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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Pushing Daisies
One or more of the characters is a Time Lord.

The pocket watches are the new version of the state alchemist watches from Fullmetal Alchemist.
The world of Pushing Daisies is the world of FMA Exty Years from Then. All the characters live in Amestris, which has become a democracy. Chuck's father, Ned's father, and Dwight Dixon were all state alchemists traveling together; hence, the pocket watches.
  • This Troper just went squee.
  • Hmm... Perhaps Ned is a stone-homunculus, and he gives out new lives with a touch, then sucks in any lives that don't have the proper anchor a naturally instilled life would have (i.e., lives he had given) with another touch? This ties in well with my "literally giving and taking back a life" guess below. If Ned's father had preformed human alchemy on his wife's recently-stillborn (or unborn) child, that might explain why he went on the run as soon as Ned's particular power showed up in a form that might put him (Ned's father) under suspicion of human transmutation. Additionally, Ned can be short for Edward (see "Edward Edwards" below)... Named after his great great uncle or great grandfather, perhaps?

Pushing Daisies takes place in an alternate history version of the Heroes universe.
When Hiro went to the future, he found that alternate timelines could exist. When he went to the past, it's reasonable to assume that he left an altered, alternate timeline behind — perhaps one in which Adam Monroe did die. An alteration that far back in history would have interesting repercussions later in history. That timeline evolved into the familiar-yet-distinctly odd world of Pushing Daisies, with its undefined geography and retro technology.

This means that Ned's ability is a Heroes-style genetic superpower. The similarity between Adam Monroe's immortality and Digby's immortality seems to underscore this point. Other people, like LeNez, may also have superpowers; but without Monroe's influence, there is no Company to keep track of them.
  • There were plans to have Hiro appear (with time powers) in episode 3 of Pushing Daisies.
  • Motivated by a desire to secure Ned and Chuck's happiness and thus have Olive to himself, Alfredo Aldarisio will eventually find the alternate-universe Mohinder and develop a way to suppress Ned's ability.
  • Chuck's Aunt is the alt!version of Sylar's mum (seen near the end of Volume One), and her alt!mother is due to appear sometime in Volume Four as an old friend of Angela Petrelli.
    • While we're mentioning Heroes guest appearances, Charlie Andrews was played by the same actress as Elsita.

Ned is a virgin.
It is a fairy tale world, and so Ned will lose his power if he loses his virginity. Then he and Chuck can live happily ever after after she forgives him for his dalliance.
  • Ned's comment about making love on a bear rug may have Jossed this.
    • He technically said "intimate relations". Maybe the bear ruined the mood before they could go all the way.
      • That just brings up all kinds of potential squick.
      • Yes, and that would be part of what ruined the mood.
      • Odds are, that incident was as close as Ned got to losing his virginity. That there was a bearskin rug around in the first place implies that Ned hadn't told his would-be lover about his ability, which in turn means that either the relationship wasn't emotionally serious or that Ned was so inexperienced with romance that he thought explaining the central defining force of his life could wait until after the relationship had progressed to the sexual.
    • Wouldn't it be fun if Ned's lover died of a heart attack? What counts as a touch for the purposes of his power?
      • It's rather poetic, in a maudlin sort of way.
      • How very snow white.

Olive and Chuck are related
It would certainly explain their mutual attraction to the Piemaker, also we see that Aunt Lily and Olive are able to touch Ned without consequence in "Girth", not to mention in "Pie-lette" we see that Ned was able to kiss Chuck as a child without killing. Perhaps their is some gene in the X-Chromosomes of the Charles family that helps protect against "The Death Touch" (but not resurrection touch) or Lily and Vivian are indeed witches who have gone to protective measures after the death of Charles Charles.
  • What in the world does being related have to do with whom you're attracted to? Their mutual attraction to Ned is easily explained by - well, by looking at him.
  • Ned can touch any normal living being with no consequences. His touch only has an effect on lifeforms who are or have been dead. He's only reluctant to touch people because he's learned to be really, really careful about what he touches, and other people make him nervous anyway. He could, if he so chose, have an intimate physical relationship with, say, Olive; he just doesn't want anyone but Chuck.

Someone in the neighborhood has a Death Note and a twisted sense of humor.
He or she derives entertainment from making people commit murder in weird ways (exploding scratch 'n' sniff book, trampling with a horse, strangulation with a life-sized doll, etc.).
  • It might be fun to see the Pie Hole team go up against a Kira.

Now, here's the big question: if you got a Death Note, and got Ned to touch a cadaver just before someone else writes that person's name in the Death Note, what would happen if Ned touches them again? What about five times?

Aunt Vivian has powers like Ned.
It's been mentioned repeatedly that she does not like to be touched. The first time they mentioned it was done in a way that seemed like important foreshadowing. Also, the name "Vivian" means "Alive" (Although that may just be to fit with "Lily", whose name is probably a reference to funeral flowers).
  • I don't know about Vivian, but... I've just watched "Corpsicle" again: on the day of Chuck's dad's and Ned's mom's deaths, Ned comes to the door after bedtime. Lily answers it. Ned stands there looking forlorn. Lily immediately deduces that Ned's mother has just died. How would she know?
    • I think the implication is supposed to be that Ned told her and we just didn't see that part. Now that I think of it, I can't remember hearing Young Ned speak in any of the flashbacks, even when it's implied he must have said something.

The show is set in a retro-themed region of the modern-day world.
This is why there are always more retro cars than modern cars; the modern cars belong to outsiders passing through or visiting. Any other aberrations in the retro aesthetic can be attributed to the influence of the outside modern world.
  • It's not our world as it is. It's our world as it should be: shinier, prettier, more colorful. It's the way we thought the world would be when we were children—a world where being a professional baker and small-business owner leaves one with oodles of discretionary income and free time.
    • The reason he has such free time and money is because of his detective side work. He's getting a cut of the money of every case he works on.

The show is a coy present-day retelling of the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.
Chuck wasn't literally abducted by Ned, but she IS forbidden by him to go home. His pies (and perhaps, metaphorically, his love) are the magical "food of the dead" that keep Chuck in Ned's "kingdom".
  • It's more like Orpheus and Eurydice; except Ned, unlike Orpheus, didn't slip up and thus gets to keep his formerly dead girlfriend around.
    • Or rather, he gets to keep her if he doesn't slip up — instead of not being allowed to look at his dead girlfriend, he isn't allowed to touch her. It fits!
      • Orpheus could have looked at Eurydice if he had waited. He just wasn't supposed to look back at her while they ascending out of Hades.

Ned's dad was/is deliberately trying to breed a kid with Ned's powers.
Remember that one episode of The X-Files where there's a demon who's set up multiple families and is methodically trying to produce a non-demon kid? What if Ned's dad were doing something similar? When Ned's mother died, her husband—not realizing that she'd already been brought back and died again—concluded that their son lacked the ability, and abandoned Ned. Much later, that's why he abandoned the twins and their mother, too; at some point they must have demonstrated to him that they didn't have the power.

Ned's dad was brought back to life by someone else with Ned's powers.
He has to abandon his families because he's immortal and changing identities. A side effect is that the touch of resurrection is passed on to his children. This means the twins most likely have the power too.

Ned's father left to protect young Ned.
Believing his wife's death to be a hit intended on his life, he ships Ned off to the safety of the Longburrow School for Boys and assumes a new identity, eventually Becoming the Mask until another event led him to flee for his life again, leaving his other two sons behind.

Ned's "real" name—or his dad's—will turn out to be "Edward Edwards".
So Charles Charles, Dwight Dixon, and Ned's dad all served in the UN Foreign Legion or whatever, and each came away with an engraved pocketwatch. The two we've seen (Charles' and Dwight's) have been engraved "CC" and "DD", respectively. The show's propensity for symmetry and repetition suggests that the third (Ned's dad's) will be engraved either "BB" or "EE"—and "Ned" can be short for "Edward".
  • Perhaps both Ned and his dad will be Edward Edwards - Charlotte Charles is just a feminised form of her father's name after all - thus neatly explaining the Ned nickname; he doesn't want to hear his dad's name, even if it is his own. May also serve as a shout out to Indiana Jones; someone named Charles, after their emotionally distant father, takes on a nickname to anger his dad. Though Ned couldn't go the 'name of my dog' route, what with his unusually long-lived dog ... except in "Bitches", where he switches his and Digby's names around in just such a manner ...

Chuck is immune to the "after a minute, someone in proximity dies" clause, Ned is immune to it as well.
In "Oh Oh Oh, It's Magic," Ned's watch timer GOES OFF (the minute is done!) while he's still talking to the Great Herrmann. Chuck is the only one within proximity, but she doesn't re-die. Ned doesn't either.
  • All those permanently brought back are immune to the proximity rule. (See Ned's "No re-gifting" comment in "The Fun In Funeral".)
  • Boring alternative: Ned was extra careful and set the timer to go off at 55 seconds. Which...actually makes sense, as he uses the timer as a reminder.
  • The minute is not that hard set. We've seen that sometimes it takes a few seconds for the exchange death to occur. After a minute, the universe goes looking for the nearest acceptable trade, and within that time is a grace period. One minute is probably the shortest possible time, and so the standard.

In the third season, Ned will be imprisoned for accidentally killing someone who had been legally dead and brought back to life with Science.
His touch of death affects "anyone who has been brought back to life." The narrator doesn't say "anyone who has been brought back to life by the power of his touch of life, and not, say, a person who was legally dead for two and a half minutes under a frozen pond."
  • Third season... <sob>.
  • This was Jossed by those bigwigs at ABC who chose to cancel the show after the second season.

Ned and his brothers have all been dead. Ned's dad has the power and took off so he wouldn't run the risk of killing his kids again.
Found here.
  • We see Ned's dad tousling Ned's hair in some of the flashbacks.
    • But how far back? Ned's touch doesn't affect anyone who's never died.
      • We see him touching Ned when Ned is dropped off at boarding school, and Ned states repeatedly that that was the last time he saw his father (bar the glimpse he had in "Girth", and the incident at the end of "The Norwegians", where Ned isn't aware of his father's identity).

Those who die in proximity are immoral or bad people or (in some cases) animals.
When Ned's mom was alived-again, Charles Charles died, we later learn that he was not the man that Chuck made him out to be.

When Young Ned was doing his experiments with the fireflies, it wasn't another firefly that died; it was a spider that was not part of the experiment.

When Chuck was alived-again, one of the funeral home directors died. He was robbing from coffins.

When Charles Charles was alived-again, it was Dwight Dixon who died.
  • As appealing as this is from the standpoint of Ned's conscience, it implies that the squirrel who died in exchange for Digby's life was an evil squirrel.
    • Dude, squirrels are evil.
      • Or at least have no souls.
  • My theory? The equivalence of live. It only makes sense if theall-mighty power thing only picks its victims at random, though, i.e., the squirrel in Digby's case. Maybe it was and evil squirrel? Maybe it stole some other squirrels nuts? Human life is worth Human life. Animal life is worth Animal life. Insect life is worth Insect life, though I might just be trying to tie together two fandoms...
    • The "animal-for-an-animal" is canon. Dunno about evil, but that much is outright stated in "Pidge". Now, maybe if an evil squirrel dies to replace another evil squirrel, and a good squirrel for a good squirrel...
    • This could still be true, It's not that the squirrel is completely 'evil', but something had to die , it was the most-'evil' equivalent life in the area.

When it comes to human life, Ned's power isn't random; it targets the owners of the pocket watches.
When he alived-again his mom, Charles died. The decision to bury his watch with Chuck put the watch in to an ownerless state (since a dead person can't own anything) until the funeral director decided to take it. When Chuck was alived-again, the funeral director was the closest watch owner. The reason that Dwight died when Charles was alived-again is because those who have been revived by Ned can't be used in an exchange; thus, despite being a watch owner, Chuck wasn't a valid choice.
  • That's a fascinating theory, and the idea of the watches having some sort of power might explain why Dwight was after them, although his stunned reaction to the resurrection of Charles Charles suggests that he had no idea that that was possible.
    • Or possibly Dwight had no idea Ned or Chuck had that power.
  • It also raises the tantalising possibility that Ned was the one to (accidentally) kill Chuck in the first place; she owned her father's watch up until she died ... which just around when Emerson strong-armed Ned into revivifying people on a weekly basis. It might even be the guy Emerson first saw Ned bring back and re-dead, given how chaotic that one was. Which would mean that Ned accidentally killed Chuck's dad, and Chuck herself.
    • But Chuck wasn't killed by just mysteriously dropping dead, like all the other victims of the random proximity thing—she was strangled by the Shiny Shoes Killer.

The original series finale would be someone with a stolen death touch making a mish-mash type Body Horror.
Another character introduced at the second-to-last season finale or last season premiere would have gotten away with a touch of death, the reverse of Ned's touch of life. He touches someone living, they die. His and Ned's powers stack, so that if Ned brought someone to life and killed them, he could do the same, and if he killed someone and brought them back to life, Ned could do the same. He touches them again, they come back to life, permanently. He spent the first couple of seasons stealing the corpses from Ned's cases, mostly grinding them up and turning them into a big blob o' undecaying flesh, arms, and brains, and brings it back to life after deactivating Ned's power. Ned would have to restore his power (probably through introspection or giving up Chuck) to defeat it.

Ned is the Bizarro version of Shawn Spencer from Psych
This is on the WMG page from Psych as well.

Aside from both being sleuths, they're almost complete opposites. Shawn solves crimes using observation but pretends to be using superhuman powers. Ned solves crimes using superhuman powers but pretends to be using observation. Shawn employs a black man as his crime-solving assistant, Ned is the crime-solving assistant to a black man. Shawn is a ladies' man, Ned has his one true love and doesn't seem capable of attraction to anyone else. Shawn is always hyperactive and outspoken, making a big impression on everyone he meets, while Ned is shy and unassuming. Shawn is incredibly, even annoyingly, cocky, while Ned is quietly self-confident in his domain and quietly self-conscious out of it. Shawn is reckless, Ned is always hyper-cautious. Shawn's dad was always very demanding of him, while Ned's abandoned him. Shawn is laid-back, Ned is usually ill at ease. Shawn is cunning, Ned hasn't got a devious bone in his body. Shawn is great at deception, Ned is a terrible liar. Any more?

Ned's touch works by literally giving and taking back a life.
The last thing anyone remembers after being brought back is dying. Ghosts (real ghosts) would be possible if all he brings back is the physical shell, which includes recorded memories, and restarts it with a different life (the spark). If the body gets too firm a hold on the new life, Ned pulls a replacement "backup life" from somebody else, without any choice in the matter. He does (subconsciously) try to keep things equivalent, though; for example, fireflies and a spider, Pidge and the other bird, Chuck and the funeral director, his mom and Chuck's dad, even though it's all still exactly one life for one life.

Digby was so much more intelligent than the average dog after being re-lifed, and most characters brought back tend to act like the Theme Park Version of themselves or even get a complete personality change, as though they went from being the same them to a completely new them who simply had the exact same set of memories. This would raise the question of if Ned would give himself his own backup life, since he appears to be immune to the one-minute proximity rule — if he would turn into a corpse, bring himself back and lose his power, or bring himself back and take another person's life.

Ned's touch of life returns things to the exact time of death, then makes them immortal.
The only person brought back after more than a couple of days was the dead prisoner in "Pigeon"; though he looked a bit shrivelled, the only thing that would have necessarily happened after his death was the rotting eyes, which were covered by Chuck's sunglasses. The fruit and leaves return to the state they were in when they were picked or the tree decided they had outlived their usefulness. The bearskin rug was never elaborated on.
Ned will be the reason Death Is Cheap in DC Comics
DC has accepted Fullers' 12 book arc in DC. Provided Pushing Daisies is in the some Continuity as the rest of The Verse, an Anti-Hero could theoreically be resurrected easily. Ned might have issue with this, but with an upcoming Zombie Apocalypse, there could be plenty of victims that Ned doesn't feel bad about.
  • Perhaps Ned will become an unwilling tool of the Black Lanterns.
    • Please, continue.

Bearskin Rug Girl was killed by the alivened rug.
That's why only Emerson and Chuck know about Ned's touch of life. ( Only Emerson and Chuck.) The narrator said so in Season 2 (that they were the only ones who knew, that is).

Chuck never believed that touching Ned would kill her.
As far as we know, if Chuck ever touches Ned she will instantly die. Logically speaking she should treat him like a leaking vat of Sarin or the "third rail" of a subway. Instead she wanders around bare-armed, frequently missing him only by inches. She obviously knows that he's lethal on an intellectual level, but she's never fully accepted it.
  • people will take all kinds of crazy risks for love.

Charles Charles is the same person as Escape from Monkey Island's Charles L. Charles.
So that's where he got to!

Pushing Daisies takes place in the same universe as Babe and Penelope
Both movies and this series are set in a brightly colored patchwork city/country of uncertain time and place (for instance, Penelope is set in New San London Town) where the magical and the mundane often collide.

Immediately after "Kerplunk" ended, Lily and Vivian's heads exploded.
Since they had just seen Chuck, and the narrator outright stated that their heads would explode if they found that Chuck was alive.

Chuck won't actually die from Ned's touch.
The Touch Of Death wears off after a given period. Ned just hasn't conducted enough experiments to know about it.

The people Ned ressurects are completely seperate people from their souls.
If there was ever a ghost of Chuck or her father, they would be probably be vastly different then what she and him would be after being ressurected. Probably she might not really be in love at all with Ned or might hate Lilian for abdanoning her.

It's all in Young Ned's head.
Psychologically traumatized by the death of his mother and his subsequent abandonment at a boarding school by his father, Young Ned concocted the entire in-show universe as an escape from reality.
  • An kid's imaginary universe: All the girls love him? Check. Gets to solve mysteries with a real detective? Check. His girlfriend is eternally pretty, but can't get too close for that icky grown-up stuff? Check. His dog lives forever? Check. Owns his own business where he makes only desserts? Check. Has an inordinate amount of free time for adventure, given that he owns his own business? Check. He can defy death? Double check.
  • If anything, everything from the moment Ned's mother died was an escape. His power, her coming back again? Think Norman Bates in Psycho. Ned's dad came home to find Ned treating his mother's corpse like it was alive and packed him off to an insane asylum, causing Ned to imagine everything from his mother dying again, his first kiss, and the boarding school. He is probably on day-release rehablitation at a pie shop. He may have broken out, killing everyone whose murders he 'solves' in the imaginary universe. He may even have killed Charlotte, having imagined their relationship.
    • Or, alternately, everything in Ned's grey world up until Emerson discovered Ned's secret was real - everything afterwards has been Ned imagining a happy world for himself, under the hallucinogenic effect of morphine, while the government doctors (after the ice cream and balloons) in the small white room are cutting little bits out of him until there's nothing left to cut (Emerson having turned Ned in to the CIA for a fat payoff as soon as possible).

Ned is slightly Autistic
Granted the emotional connection to people he lacks is because of his powers, but what if its also a lack of understanding of people's emotions and such? The way he speaks in a one sided, precise and fast manner can stem from this too. The way he was so upset from Chuck moving in the Olive's apartment across the hall made him seem very upset over change and it has been said he doesn't like change. He is rather smart and shy, two signs of Autisim. More thean likely its higher functioning autisim or asperger's syndrome as he is relatively normal and doesn't have too much of a problem with eye contact or communication.

Ned's dad may have his powers - he may also have been a detective
If Ned's dad has a tendancy to cover-up, as in the Norwegians episode, he may have Ned's power and the emotional distance that entails. However, he also managed to plant forensic evidence consistent with grave-robbing and body-burning in Dwight Dixon's room so well that it fooled the scientific prowess of the Norwegian detectives. He could even have paired up with Emerson's mom after her son left her business and Ned's dad finished his time in the Foreign Legion.

Ned's dad is the narrator
We never see Ned's dad and we only hear him for a few lines. It's possible.

Ned inherited his power from his mother
... And the rules are that when he first touches something and brings it back, she dies so he would bring her back, she would touch him again and teach him about the 2nd touch=dead forever rule. Ned and Chuck can't really have kids together for obvious reasons. So Ned would be immortal.

No one knows Ned's last name because of his crippling intimacy issues.
And so much other stuff's happening all the time that no one ever thought to ask.

Ned does have some control over his powers
That is, the only real rules are that first touch revives dead people, a second one kills them forever, and if someone brought this way for more than a minute something else has to die. But that's it. If he's thinking(consciously or subconsciously) into something, it will happen. He has some control over HOW the deceased will return, as Digby was ran over by a truck and killed, should by all means, have at least some blood and broken bones, yet, when Ned touches him, he's as good and new, and even immortal to boot. This is not a rare effect of the touch, but Kid Ned actively hoped that his dog would be all ok, and made it happen. And what child wouldn't want to have his pet live forever and never growing old? Chuck is more or less the same. She doesn't show any symptom of ever being dead, despite being suffocated. Most other people Ned makes come back he doesn't have a particular affiliation, so they come back as he sees them, but in a painless state, and ready to tell him who killed them, instead of, say, freaking out about them being dead in the first place. Likewise, if Ned doesn't want someone's live taken in exchange, then it won't be taken. Obviously, this makes himself immune to the rule, but by now it has made also Chuck, Digby and anyone Ned likes immune as well. (Emmerson was considerably closer when Chuck was revived, for example, and with Pidge, he didn't want the squirrel to die. With the bees, he explicitly stated that he hoped the water bugs would die)

Ned is a cortexiphan kid. (Cross-post from Fringe WMG.)
  • Cortexiphan brought out his talent for bringing people Back from the Dead as a child. He almost exclusively wears black/white/grey (the exceptions are all undercover-type situations), and tries his very hardest to be inconspicuous. His greatest fear is becoming an experiment if found out— but what if there's a grain of a memory in there? The supernaturally delicious pies may or may not be related.

Assuming he never touches them again, Chuck, Digby, and anyone else dead he brings back to life and leaves alive, will die permanently the moment Ned does.
  • This troper believes there may be a trope concerning the idea that magic wears off when the caster dies, like in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Either way, this would make sense. It would also return some form of nature to Ned's left-alive people, rather than have them remain permanently immortal/unaging.

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