Saturday, October 16, 2010

Six Feet Under - HBO's First Family of Death

"Alan Ball's all-in-the-funeral-family drama expanded on the themes of his movie American Beauty: families keep secrets, people maintain facades, and while death may be final, life is messy." - TIME

Death is such the mystery. No one can really explain it, although there are countless theories as to where we go and what happens when we die. I recently started watching Six Feet Under, HBO’s critically acclaimed drama (and sometimes comedy) about a funeral home, and two seasons in I can honestly say I’m officially hooked. Why I suddenly developed an interest in this show now, over four years since it went off the air, I have no idea.

I have nothing really in common with a story like this on the surface. It’s like when I first got into Big Love, I was somehow so interested in the concept, although I couldn’t relate to polygamy at all. There’s a certain attraction to watching something original and out of the ordinary, something that pushes the envelope. And it's definitely an interesting and unexplored idea. How do funeral directors deal with such sadness around them on a daily basis? Do they become numb to it or does it affect the way they live their life and the choices they make.

Six Feet Under is dark and morbid, depressing to watch at times, but always compelling and incredibly well-acted, challenging us with each episode. It’s more than just about funerals, delving into spirituality, relationships, and how we react to losing people, not solely through death. And at the root of the show is the Fisher family, dysfunctional at best, but with all the elements of a traditional family structure. Except of course that the Fishers run a mortuary from their home, the father’s just died, the second son (Michael C. Hall of Dexter!) is a closet homosexual, and the mom is overbearing and uptight, yet surprisingly free-spirited at times. Visually, it plays out with flashbacks and daydream sequences that are very realistic to the way we exist, distracted by memories of people and events from our past.

I'm terrible since I need to know how it all ends before I get there but even though I already googled the series’ ending, I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Now I know what all the fuss was about.

Frances Conroy is phenomenal in her role as the Fisher family Matriarch.

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