Edge of Everywhere

Pushing Daisies: An Asexual-ish Relationship on TV

Posted on: September 18, 2008

Last week, I attended a preview screening of this year’s season premiere of the ABC show Pushing Daisies. This whimsical show about a piemaker who can bring dead people and animals back to life with his touch is totally adorable, mostly due to the overwhelming cuteness of its two leads, Lee Pace (Ned) and Anna Friel (Chuck). Because of the small print of Ned’s powers, he and Chuck (the childhood sweetheart he brought back to life) can never touch, or she will die again. This makes for one of the most interesting relationships on TV.

In theory, Ned and Chuck’s relationship is not asexual, because it’s understood that they would be on each other like bunnies in two seconds if they could. However, I think the show validates asexual romantic relationships by showing that it is possible for two people to be in a romantic relationship without a sexual or even physical aspect (well, they do occasionally hold hands with gloves and kiss through plastic wrap, but their relationship is based primarily on emotional intimacy).

Their storyline is refreshing because it’s light-years away from the typical TV relationship arc of getting together/having sex/one of the people having sex with someone else/breaking up/having sex with each other anyway. It’s just too bad that the nature of their relationship is only the forced product of a magical, fairytale-like scenario.

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2 Responses to "Pushing Daisies: An Asexual-ish Relationship on TV"

Interesting…I’ve never seen the show, but I did see a commercial for it. I was all, “Why are these people kissing through plastic wrap?” It seemed oddly kinky for ABC 🙂
So, is their relationship fulfilling, or are they frustrated all the time? I wonder if people are actually making the connection that real-life relationships can also happen with little physical contact…
Anyway, I’ve heard its a good show, so I’ll try to remember to check it out!

Haha yeah, the plastic wrap thing must have seemed really weird out of context.
I think their relationship is mostly fulfilling – the show is too cutesy to portray them as sexually frustrated, although there was one steamy dream sequence last season that showed that the guy was clearly thinking about it. The biggest problem they had was jealousy, and Ned wondering whether Chuck would go elsewhere to have a more “complete” relationship (she didn’t). I think that’s something a lot of asexuals can relate to.
Honestly, I’m not sure that it’s making anyone make the connection that real-life relationships can work with little physical contact, because it’s not a realistic show and things are that way by force and not by choice. But I still think it’s nice to see. It comes back on October 1st if you want to check it out.

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