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.