Six Feet Under

29 Oct

Back in January 2004, Holly and I cut off our satellite TV. When we had satellite, we didn’t really know what was going on in the world of TV because we’d watch things like VH1 and Discovery and Comedy Central instead of the networks. Since we don’t have those channels anymore, we have watched a lot more of the networks and have realized something: TV Sucks!!!!

This is one of those things that I don’t know if a) TV has always sucked and I just didn’t know it as a kid (A-team! Knight Rider! Airwolf!) or else b) it truly is more horrible than it has ever been. I suspect it might be a little bit of a) but mostly it’s b). Between all the totally lame sit-coms, crappy, over dramatic and un-original reality shows and the next city to be another setting for CSI, there is not a single show that I make a point to see other than Seinfeld re-runs at 11:30pm.

The fact that TV sucks has led me to checking out a lot of DVDs and videos from the library, and when I’m not being as frugal, I’ve tried some TV shows out on DVD that I can rent.

A couple of months ago, I rented the first DVD of the HBO series Six Feet Under. I’d heard about it, and I knew that critics really loved it, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

It’s the story of a family that own a funeral home in California. In the first episode, the father of the family dies in a car wreck on his way to pick up the older (prodigal) son from the airport. The younger, uptight, gay, (good) son fumes when the will of dear dad leaves the family business to both brothers. Prodigal son/brother decides to stay home and help run the business that he ran from earlier in life. Other characters include severely repressed mom, angsty younger sister, psycho genius girlfriend of prodigal son, and policeman love-of-good son.

All that to say, I am in love with this show. It’s not for the faint of heart, mind you. Remember, it’s an HBO series. Everybody in the show utilizes a colorful vocabulary with the f-bomb and all its forms being the favored adjective/adverb/verb/silence breaker. The good son’s homosexuality and conflicts and struggles inherent to that lifestyle are dealt with often and frankly.

In spite of all that, I find the show profoundly provocative. The characters are so believable and the situations that arise in the funeral home are both weighty and human. Many episodes have helped me look at different life situations from very different perspectives and have stirred up memories and feelings in my own life.

Who cares? I think many people have issues with somebody spending a lot of time watching a TV show or Movies or reading lots of books and getting really into them. If you spend too much time considering these things, it can be easily seen as wasting time and being lazy. I would contend that movies, music, books, TV are the art of our culture. True; most of it is crap and is a complete waste of time. But to search out and discover the worthwhile examples of art speaking truly of the human experience seems more worthwhile than many of the things that vie for our attention.

Which is more worthwhile: Gaining some empathy for somebody completely outside my situation by experiencing a movie or “getting ahead” at work? Reading a book or watching a baseball game? Listening to music that inspires and broadens my thinking or watching the Bachelor/Boss/Model/Fear Factor reality show?

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Posted by on October 29, 2004 in Uncategorized


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