Beaver Boy" following that incident.
      • Ned referring to his abilities as "Waking and Baking".
      • In "Corpsicle", one of the suspects deliberately messes up Emerson Cod's name, referring to him as Mr. Cox.
      • Come & Sleep Hotel.
    • G-Rated Drug: Chuck spikes her aunts' pies with homeopathic remedies, and Aunt Lily accidentally get an overdose in "Corpsicle". A Mushroom Samba results, and Hilarity Ensues.
    • Gratuitous German: Used by the Waffle Nazi, who, funnily enough, neither speaks the language nor is German at all. He's just cultivating an image.
    • Has Two Mommies: Chuck, raised by her two aunts or rather, one aunt and her mother masquerading as her other aunt...
    • Homage: Exactly how much this show owes to the classic French film Amelie varies from "it's the writer's favorite film, there's bound to be some similarities" to "attempted shot-for-shot remake".
      • Also see the homage to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds in "Bitter Sweets".
      • As well as the Hitchcock references in "Bitches", culminating with Emerson's dream homage to Vertigo.
      • In some episodes, Chuck's fashion style is a clear tribute to Audrey Hepburn
      • A lot of scenes are shot in style of a Film Noir with the window shades casting shadows over the characters faces, most notably "Girth", "Bitches", and "Bad Habits", when Olive goes to hire Emerson.
    • Horrible Judge of Character: Aunt Vivian seems to have really bad taste in men.
    • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Casting Lee Pace and Chi McBride (6'3" and 6'4", respectively) opposite Anna Friel and Kristin Chenoweth (5'2" and 4'11", respectively) guaranteed lots of this.
    • Human Shield: The villain in "Oh Oh Oh--It's Magic" does this to Olive, and is mocked for his choice of hostage by Emerson.

    Emerson You need a bigger human shield or something. You're hanging out all shorts of places I can shoot!


    "If I could breathe I would vomit."


    Emerson Cod: Your book was a bomb.
    Napoleon: Who are you to criticize my life's work?!
    Emerson Cod: [deadpan] Your book. Was a bomb. It exploded.


    Emerson: That's bat crap.
    Olive: It's a frickin' convent. Show some respect.
    Emerson: (pointing at the white-streaked wall of the bell tower) I'm showing you bat crap.

    • Littlest Cancer Patient: Subverted, in "Corpsicle", by heart patient Abner Newsome, the least likable kid-with-a-terminal-disease in the history of the trope.
    • Locked Out of the Loop: Olive doesn't know about Ned's strange touch-related gift, other than that he can't/won't/doesn't touch Chuck or Digby and has a locked room full of rotten fruit. Chuck actually told Olive the truth, with predictable results.
      • Chuck's aunts don't know that Chuck has been brought back to life.
        • At least, not until the last few seconds of the series finale.
    • Lonely Rich Kid: Olive grew up this way.
    • Long Lost Sibling: Ned has twin half-brothers from his father's second marriage. Ned's father abandoned them, too
    • Lost Her In A Card Game: How Mei got engaged, in "Dim Sum Lose Sum".
    • Love Makes You Crazy: Ned, Olive.
    • Love Triangle: Ned, Chuck and Olive- Triang Relations Type 4.
      • Getting slightly more complicated with Alfredo and Oscar Vibenius
      • Also made awkward in the episode where Ned dreams Chuck and him getting intimate and actually touching and then it turns out that it's actually Olive in a Chuck suit.
    • Ludicrous Precision: The narrator when explaining how long ago something happened.
    • MacGuffin: Charles Charles' pocket watch, apparently.
    • Make It Look Like an Accident: Emerson suggests this to Ned, about Chuck's alive-agained father, Charles Charles.
    • Meaningful Name: Many of them, including:
      • Harold Hundin ("Hundin" is German for "female dog") in "Bitches".
      • Buddy Amicus ("amicus" is Latin for "friend") in "Frescorts".
      • Bao Ting ("bao" is Cantonese for "bun") in "Dim Sum Lose Sum".
    • Men Don't Cry: In "Bzzzzzzz!", the Season 2 opener, Emerson is quite outspoken about this. Even Ned agrees.
    • Messy Pig: Pigby who accidentally killed someone in "Bad Habits".
    • Metaphorgotten
    • Mistaken for Murderer: Ned, in "Bitter Sweets".
    • Momma's Boy: John Joseph Jacobs in "Girth".
      • And to a lesser extent, Emerson seems to be a bit of a mama's boy when we meet his mother in "Frescorts".
    • Mood Motif:
    • Motor Mouth: Ned tends to babble rapidly when he's nervous, and he's nervous quite frequently.
      • Arguably Chuck as well. The two of them together have a lot of whiplash-inducing back-and-forth conversations together.
    • Mr. Vice Guy: Emerson Cod and Greed.
    • Ms. Fanservice: Olive Snook.
    • Mundane Utility: Ned's pies are great because the fruit he uses is extremely fresh; all the fruit he touches is brought back to life, so it tastes like it's not more than a few minutes off the plant when it hits the oven.
    • Murder Arson and Jaywalking: when Olive tells the legend of Merle Mcquoddy:

    Olive: He flew into rages! Roamed the beaches at midnight! Shunned indoor plumbing!


    Emerson: And don't you say "ginormous", 'cause that ain't a word.

    • Never Trust a Trailer: The episode "Bitches" was advertised in a way that implied Ned and Olive would hook up.
    • Newspaper-Thin Disguise
    • The Nicknamer: Emerson has a nickname for just about every character, every episode.
    • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In "Bitter Sweets", Ned goes to clean up a vermin infestation planted by Olive and Chuck (a task made even more difficult for him because he can't directly touch the dead rodents) in a rival's store--only to find a corpse and get Mistaken for Murderer.
    • No Name Given: If Ned has a last name, we haven't yet learned it. The narrator, who often refers to characters by their full names, calls him "young Ned" in the flashbacks and "the pie-maker" in the present. Doubles as a meaningful name, given that it is an anagram for 'End' and 'NDE', the synonym for 'Near Death Experience'.
    • Not Using the Zed Word: Ned, in "Pie-lette"; he thinks it's disrespectful.
    • Nuns Are Funny
    • Obfuscating Disability: In a Season 2 episode, we see a brief flashback to Emerson Cod's childhood. His mother faked putting him in danger to expose a man who had made fraudulent insurance claims. She pushed a stroller with a baby doll in it down a flight of stairs- the allegedly wheelchair-bound man with a neck-brace and a broken arm ran from his wheelchair to catch the baby with both hands.
    • Of Corpse He's Alive: Used to flush out the victim's murderer. Of course, done with the advantage that, for one minute, he is alive...
    • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Subverted, as is usual for this trope: Olive asks Ned if that isn't really a rolling pin under his apron; Ned silently produces the rolling pin, to Olive's dismay.
    • Parental Abandonment/Parental Neglect: Ned and Chuck both ended up orphaned and eventually grew up in the care of others.
      • Missing Mom: Ned's mother died suddenly when he was nine. Chuck grew up believing that her mother had died in childbirth, but later discovers that her mother is her "Aunt" Lily.
      • Disappeared Dad: Chuck's father died when she was eight, as an unfortunate side effect of Ned bringing back his mother. Ned's father just abandoned him. Emerson Cod is himself a Disappeared Dad... but not through any fault of his own.
    • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Ned sort of dangles in the air with his eyes closed and his lips puckered even after Chuck has stopped kissing him. It happens every time she kisses him, along with the theme music swelling with violins.
    • Power Incontinence: Ned is forced to use an extendable arm with a fake hand on the end to pet his dog, and to come up with multiple creative ways to touch Chuck, because his power is always on.
    • "Previously On...": The Narrator mentions Ned's ability and its rules Once an Episode so new viewers are not lost.
    • Private Detective: Emerson Cod.
    • Punny Name: Randy Mann.
    • Refuge in Audacity: Usually, when fifteen people die, it's a very big tragedy. Except when it's clowns and they all die in the same clown car crash. And then their bodies are taken out one at a time, with one dead clown having enormous stilts. Then it's hilarious.
      • It was also pretty hilarious when in episode 3 of Season 2, Olive prays for a sign from God. Then a dead nun falls from above where she was praying. It's so morbid but funny at the same time.
      • Fifteen would be a calamity, actually.
    • Repetitive Name: Charlotte "Chuck" Charles and her father, Charles Charles.
      • Which is why the recurring fan favorite choice for Ned's last name is Edwards.
    • The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: Although a rather rushed epilogue of sorts was stuck on the end of the final episode, a "third season" of comics is due to be published by DC in 2011. It will apparently involve a "fresh take on the Zombie Apocalypse".
    • Retraux Flashback
    • Retro Universe: From Chuck's Hepburn-esque wardrobe to Ned's and Emerson's beautiful old cars, the world is like a more colorful version of the past... or the past as it should have been (although the idealized past apparently includes the Reagan administration as seen in "Smell of Success").
    • Sarcasm Mode: Emerson, basically all the time: "Oh, look at that, a dumb idea just found a friend!" And very occasionally, Ned: "'Come to our show, Frère Pie-Maker! It's a magic show."
    • Scooby Stack: Chuck, Emerson, and Ned peeping out from a curtain in "Dim Sum Lose Sum".
    • Secret Keeper: Though most of the main characters are keeping secrets, Olive seems to be an especially popular secret repository.
      • Except, of course, the biggest secret of all...
    • Secret-Chaser: Oscar Vibenius.
    • Serious Business: Very nearly everything, from honey to pop-up books to scratch-and-sniffs to synchronized swimming to department store window dressings.
    • Sesquipedalian Smith Emerson Cod.
    • Shaped Like What It Sells: The Pie Hole is shaped like a giant pie.
    • Sherlock Scan: Oddly enough, it's not Private Detective Emerson Cod who does this, but smell experts Napoleon Le Nez and Oscar Vibenius.
    • Shout-Out:

    Olive: You've got me? Who's got you?!


    The Narrator: The message was clear. Someone wanted to make a stink.

    • Stigmatic Pregnancy Euphemism: Lily spent time at a convent when pregnant with Chuck.
    • Sugar Bowl: The Pushing Daisies world is brightly colored, full of pies, tender sweet moments, coy glances, happy honeybees, whimsy, and little charming gestures. This offsets the bizarre murders, morbid humor, and unflinching examinations of personal responsibility and morality.
    • The Summation: The narrator does this, sometimes several times an episode, and always starting with the phrase "the facts were these..."
    • Sure, Let's Go with That: As to why Chuck is alive, the simplest answer is that she faked her death. See also Cassandra Truth above.
    • Sweet Dreams Fuel
    • Sword Fight: In "The Fun in Funeral".
      • With Improbable Fencing Powers justified by the page quote of Sword Fight.
    • Synchronized Swarming: While following a case where a woman says she was attacked by a "terrifying bee man", Ned speculates about being chased by a human-shaped swarm of bees. Turns out it was actually a person covered in bees.
    • Taxidermy Terror: Ned is terrified of preserved animals, but not for the usual reasons. He's afraid of accidentally resurrecting them.
    • That Poor Cat: "Comfort Food".
    • That Reminds Me of a Song: With Broadway actresses Kristin Chenoweth and Ellen Greene in the cast, it was inevitable.
      • Unfortunately, Olive was provided a missed love connection in the person of one Broadway veteran Raul Esparza, who... well, would a duet been too much to ask for?
        • File his song-less appearances on the show along with that of Christopher Seiber.
    • Theme Naming: Ned's three closest human associates all have food-related names: Olive Snook, Emerson Cod, Charlotte Charles. (A charlotte is a French dessert: a "crust" made of ladyfinger cookies enclosing a mousse of some sort. Her nickname, "Chuck", can also refer to a cut of beef.)
      • Also, both Snook and Cod are types of fish.
    • Theme Twin Naming: Averted if you consider the show tendency to alliterative and repetitive names.
    • They Called Me Mad: The scent scientists--both Napoleon Le Nez and Oscar Vibenius.
    • They Fight Crime: But as private investigators primarily motivated by big rewards.

    Emerson: I suppose I could pay my bills with blind kids' smiles, but their money is a lot easier.


    Ned: Ever since I was a kid, I'd have this dream where somebody would find out what I could do. It starts off with lots of ice cream and balloons and ends in a small white room where little bits are cut out of me until there's nothing left to cut.


    Specific episodes provide examples of:


    Emerson: Have you seen the special lockup they keep for cocky young acrobats? Because I haven't.