REVIEW: Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

Number 4 on my Top 10 Favorite TV Shows list was Six Feet Under. My review’s after the jump.

A drama series that takes a darkly comical look at members of a dysfunctional family that runs an independent funeral home. With the prodigal elder son (Nate) returning home for the holidays to shattering news, the family must learn to deal with a death of their own, while figuring out how to go ahead with the business of the living. A funny and emotional look at a grieving American family…that just happens to be in the grief management business.

Review:

Note: I’m going to do this review the same way I did my Weeds review and do it for the whole show as opposed to season by season.

The show as a whole begins by introducing the Fisher family as a semi-dysfunctional family that owns a small, caring funeral home. It’s revealed that the oldest son, Nate (Peter Krause), had been living out of town since he was old enough to move out to avoid having to run the funeral home with his father, Nathaniel Fisher (Richard Jenkins). His plan backfires on him, though, when his father is killed in a car accident (trying to get a cigarette to smoke ironically after his wife (Frances Conroy) tells him to quit), and Nate must take over his father’s place in the business because Nathaniel left the funeral home for both him and his brother, David (Michael C. Hall). With the help of their crazy mother, their confused and wild younger sister, Claire (Lauren Ambrose), and Federico “Rico” Diaz (Freddy Rodriguez), the boys try to put aside their differences and anger and make the funeral home work. No spoilers :)

So when I first started watching Six Feet Under, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. It was tough getting through the first few episodes. It’s slow and not much happens–at least at first–and it’s really, really weird. Parts of it are absolutely trippy. So I almost had to force myself to watch the first few episodes, because I had heard what a good show it was, so I figured it had to pick up eventually. And that it did.

The acting in the show is awesome. The actors in it are decently big actors who, mostly, are in at least one or two other big shows or movies (Dexter, Brothers & Sisters, Parenthood, Where the Wild Things Are, Planet Terror, Grindhouse, etc). Most of them started out in this show, but they earn the careers that come from it. They make it realistic and interesting, and the acting isn’t cheesy and messy like a lot of shows like this one.

Next to the acting, another thing that makes the show so amazing is the writing. It’s deep, full of inspiring words, and it’s basically just written really well. The dialogue is clean and doesn’t sound choppy and fake. Yes, the acting has a lot to do with that too, but you can’t have a good show or movie without amazing writing. It’s impossible to turn bad writing into good acting. Kudos to the show’s writers.

As far as the characters go in the show, they’re not only written well, they’re just good, everyday characters. This makes it easy to relate to them and the show as a whole (even if your family doesn’t own a funeral home), and most of the characters are just easy to like. Claire’s the average 16 year old girl, and if you were ever wild when you were a teenager, she’s VERY easy to relate to. David has some confusion issues of his own, but he’s a kind, faithful man, and he is loyal to all of his responsibilities. Nate, though I find him very annoying and rude, has typical everyday problems and relationships. I can’t stand Ruth, the mother, because her character’s just completely ridiculous and unrealistic. But she’s the exception to the great characters thing.

All in all, after the show picks up, it really hits the ground running and takes off as a well-written and well-acted drama. It’s easy to relate to and easy to watch. Once you get past the depressing undertone and sad events that take up a majority of the show, it’s very inspiring and makes you want to tell everyone you care about that you love them over and over again and live every moment like it’s your last. That’s not such a bad message to get across to millions of people. Though the show is no longer on TV with new episodes, it’s worth renting at the library or video store, and if you’re into dramas with funny sidenotes mixed with a little bit of craziness mixed with some intuition and excitement, then this is for you.

8/10

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