I decided to watch Six Feet Under, one episode after another. I had never seen any of the series but my friends had told me it was great.
So I gave it a try and sixty-five some hours later, I had seen them all. It was quite an experience, needless to say, but before someone accuses me of wasting my life on TV, hear me out.
Long scale cinematic endeavors have always attracted me. I proudly own a copy of Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz. I saw “Our Hitler” in its theatrical release. I’ve seen Max Ophuls life-changing film, The Sorrow and the Pity, three times, which equals, what, twelve hours? I’d give twelve hours to have my life changed, again. I’ve whiled away lifetimes in front of the screen. I look good in green, I decided years ago, so a pallor gained from years of indoor activities seems almost a mark of honor to me.
It took me four seasons of Six Feet Under before I realized that having conversations with dead people is the best way to keep them among in the living. For that alone, I am grateful, and I’m trying to put it to use.
Six Feet Under devolves into nothing more than a melodrama, but one populated by fascinating actors. At times, it’s a comforting as a Lars von Trier movie (if you find having your kneecap broken to be comforting) but Bernard Shaw said that melodrama is “a realistic picture of our dreams”. Fraught with sadness and sin, the show embodies the tenet for which I continue to struggle: It is forgiveness that eases our suffering.