Monday, August 22, 2005

Six Feet Under Over

I watched the series finale of Six Feet Under last night. I basically cried the entire hour it was on. Six Feet Under is not “one of my shows,” but I have watched it off and on for several years. I really like the characters and writing. They work through some interesting issues and of course, there is the importance of family.

After the finale was over and I stood in my bathroom washing my red, puffy face with cold water, I started to think about why I was so affected by the conclusion of this HBO show?

The finale (which I highly recommend you On Demand it) goes beyond loss to life. The opening has the birth of Willa, whose father, Nate, just died a couple episodes back. The show starts with Willa’s life (2005--), which to my knowledge is unusual for the program that usually begins with death. The mother, Ruth, explains how motherhood is one of the loneliest experiences in the world. But, Ruth offers her help to her son’s widow, and she is able to overcome her depression. At one point Ruth realizes, “I have been wearing clothes I hate my whole life.” And, Ruth goes and lives with her good friends and with her hair out of her bun and a smile on her face as she drinks white wine in good company, the once weary and alone woman is happy and free.

It was the end of the show, however, that was the most moving to me. With haunting music, the writer chose to show the deaths of all the characters. Each of them had relatively long lives that also seemed to be happy. The images of these characters growing old were juxtaposed with the young daughter Claire on her way to New York to begin her adult life. She is driving alone surrounded by the openness of the highway and land stretching out in front of her. And, while it feels like she is beginning a blank slate, the lives of the characters tick off one-by-one until it the show just ends.

I was left to wonder about the middle and how life ages us with pain and joy. How infinite life feels when you are young, but how quickly you fill it up with choices and chance. In much the same way we look back at how quickly a year has passed, there will be a time when we look back at our whole life in the same way.

12 Comments:

Blogger Sara said...

Oh wow. I was just about to blog about this. I don't watch the show, except once in a blue moon and I happened to catch this because it was right before Entourage (which I watch religiously). I cried my eyes out. I was with my mom and she cried her eyes out. And while I cry in all sad movies/tv shows - my mom NEVER does. It was by far the best ending to a series that I've ever seen. And so thought provoking.

I especially loved seeing Ruth so relaxed and happy.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Scot in DC said...

I haved loved the show since season one. The Fishers have become my sunday night family. I cried so much, but I think it was one of the best series finales on TV.

I too was very happy to see Ruth finally happy with her friends and the dogs.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree. I've been a big fan of the show for a long time now, and I think the writing is beautiful and unprecedented for a tv show. And while I thought that in some ways the "dying off" of all of the characters was really well done and meaningful (everyone dies, even people that we've grown to love), I also thought that the fake-gray-hair-and-wrinkles bit was a little bit cheesy for a show of that caliber. I think they could've done that part better.

1:04 PM  
Blogger V said...

Sara: It was so good, if I had been watching it with my mom, I would have really lost it!

Lass: I agree, it is one of the best that i have seen.

Anon: I understand, but the only one that I thought was too cheesey was Brenda on her death. Otherwise, I think it was more symbolic than anything. Even if it was a bit much, it was a great ending.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm downloading the final song: Breathe, by Sia, as we speak. It's wonderful.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Scot in DC said...

I totally loved that last song and was wondering who sang it, thanks

3:05 PM  
Blogger Complacent Chase said...

Eloquently written, V.
I unfortunately do not have HBO, so I was unable to watch this whole season. :-(
Fortunately, Phillip is good with giving detailed descriptions and he told me all about it each episode and called me last night to tell me about the finale. He said he was sad after watching it, as well. I can't wait to get it on DVD.

3:37 PM  
Blogger dn said...

I had HBO back during the first season. I watched the pilot episode 3 times or something ridiculous. I hope to Netflix the whole series eventually.

8:42 PM  
Blogger dn said...

Except the final episode, which you've ruined.

8:42 PM  
Blogger dn said...

Whew. Can't get enough Circle V tonight. The "haunting music" is available at Stereogum:
http://www.stereogum.com/archives/001733.html

8:52 PM  
Blogger V said...

Wow, Dan, a three-fer. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the music tip and sorry to ruin the last episode. You'll get over it. With tears.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kind of interesting topic. i am a little older than most bloggers. and, all of the sudden, realizing that life flies by. when you are in your 20s - you really are growing and exploring who you are. the 30s are living out what you want to be. as you approach 40 - you realize that you are not young anymore and it is scary (as you always have been younger). i can only say cherish everyday and do as much as you can. you only live one life.

12:35 AM  

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