My first thought about this show was, what is people’s fascination with death? Then I realised that we are all fascinated with death, which should make anything to do with that topic an instant blockbuster. Of course, the latest show on this topic, “Pushing Daisies,” was just cancelled, so even death can’t save your show all the time.
There are three big themes to “Six feet under.” The first is clearly death. The second is homosexuality. The third is the insanity of the Fisher family, the main focus on this show. The Fisher family runs an undertaking business and one of the members is gay, which is the way that all relates.
Let’s start with death. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that part. Every episode starts with a death (with the exception of one or three). Some deaths are normal (i.e. of old age), some deaths are odd, some deaths are horrible, some are comical. I’d like to say that watching this show desensitises you to death, but I luckily haven’t been in the position to test that out yet. What I can say is that you get the feeling that death is something rather natural and that we all cope with it somehow.
Let’s continue with homosexuality. There are a lot of gay scenes in this show, as one of the characters comes out of the closet and tries to live a normal life. I think he succeeds, and through it you develop a better understanding of the battle (both in the gay person’s head and in his environment) and feel good when that battle is won.
Let’s finish with the insanity. I’ve thought a lot about it and I think that situations in the show end up becoming insane, because people constantly play off other people. E.g. in an effort to become closer to another man, a woman joins a cult, and insanity follows. Or, because one man finds out he’s dying, but keeps it from his girlfriend, she feels alienated and starts sleeping around, which creates more tension. There’s some seriously “fucked up shit” (a phrase often used in the show), that’s happening, but it can all be explained by reacting to the actions of another person. It kind of feels like no one has control over their own choices, which is a semi-true parody of real life and explains why not everything is nice and logical or orderly.
Kick-ass drama. If you can get past the death-part, it can be enjoyed by all I think.