Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shows I've Finished Watching: Six Feet Under

I recently finished the entire series of HBO's former show Six Feet Under. Overall, it was a great experience, and was one of the best dramas I've ever watched. The performances were amazing, from the main cast to those providing the smallest of guest spots. The show was full of heartfelt sincerity and raw emotion and the writing was both mature and intelligent - habitually tackling subjects that many people ignore. Death doesn't really frighten me as much as it probably should, seeing as how I don't believe in an afterlife.  But I honestly don't mind thinking or talking about death - so for me, this show wasn't something that I found to be too cold or pessimistic. Though, there were certain horrific moments of sadness and shock.

Shifting the focus back to the cast, I need to praise a few people for a little bit. While everyone did an amazing job, Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Rachel Griffiths, Lauren Ambrose and Matthew St. Patrick were absolutely phenomenal. Many of my favorite scenes in the show involved Nate. Peter Krause brought a lot to the role and it definitely shows in some of the more emotional scenes. Brenda was someone I could relate to on a mental and psychological level - though we differ in sexual promiscuity. Frances Conroy just embodied Ruth Fisher in every sense and her character was very fun to watch. Michael C. Hall, whom I'm a big fan of due to Dexter, really gives some of his best performances during this show. Like everyone else, he was given a wide range of emotion to play, and he pulled everything off brilliantly. Matthew St. Patrick just seems like a cool guy and he made Keith very likable despite his flaws.

Having said all that, I do wish to expound some criticisms of the show. It seemed as if every interaction on the show eventually led to a sexual relationship. I suppose that's all part of the Alan Ball world (he wrote the script for American Beauty). I'm not a prude or anything, but damn, short of actual incest (though it's semi-explored with Brenda and Billy), everyone on the show seemed to have sex with whomever they met. That definitely got old in the last couple of seasons. In the beginning, I didn't mind it as much. Also, I'm a big fan of what they did to Ruth in the last couple seasons. I'll tackle that a bit more in the spoilers section - same with what happened to Keith in the last episode. But so, I guess it's time to transition to the spoilers section of this review.

But before I sum things up, there are many things to say about the show. I probably haven't covered everything that I want to write about it. It's tough to talk about something when I'm just reminiscing by myself. So, if you end up seeing the show, let me know and we'll discuss things.


So, let's talk about Ruth first. When she married George Sibley, I felt as if her spirit was destroyed. She was no longer interesting. Instead, she was defined by her unhappiness in marriage and her hatred for Claire. They really didn't give her a whole lot to do until she started thinking about leaving George. And while I'm sure it's difficult to be married to someone with George's problems, I don't like the fact that she wanted to give up on him so quickly. Yes they rushed into marriage and didn't fully know each other, but I do find it odd that the George stuff just popped out of nowhere and that she wanted to get out so quickly. I just to say that I liked Ruth better in the first couple seasons of the show. She was funny and her willingness to finally explore different aspects of life.

With Keith, I think it's bullshit the way he was killed. To go out like that just doesn't seem respectful to the character or Matthew St. Patrick. I mean, I understand that he was in a dangerous line of work and something like that is very possible and that we don't always get to out on respectable terms, but still. I just wasn't a fan.

So those are just problems I had. Other than that, I don't have too many complaints.

With the final episode, I wasn't sure what to expect. Around the time that Lost ended, I read Sarah Schneider's blog (of College Humor) and she mentioned the Six Feet Under finale while talking about Lost and seemed to suggest that SFU did a much better job. I kinda kept that in my head as I watched the entire series and I was sort of expecting a big twist ending with the finale. And so, that wasn't really the case. Everything is wrapped up (though I don't understand why it took Claire and Ted to get married). The closest shock moment the series had was when Nate died. I thought that that was a very interesting thing to do. As much as it saddened me to watch Nate die, I think it was the right move for the show.
Especially since Nate was probably never going to be happy. It seemed as if he always wanted to be with someone else, and I'm sure he would've gotten tired of Maggie too.

Anyway, I liked the finale, for the most part. It was fitting to show the deaths of each of the main characters, though it is a little painful to watch the people you know die, even if they're fictional characters on a television show. I would've liked to have seen what happened to Maya, Willa, Durrell, and Anthony, though.

Speaking of Durrell and Anthony, I think the thing I liked most about the finale was that everyone was decent to each other in the end. Durell accepted Keith and David as his parents and saw Claire as his aunt. They were finally a family. Same with Claire and Ruth - they put their differences aside and made peace with each other. It was refreshing to see everyone get along in the last episode.

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