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Bryan Fuller reflects on Pushing Daisies as a gay metaphor and his hopes for a reboot

Contributed by
Oct 5, 2017

It has been ten years since Bryan Fuller's remarkable series Pushing Daisies premiered on ABC. The show, about a man who can bring people back to life and uses this skill to solve murders, only lasted two seasons, but still holds a special place in the hearts of fans. One of those fans is Fuller himself.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Fuller opens up about his love for the series. “It’s perhaps the purest expression of my creativity, as derivative as it is,” he says now. “It’s full of things that make me happy as an artist. So when anyone appreciates the show, they’re appreciating me.”

Despite dealing with death, the show, at its core, was a story about love. Ned's childhood sweetheart is murdered, and he uses his ability to bring her back to life, even though he could never, ever touch her. If he did, she would die again, for good.

Fuller admits that this plotline was inspired by his time as a gay man growing up during the AIDS epidemic. In the 1980s (and even into the 1990s), AIDS was considered a "gay man's disease," and was a certain death sentence.

“Unprotected sex meant death for so long,” says Fuller. “There was always an interesting gay metaphor in Pushing Daisies that was at the root of my understanding of these characters. Ten years ago, there was danger associated with intimate touch. I think a lot of those things were probably at the back of my mind as I was creating a universe where something so simple, something that is common in heterosexual relationships, was something that would kill you.”

The show would only last two seasons at ABC, walking a line between ambitious art and family-friendly content. Interestingly, this seems to be a path ABC explores every decade. In the 2000s, it was Pushing Daisies; in the 1990s it was Twin Peaks (though Twin Peaks was definitely far less family-friendly). Twin Peaks got its reboot, a glorious, 18-hour series on Showtime. Could Pushing Daisies have the same opportunity?

“I still would love to do Pushing Daisies as a Broadway musical,” says Fuller. “I’d love to see it return as a mini-series for Netflix, Apple, or Amazon, or whoever would pick it up. I ask Warner Bros. every year to see if they’d be open to it. There are some obstacles there as far as revitalizing it as a television show, but like I said, I’d love to see it as a Broadway musical."

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