News Article

This was the Year of...Pie

The sweet treat showed up everywhere from ''Pushing Daisies'' to ''Sweeney Todd'' and ''Waitress''

Pie was big in 2007

In 2007, pop culture's love of pie came full circle. The year began with the Sundance debut of indie hit Waitress, which had more lovingly shot close-ups of pies than of human actors. It continued with the Cannes Film Festival's kickoff movie My Blueberry Nights (opening theatrically in early 2008), in which Norah Jones spends many evenings dreamily consuming blueberry pie. Fall saw the series debut of Pushing Daisies, whose murder-solving hero owns a bakery joint called the Pie Hole. Come to think of it, all of TV seemed to love pie this year: The treat made cameo appearances in House (a doctor cited a patient's fondness for rhubarb pie), Gossip Girl (Blair, missing her father at Thanksgiving, went on a pie binge), and, most notably, in Desperate Housewives, where Bree and Katherine went to fiercely polite war over who made the better lemon meringue.

Why pie? Pie is memory; what the madeleine was to Proust, the fruit-filled pastry is to Americans. Maybe that's why Chuck Bartowski's visions of U.S. intelligence secrets on NBC's spy dramedy are interspersed with a recurring image of an apple pie. Not that the memories are always happy. On Pushing Daisies, Ned's confectionary day job is really a fruitless attempt to recapture his childhood, which ended when his mom dropped dead while baking a pie. Waitress' Jenna (Keri Russell), meanwhile, invents a new pie for each of her moods, however bittersweet (such as ''I Can't Have No Affair Because It's Wrong and I Don't Want Earl to Kill Me Pie''). And then, of course, there are the cannibalistic concoctions baked by Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), with the help of Johnny Depp's vengeful, razor-wielding Sweeney Todd.

Still, pie is, at its warm heart, comfort food, and as long as the headlines remain bleak, movies and TV shows will continue to seek refuge in its nostalgic pleasures. Which means pie's future in showbiz should be hot, bubbly, and golden (brown).

Originally posted Dec 21, 2007 Published in issue #971-972 Dec 28, 2007 Order article reprints