4 years late and Six Feet Under

Four years after practially everyone else in the free world, I finally finished watching Six Feet Under.  OMFG.  I started watching it years ago on DVD, long before the series ended.  Round about the beginning of season 3, however, I got bored with the characters; they really began to grate on my nerves.  This was right around the time Lisa became central to the plot, and every scene she was in was like nails on a chalk board.   So I quit watching.

A couple of months ago I was at a dinner party with friends who are die-hard fans, and they insisted that I give it another go.  I borrowed seasons 3 and 4 and, these years later, really got back into it.  Don’t get me wrong: they were still whiney, self-absorbed, maudlin, and angsty.  But this time I totally loved it.  Some of the best casting and guest stars ever (hello Patricia Clarkson, Kathy Bates, and Catherine O’Hara)!  Anyway, I got season 5 from Netflix and finished the series on Sunday night.  In order to process it all, a list seemed necessary.

1. I did not cry throughout the entire series finale.
2. I watched the last 10 minutes the next morning and wept like an infant.
3. Immediately after doing so, I bought the song from the last 10 minutes on iTunes; pathetic (and marvelously necessary).
4. Then I went back to the DVD and watched every possible extra, including the two-part “In Memorium” special *and* the bonus feature about the show’s influence on the following: television; popular culture; America’s [in]ability to deal with or even think about death; and all funeral directors everywhere both personally and professionally.
5. I am torn about the ending in the following way: in a show about death, which is the ultimate uncertainty, the end of the series was too tidy — everything got wrapped up.  While questions remain, we at least know *what happened* to everyone.  For a show that deals in mystery, they really don’t leave any.  In a sense I felt like the show’s creators didn’t give the audience enough credit for being able to deal with nuance, speculation, or uncertainty — like they played right into our desire to know everything, to know exactly how it all turned out … and thus on the other hand they gave us exactly what we wanted, which was so amazingly brilliant who could complain about it?  I loved every minute of it.
6. Brenda’s death was possibly the funniest scene from the entire 5 seasons; it was like Billy literally and finally talked/annoyed her to death.  It was fabulous.
7. Claire! Claire! Claire! Claire! Claire!
8. Nate.
9. Listening to “the song” from iTunes.
10. More tears.

My friends who loaned me the DVDs and encouraged me to give the show another chance asked me yesterday what I thought the best part of the finale was.  After thinking about it, I realized that I can’t stop thinking about the shot of Nate disappearing in the rearview mirror as Claire drives away — his slow descent beyond the frame of her reflection, until at last he was gone — looking back, looking forward, history, memory, future, and endless potential all at once.

Waterworks.

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5 Responses to 4 years late and Six Feet Under

  1. Aimee says:

    I’m so glad you finally saw the light on this one. Six Feet Under is my fave HBO series, I don’t care what anyone says. I just loved it from the beginning. I totally agree with you about the ending. The fake aging kinda got to me too, even though I have to admit it was pretty good. I complained about the ending, but I think my major complaint was that the series was ending. Nothing would have been good enough. It was too tidy, but I love that Claire drives off and leaves us to wonder what happens to her. I own these (thanks to a X-mas gift from my bros) and should go back and re-watch. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Keri says:

    But maybe it was because death is the ultimate certainty! Ooooooh, deep! I actually haven’t seen the show and so am totally unqualified to comment, but I was just so excited to see something from Randa that I couldn’t let it go unnoted.

  3. chris says:

    Claire! Self-absorbed Nate! Patricia Clarkson! What’s not to love? Every once in a while, I’ll see another actor in something and remember his or her as the person who died before the opening credits in one of the episodes. I loved those — knowing it was going to end badly for whoever was on the screen, but never really knowing how until it happened. (Does that make sense?)

    Anyway, so glad you’re onboard the SFU train. Let’s head to the bar car.

  4. Anastasia says:

    I’m so, so glad you finished it. Heather had shared with me, “you’ll either love or hate the finale . . . but I’m pretty sure you’ll love it.” Of course I did love it and, like you, downloaded “the song” immediately. And watched all the “extras” immediately. I think because Heather had built up that she thought I would love the finale I expected it to be incredible–the most emotional, angst-y moment of the whole show–and I remember going to the bathroom before pushing play to get a roll of toilet paper because I knew I’d need it. Turns out I didn’t cry through it, either. I didn’t cry at all, and for me that’s really weird. I loved it for the fact that in a show with tons of drama and angst they skip all the shiz in-between, the undoubtedly dramatic life moments, and, *bla-dow*, hit us with their deaths. To me it felt redemptive and satisfying. I had to go back and watch it several more times, and it was increasingly bittersweet with every viewing until I was, indeed, using up the aforementioned TP, as much grieving the end of the series and characters I’d grown to really enjoy. And then cried while listening to the song on my ipod–something I don’t remember doing since playing “Love Hurts” over and over in 10th grade over some unrequited love. And then I turned off the ipod, took a breath, and moved on. Which made me kind of feel like Claire. And then made me like the finale even more.

  5. randasfans says:

    Just went back and re-read all these comments. I seriously may have to start the series all over again. Weekly watching parties anyone?!

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