Friday, 20 March 2009

Feedback Friday :: Six Feet Under

bulk :: 15st 3
cigarettes :: 3 (I know, I know. It’s like I have a death wish or something)
tears shed :: no, no, no. Let’s not go there.

So. I just finished watching the 63rd and final episode of Six Feet Under. And you know what I want to do now? I want to start at the beginning and watch all sixty-three episodes all over again. Than again with the commentaries. But I won’t. Not yet. Not now. Now I’ve got to get on with living. But you - if you’ve never seen Six Feet Under, please, please make an effort to do so. It will improve the quality of your life.

Six Feet Under is – in my most humble opinion – the greatest television programme ever made. Not just because it has the most profoundly drawn and miraculously written characters I’ve ever seen. Not just because it is consistently imaginative and hilarious and exciting and harrowing and terrifying and provocative and subversive. But also because it is very, very important.

Before Six Feet Under, TV shows didn’t really talk about death, or if they did, they danced around it on tiptoes, like tourists in a notoriously dodgy part of town. Six Feet Under gets up close and personal with death. It gets right under its fingernails in a way that is courageous and unflinching and at times unbearably painful. And this is important because it helps us to come to terms with our own mortality, and this is important because it helps us to feel the miracle of life more acutely. At least this is how it affected me. And I'm by no means special.

My ex found it uncomfortable. Particularly the deaths which opened each episode. I hope she comes back to it one day, because I think it will help her too. It’s definitely helped me. It's no exaggeration to say that I feel more ready to die because of Six Feet Under. (And not in the same way I felt more ready to die after watching Mamma Mia - I don't want to die; I just don't fear it quite so much.)

Six Feet Under has made my life considerably richer. I feel honoured to have seen it, to have felt it, and I feel genuinely privileged to have known the Fisher family. I love them. I really love them.

Here's a scene - just one scene until I learn how to get DVD clips online - which contains many of the elements which make it so good...

God, I love it so much.

My one regret is that I watched the vast majority of it alone, but... well, that’s life.

And life goes on.

And speaking of which, apologies to Publisher Lady for having fallen behind with the rewrites of the book. I’ve had a tough week. I’ve been grieving. I know, I know. No one was more surprised than me. I thought I was out of the woods, but it came back to haunt me. Sorry for the delay. You’ll have what you need by Monday morning. I hope that's OK. And then, then I guess I’ll have to find another job.


Let's raise a glass. All of us.

To the future.

Who’s with me?

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Catofstripes said...


Although I should point out health professionals recommend no more than 2 small drinks a day for optimum health and none at all if you're pregnant.

The bastards.

Clare Sudders said...

Six Feet Under is the best TV series I've ever seen. I often sit there with a notepad as I watch, scribbling notes in the hope that it may help me to write better fiction, and in particular better characters. It's good on all the levels that you so eloquently describe, so I won't bother trying to repeat you.

But yes. It's good.

Annie said...

I haven't seen the last season yet, I'm kind of saving it for when I break my leg or something and have all this glorious home-time to enjoy it properly.

Does this post have spoilers? Because I stopped reading after the first paragraph JUST IN CASE. I mean, I already know that something awful happens and it's all incredibly moving and stuff.

mike said...

Agreed: it was an outstanding series, and I watched every episode - like you, alone, as my partner felt v.uncomfortable with its unflinching examination of death.

Carnalis said...


i watched the clip, even though i am only on episode 3. 60 more to come! i am happy.

AndrewM said...


Beer is good.

And buck up for Christ's sake.

triplescience said...

Do you watch Mad Men? That to me is TV perfection. I'm like a cultist trying to recruit everyone in the world ever to watch it. DOOOO EEEEEET.

Angela-la-la said...

I really miss SFU but have to download and watch the complete Sopranos before going back to things I've seen.

Or maybe not... it's not like my son's word is law, is it?

La Bête said...

Um… thanks, CoS. I shall bear that in mind.

Glad you agree, Suds.

Annie, no. No spoilers. I wouldn’t dream of it. I was so pleased I managed to watch it all without having it spoiled for me. I wouldn’t do that to someone else. I wish more people had seen it all though. I feel like I need a place to go to discuss it all. I feel like I need a safe environment to get things off my chest.

Mike – I find it really interesting that some people can’t handle it. And I can’t help feel that it’s an unhealthy reaction.

Carnalis, you’re in for such a wonderful treat. Enjoy. I know you will. Feel free to talk to me about what you’re going through if you feel the need.

AndrewM, I’m bucked! I feel ready for death, man, are you not listening?! How much further up-bucked could I be?

Triplescience, I’ve just downloaded it. I shall get to it very soon.

Lala, I hate to say it, but your son is right. I got as far as the 3rd season of The Sopranos before TV scheduling ruined everything for me and yeah, I need to watch all of that before I could consider going back to SFU. Oh, and West Wing. And Dexter. And The Wire. Crikey. Where does anyone find the time?

L A Wallace said...

That clip is the exact one that got me to watch my first episode of SFU, so I hope that by you posting it you've hooked in some more fans too. I'm just deciding whether to start watching it from the start again or to wait until LOST is finished. My head might explode if I try and watch both at the same time.

Sorry to hear you're grieving, but glad to hear you're treating yourself to a glass, ciggies and a damn great box set :)

mrsean said...

Never watched an episode so I find myself in an enviable position for once. I understand "Dexter" is in it, so I'd guess I need to catch up.

Best line about Mamma Mia I've ever read.

Seena said...

You should try to get a hold of Dead Like Me & Carnivale- if you haven't already seen those shows they are definitely worth watching.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

when I moved to France, I only brought a handful of DVDs (well okay, maybe 2 handfuls, but I have small hands ...).

but I DID bring the entire 6 Feet Under series collection.

I agree re your assessment of the writing. and also add that HBO has had some of the most consistently stellar programming ever. when I lived in the states, Sunday nights on HBO (when their series aired) were my only television mainstay. in fact, probably the only reason I owned a television.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

also...there were so many facets of the series that touched me ... one story line that I found completely profound was when David was kidnapped at gunpoint and suffered various humiliations ... afterwards, trying to cope with the shame, etc. was so brilliantly portrayed and moving.

yes, there were countless stories that I too would love to discuss. just wanted to note that I completely relate to that sentiment.

I guess I have a dark side, having dealt with the unexpected death of loved ones and the aftermath ... I found this series fascinating and, from time to time, healing.

La Bête said...

Damn, LA, I forgot about Lost. That’s another one I guess I should watch.

Do it, MrSean. It will enrich your life. Trust me.

Seena, I’ve started downloading Dead Like Me on your say so. I’d never heard of it before. It’s a very interesting premise. Cheers.

Sparra, you just transgressed the unwritten law – you tossed in a spoiler without first saying SPOILER!!! Shame on you. Yes, that episode shocked me to my very core. And the healing quality of the show is one of the things I think elevates it to ‘important’.

Anonymous said...

Bonjour La Bête,
I am undred per cent with you, with six feet under and the rest.
The last episode had me in tears!
I wish I could discover the whole series again.
Uncle Did

La Bête said...

Uncle Did - only the last episode? At least three out of every five I watched had me in tears. I think I might be a little oversensitive.

Misssy M said...

Season Five is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever seen. Three episodes from the end I was in absolute grief stricken state. After the last episode I burst into tears at work talking about it with my colleagues.

I've since rewatched it from the start but stopped at the last season because I'm not ready to go through that again.

I tell you, I'm not joking.

La Bête said...

I believe you.

I just watched the last 10 minutes again. Absolutely breathtaking. The perfect ending. I'm a wreck again. Marvellous.

daisyfae said...

Here's to what lies ahead, and not just six feet under.

i just can't wait to see what happens next, can you? (and i mean that from 100,000 feet above earth... i had some aspirin earlier today).

Andy said...

I agree - the last 10 minutes of the last show is one of the best bits of TV I have ever seen, and absolutely the best way to end a show.

I still tear up when I watch on Youtube.

And I love Rachel Griffiths with a love that is both pure and sordid, and also very pathetic. Thank you.

Fenz said...

ooh maybe i should watch it. I work with dying patients so I'm often faced with the realities of death and dying. I'd be interested to see how accurately it's portrayed.

La Bête said...

To the future, Daisyfae. To the future.

No, thank YOU, Andy.

Fenz, you absolutely must.

Lauren said...

I got HBO just to watch Six Feet Under. So brilliant. What are the writers doing now??

La Bête said...

Interesting question. I just had a look. Of the seven or eight main writers, a couple of them went on to do True Blood, including Alan Ball. I'd not heard of it, but I'm downloading it right away.

Some of the others were involved with Lost, Mad Men, Brothers & Sisters, Dexter and Dirty Sexy Money, which I wasn't keen on.

So there you go.

Shimacat said...

Hmm - I started watching SFU, then abandoned it, as I foubd the characters to be too self-conciously quirky/weird. Like they were trying just a little too hard to be different. All these comments make me curious to try it again.

I want to be the lone voice on here to recommend Battlestar Galactica. At the moment, me + future husband are waiting for a bit of time and space to watch the final torrented episode. We're going out tonight and neither of us want to; we want to watch the final frakking one. It is an unutterably brilliant series and I want to shower sweeties and love on the wonderful uploading torrenters for being such damned fine law-breakers.

Megan said...

Theres a massive difference between Six feet under and Lost, so I wonder what the hell the writer(s) that went from Six feet, to Lost, were smoking on the way.

Either way, it has to be said, no bad things about lost can be said when Sawyer walks round shirtless. Who cares about the plot?

And as for TV shows about death, CSI has now got me terrified about everything (bold, underline and whatnot). I really should stop watching it... X

Catofstripes said...

Oh Battlestar Galactica is good, but it really loses its way towards the end. (saw the last episodes last night)

I would have watched Six Feet Under but when it was broadcast it was too late for me, I always turned into a pumpkin and fell asleep although the house male enjoyed it.

Now I've suggested we move onto SFU (cos BG is finished) but he doesn't want to watch it again.

Vulcan follower said...

Pfff... Yet another 'thing to do'. Too many shows to watch, too many books to read. I hardly get around cleaning my house properly. How do you manage it all?! You´re pushing me over the edge with all your recommendations. And according to Stan I'm not ready for death without SFU, so that won't do.

I actually managed to watch one show last year. So let me add "Weeds" to the list, also from HBO. I liked that one.

LiLu said...

I'm totally going to Netflix Six Feet Under! I've heard so many good things about it. :-)

Anonymous said...

Cheers to you Bete,to the future that is now...and to the rest of you!

Ms ANTM spoiler ;)

Selena said...

True Blood-is one of my guilty pleasures. The acting is actually so bad, that it's funny, but the premise is interesting.

It's T.V. junk food.

Peach said...

oh it truly is the best thing written for the screen, especially the small screen. I didn't consciously realise how much of it I refer to in my daily life and how often I think of it in abstract too. The cast are gifted and divinely written characters. My fave is OBVS Brenda, but also David OH DAVID and yet Claire is who I seem to think of the most...

I too watched it all alone, buying the DVDs from eBay and selling them to pay for the next series...

...fantastic, so glad you liked it

Anna said...

Yes! I lost touch with reality for a while there, watching the whole thing day and night. Much better alternative universe.

SPOILER (maybe - just a great line): When David says pointedly to Claire that the others dressed properly she says, 'Well, the others WIN.'

When I can find all (what? seven?) seasons of the West Wing on the remainders table I'll buy them too.

The absolutely best series I've ever seen on TV was a British six-episode thing in the 80s that to my knowledge (I keep looking) never came out on video/DVD: Blind Justice. Starred Jane Lapotaire. Utterly brilliant, mesmerising, powerful stuff. It still creeps into my consciousness. Way too politically gritty to pass the gatekeepers nowadays, of course.

Anonymous said...


Ann Anon

Clare Sudders said...

I just watched that SFU clip.

One day I'll be able to write stuff that good.