Product Type: Channel TV channels
Newest Review: ... done by mainstream media. Yet, as previously mentioned, the series could be construed as being biased toward Israel. This is very cle... more
Six Feet Under
Member Name: davidso_99
Date: 12/07/02, updated on 06/08/02 (258 review reads)
Advantages: original, nicely weird
Disadvantages: weird, not so easy to watch
Bees, Snakes, Spiders and scorpions- all beautiful in there own special ways, yet we tend to appreciate such creatures in a detached, non-contact sort of manner. The same applies to new channel 4 series, Six Feet Under with its main theme concerning death, more specifically dead bodies and funerals. Produced by the creators of 'American Beauty,' you would immediately expect this show to be full to the brim of quality. And indeed it is, but in an eerie, weird kind of way.
The basic scene: The father of a family 'Funeral Services' business suddenly passes away, leaving his two sons to jointly take over. Nathaniel and his weird, homosexual brother (the two adjectives being independent of course) take control of the business. Their weird nun-like mother and weird teenager-with-issues sister (who, by the way, steals a dead man's leg (don't ask)) are the other dependants of the business. Nathaniel's weird new girlfriend Brenda (complete with her own weird psychiatrist parents), weird work assistant Enrique (who seems to enjoy his job way too much) and David's gay-cop boyfriend complete the basic characteristic make-up of the series.
The most striking aspect of the show though lies in the hyperbolically detached and un-emotive way in which the dead patients are treated. David and his sidekick Enrique go to work on the carcasses like they are projects. They aim to present the dead patient in the best possible light ready for the imminent extravagant funeral whether it be by stitching on loose body parts or plastic surgery etc. Just imagine them working on your body when you are no more-"Enrique please pass me the head. Its just there next to the right arm."
But no, this isn't negative evaluation. This is in fact a prime example of the fore-mentioned quality within the show. This is definitely a conscious effort by the creators to make us question the extent to which commerce, industry and general econo
mic desire dominate our lives. There is definitely something very wrong when the dead are seen as a means of profit. The first couple of episodes feature brief interruptions in the form of television advertisements that promote products that 'restore the freshness of life back to the dead.' We look in disgust as the smiling widow enthusiastically smears a balm onto her late husband's pale skin in order to re-introduce the lost colour. Meanwhile the creators lie back, satisfied that they have achieved exactly what they intended.
We are encouraged to see things from Nathaniel's point of view as he is presented as being the only 'normal' one thrown into a pool of weird capitalist zombies. 'Nate' is the free spirit of the family who had thus been away for a number of years 'seeing the world,' leaving the rest of the family to handle the business. That is until his Father passed away and he returned to witness the funeral and eventually ended up staying. His father, by the way, is not considered exempt from the professional detachment with which other patients are treated. The first episode shows this funeral scene. The late father receives the same expensive, formal, fake and insincere funeral that he had subjected his patients to, where sincere outbursts of emotion are discouraged. Nate immediately challenges this as he disturbs the dismal proceedings and openly attacks David for discouraging his mother when she wants to cry. This shows the underlying moral messages within the show.
Six Feet Under is one of those shows that you maybe wouldn't readily admit to your friends that you liked for fear of being labelled a weirdo. However, although you sometimes have to work hard to extract the underlying messages the show has to offer, it has an attractive quality that often leaves you arse-glued-to-seat, despite the fact that you know you are likely to see something you might not like. Intricate qualities such as
the suitably dim, moody lighting a la 'The West Wing' and the well thought out scriptwriting contribute greatly to the overall quality.
This is a must see.
By the way, to confirm your suspicions, no i don't know the name of the creators