By far, my favorite moment of the TCA press tour this Summer was getting to wander around the set of Pushing Daisies, which returns tonight for its second season. As lovely and fanciful as the Daisies world looks on television, it's even more wonderful in person, filling up two full sound stages on the Warner Bros. lot. The entire set wasn't open, but I did get to slide into a Pie Hole booth, check out the aunts' stuffy living room, and see the confessional in the nunnery where Olive will be starting the new season. To hear what the insanely detailed rooms looked like up close, just read on:
The Pie Hole
It makes total sense that the Pie Hole set doesn't have a top; how else would they get the cameras in for those overhead shots? But it was still funny to see this huge, looming pie crust edge with nothing in the middle, like a Gorg had come along and scooped out a bite. Inside, it's a surprisingly roomy restaurant, with cushy booths, lights shaped like giant cherries, and a spacious kitchen with a walk-in fridge (no bodies this time; I checked).
In one corner, candy jars and waffle cones are piled high; in another, there's an antique mirror where diners can check their hair on the way out. If you want a slice of pie at the Pie Hole, it'll cost you $5.95, but there's a pretty wide range of choices (four berry, Dutch apple, strawberry rhubarb, lemon meringue, sweet potato, three plum, peach, and derby). And if for some reason pie's not your thing, their butter pecan ice cream is apparently also world-famous.
To read about Emerson's office, the nunnery, and the aunts' place, just
Emerson Cod's Office
With its hardwood floors, big metal safe, and framed artwork, Emerson's office looks ornate at first . . . until you notice all the knitting. There's a basket stuffed with yarn and needles just to one side of his desk chair, and he's clearly put it to use — on his desk, there's a knit cozy for his tissue box and another for his coffee mug. The man does love his money: a frame on the wall holds several old bills. In another frame, there's a certificate of proficiency from the Small Arms Firing School.
The Aunts' House
Here's one rule for Lily and Vivian's house: If it can be covered with fabric, it is, and the more layers the better. This was the tiniest and most crowded set we visited, stuffed with furniture upholstered heavily in velvet and brocade. It's the sort of place that always feels dusty no matter how clean it is, and there's barely room for two people to move around, much less a full cast and camera crew (one production guy saw us emerge and said, "Now you know why every time we shoot in there, the characters are sitting down"). Outside, there's a garden hose and blooming flowers; inside, it's just as dingy as it looks on screen, but purposefully so. Knick-knacks and birdcages are stacked everywhere — or, rather, everywhere there's not already furniture, as they've somehow crammed three couches, six armchairs, and a daybed into the tiny space.
I didn't actually get to climb up onto Chuck's beekeeping roof, but it was one of my favorite corners of the whole set, with a sweeping blue screen representing the sky taking up the better part of two walls. A dozen gold beehives take up most of the rooftop, interspersed with pink, purple, and orange flowers. A bunch of old TV antennas loom over the roof, artfully tangled.
We haven't actually seen this set in action yet, but just know this: It's spectacular. It's the largest of all the rooms I saw on the set, with several components: a large, monk-like dining hall with spartan tables, wooden chairs, and religious paintings lining the walls; a cavernous sanctuary with huge banks of candles along the wall (and several melting at the altar); and a confessional booth draped with thick, red, velvet curtains. The whole thing is decorated in shades of orange, red, gold, and gray, with a fleur de lis theme. I can't wait to see how it pops on screen.