What’s it called? “The Fun in Funeral” Who’s responsible? Bryan Fuller handles the words coming out of peoples’ mouths, Paul Edwards shoots the people with film. What does TV Guide say? “Ned looks into a mysterious death at the Schatz Funeral Home. Meanwhile, Chuck concocts a plan to invigorate her aunts, Lily and Vivian.” What is TV Guide not telling us? Olive has a bit of a subplot or two, involving an herbalist and moonlighting as a delivery-girl. Hey, wasn’t the herbalist supposed to be Paul Reubens? It was, but in the end it was not. I hear they recast him to appear a little later on. The fellow who does appear as the herbalist, Raul Esparza, does so adequately, but what with the aforementioned romantic undertones with the increasingly amazing Kristin Chenoweth, one can only dream of the missed kooky chemistry between her and Pee Wee. What about this week’s mystery? Not so much of one, it turns out. The promos already give away that the death in question involves the graverobbing funeral director from the pilot, but the graverobbing does take slightly more centerer stage, and introduces a funeral directing twin brother. There is a bit of a twisty addition with a subsequent death, and the search for the missing graverobbed loot, particularly a Civil War era sword and questionable familial lineage. After a week away, do we see Chuck’s aunts again? We do. The delightful Kurtz (as curt – ha! – as she is, I may enjoy her more in this, with as few words as she has, more than anything I’ve seen of her previous) and Greene are back, but having cancelled their planned comeback tour due to a relapse of emotion, Chuck takes it upon herself to set them right. The murder victim seems to be a sonovabitch. Does Chuck still want to help carry out his dying wish? You’d think not, but she justifiably feels a little guilt for being the reason for, if not direct cause of, his death, so she tries to at least apologize in the minute that is allotted. But Emerson is also keen to get his hands on the missing loot to assuage the remaining brother and deflect heat from anyone who might come poking into mysterious deaths and unusual revivals. Any more musical numbers? Sadly, no. Some people didn’t like Chenoweth’s sojourn into her Broadway roots, but I have to say that I loved it. She almost makes up for it, though, with a delightful piece of physical business while on her delivery. Once she rings the doorbell, you’ll see what I mean. What’s good? “Be kind to animals, kiss a beaver.”; “If you ask me, the kilogram needed to be taken down a peg”; “Musing on the idea of setting someone on fire doesn't mean you really want to set them on fire.”; “I could write a book on hand moisturizer”; “This is a pie house, not some herbal crack den.”; referring to “Lonely Tourist Charlotte Charles” repeatedly; Ned's choice of tool when trying to open the stuck coffin; “No! Re! Gifting!”; “And I say fat in reference to his size as a liar, not his physical appearance.”; “That's kinda how I feel slash exactly how I feel.”; “As she grew closer to the doorbell, Olive considered crimes against deliverypeople, and how they were on the rise.”; Olive’s little jaunt after ringing the doorbell; “SOS ... OS! OS!”; “Vermouth always reminds me of mother.”; “Pie Hole. I like it, it’s provocative.”; “...who is dead? Presently?”; “Looking forward to killing you. Best, Wilfred Woodruff”; Wilfred Woodruff in general; “Remember, mind over matter makes Pooh unfatter” “I may be stuck, but I can still reach my gun.”; “I wanted to be a Jedi.”; the whole Errol Flynn thing; “Kick Pooh, kick!”; “I’m gonna see if I’ve got some plastic wrap.” Not so good? As mentioned, nothing necessarily ‘wrong’ with it, but one wonders what might have been with Reubens and Chenoweth in romantic cahoots. Kurtz and Greene are still underused. The jeopardy twist also involves a bit of a leap of plot logic, but it involves a fun gag, so it’s forgivable. Rating for 1.3 (out of five) ****1/2 – after a delightful, five-star pie-lette, there has been little-to-no drop-off (at least quality-wise) week to week. And thankfully, the ratings seem to be reflecting that, if not in total viewers, at least in demo. So thank whoever you talk to in the sky, ‘cuz the TV gods seem to have actually blessed this thing with legs to stand on, for once in our lives.“Buckydude” says:
The facts are these: Episode Title: “The Fun in Funeral” Writer: Bryan Fuller Director: Paul Edwards Guest Stars: Raul Esparza What Happens: Ned (Lee Pace) comes to terms with the death of the funeral director whose life was sacrificed for Chuck’s (Anna Friel). Emerson (Chi McBride) leads the investigation to where the funeral man’s stolen family heirlooms went to and Olive (Kristin Chenoweth) begins to unravel the truth about Chuck. What Really Happens: We get some minor clarification as to the rules of Ned’s powers; Ned and Chuck kiss (sort of); a traveling medicine man (Raul Esparza) hooks Chuck’s aunts up with some drugs, a five minute sword fight that’s totally balls awesome. Improvement?: This episode feels a lot more solid then last weeks. I’m not knocking the second episode it’s just that this one feels a bit more charged and exciting, much like the pilot. What Works: A subtle shout-out to Dead Like Me by a firefly formation, a Scrubs flash out of mass destruction, pirate metaphor, “what part of do not resuscitate don’t you people understand,” Winnie the poo analogy, the huge sword fight at the end, red-neck Asian, solid character development, “has being dead made me morbid,” a hilarious bit of Emerson running from the death timer, the dialogue is still engaging, the coroner’s (Sy Richardson) hopefully weekly appearance. What Doesn’t: Nothing in particular sags in this episode. I’m not crazy over the show’s intro title but it’s only 2 seconds. The second half is a little drawn out, and watching Olive pine for Ned is getting a tad dull but other than that it was all very good, with room for slight improvement. Last week I beaked the show for having trouble deciding what type of show it was going to be. This week focuses on the comedy with a lot of just really funny moments along with some great stuff between Ned and Chuck with a solid, if somewhat conveniently solved, murder mystery. Overall, good show Mr. Fuller. It almost makes up for the death of Dead Like Me. Rating: ***1/2 out of ****NEXT WEEK: No singing in 1.3 tonight, but Olive (and other cast members) tackle a revered They Might Be Giants number in 1.4. Which? A hint: the title of next week’s episode is “Pigeon.” 8 p.m. Wednesday. ABC.