August 23, 2005

Off topic: The end of Six Feet Under (long live Claire!)


So I barely slept last night after watching the final two episodes of Six Feet Under, a show I used to love, but one that had alienated me in a strong way this season. Believe the hype that the final episode was everything it should have been. It dredges up a lot of shit in viewers and I succumbed last night too! Life decisions, people who have died, blah blah blah.

I quit watching this year when Nate killed the bird at his birthday party. It was so nihilistic that I just said "No more!" There was time when Nate and Brenda were my favorite characters on TV. I really liked them, as if they were real people, even with the massive flaws and bad decisions they made. But poor Nate never evolved, never learned anything. Nothing ever kick started him to a higher level, as happened with the other characters. Not the death of his dad, not his own near-death, not his wife's death (nor the fact that his wife's death was a murder), not his second chance with Brenda, not his own child. NADA. And that bored the shit out of me. Nate is a "person" who would never be happy with what he had, ever. I wanted to beat HIM with a broom, so when they killed him, I was happy! (I loved that Brenda said as much - really spit it out! - in the last episode).

This show was always good with redemption: just when something / someone becomes unbearable, they pull it back and give you a little moment that softens the pain (e.g. Claire with David on the porch, after his carjacking last season). At some point Claire really became the heart of the show for me because she was ever-changing. Alan Ball gave Lauren Ambrose a fucking huge valentine with the final episode. Her acting in the last half hour is worth every award there is, but you just know they'll throw another one at Alison Janney (no offense to her).

A few other moments worth mentioning:

- Rachel Griffiths amazing acting in the very short scene at the kitchen table with Billy, where they are talking about life not getting easier and how hard it is to learn that. Wow.

- David realizing that kids don't need to know every emotional detail - they won't get it - when he tells them he is going to a funeral director's convention. (I also liked the way Keith calmed David down by grabbing him earlier in the episode)

- The actress who played Rico's wife, Vanessa, always, in every scene, EVER, was terrific.

- Joanna Carson (Brenda's shrink mom) being so hilariously horrible about the stuffed animals with Maya and Ruth. A bitch on wheels to the last moment (though she was right when, in the hospital, she told Brenda to stop shitting all over any good news).

- Ruth talking to Maggie on the phone about David's last night and the realness of how unresolved the Maggie/ George story was.

- The scene in the picture above was lovely and as far from the usual psychodrama Fisher dinner party as it could be.

- Ted the Republican Boyfriend, who was so forgiving of Claire when she really went nuts in the last two eps. I loved the picture they had of him on her wall, one that she took in the episode, in the deathbed scene (2085!)

- The way Nate said to Claire that the picture she was taking was "already gone." I don't think I agree with that, given Claire's deathbed scene, surrounded by photos from her life. How nice to die that way (except for, gee, the cataracts!).

- Alan Ball letting it all loose with the politics, both humorous and serious. Done in a really human way that did not distract from the story, but was a part of it.

- The shocking Brenda Billy dream and the final humor of her dying while listening to him prattle on.

As for the Sia song at the end, "Breathe Me" - holy fuck!! How many people are driving around in their cars, listening to that, pretending to be Claire, finally getting away to her own life? Escape or "flight" stories are always my favorites and the final 10 minutes was amazingly edited between Claire driving in her little hybrid and the look into the future (a real gift to fans of the show, albeit with super bad makeup). Find the song at Stereogum, but get it fast.

By the way, before I close, my favorite scene in the whole series was when David meets Keith at their church some time after they have been apart (maybe season 3?) and Keith tells David that he is beautiful and kind and says, "Don't you know that, David?" and David just shakes his head a little bit. Jesus God! I cried and cried and cried! What TV show will I cry over now?


babs said...

I haven't watched it yet, though _everyone_ says I will love it. Which either says something about me or my friends. :). So don't tell me anything. I skimmed the post.

As for shows to cry over, my suggestion is Everwood, which is much better than it sounds. It's got the Northern sensibility to it and it has more to it going than just the teen dramas. And there are cuteish men on it. I realize it isn't as quirky as six feet, but it's quite good.

V said...

I think one of the best scenes with Claire was during Nate's funeral where David was asking Claire why she hand't changed for the funeral That they all had managed to dress.

I loved Claire's response : "Well then you all win!"

Redox said...

Wow. How nice see old post with review of the greatest finale of television.

xolondon said...

Thank you Redox! BTW, the scene I mention at the end of this very old post is on the link above