I’d heard friends talking about a show for the past year and a half. The last copy of Shift magazine I read called it “the only reason to own a television.” When I was in New York a couple months back, someone finally sat me down and said “you must watch Six Feet Under” and now I know why.
I caught the first episode of the second (currently being repeated) season, and went from 0 to superfan in about 30 seconds. I haven’t missed a show since, and have been watching them faithfully each week in order. What grabbed me was the breath of fresh air that comes with simply focusing on character development (you’d think it’d be a no brainer, but so few scripts go for it). Though the characters themselves fall all over the map (young, old, gay, straight), I was amazed at how quickly and deeply Kay and I seemed to identify with them all. I can’t put my finger on why, but there’s a realness and a believability to it all that drew us in quickly. You find yourself on the edge of your seat, rooting for the show’s cast and yelling at the TV to tell them what they should be doing. As the season has worn on, the trials and tribulations of the characters has grown more extraordinary and I realized that maybe we’re identifying with the characters a bit too much.
A quick aside: It seems natural that I identify with my close friends a great deal, as they’re largely a reflection of my own personality, likes, and dislikes. When two divorces popped up this year among friends, Kay and I were a bit shocked. How could that be possible? If it could happen to them, heck, it could happen to us. After the news of each one, we talked to each other about the subject, just to make sure everything was fine (and it was).
That said, as much as I love watching Six Feet Under, I don’t look forward to the conversations Kay and I have that follow each episode now.
“Say, last week when you were working late, you wouldn’t have happened to be having sex with random strangers off the street would you?”
“No! Jesus, how could you ask me something like that? Speaking of, when you had lunch with that old friend last week, you didn’t impregnate her and not tell me, did you?”
“Uh, no. Are you nuts? Do you think I’m even capable of doing such a thing? Just for the sake of argument though, if I was being abusive and treating you like a doormat, you’d tell me, right?”
“Well, you aren’t abusive, but if you were, I suppose I would bring it up. While we’re on the subject, you’re not hiding any recent major illness from me, are you?”
(repeat until every last plot point of the previous episode is discussed)
Perhaps we glommed onto these stories and characters a bit too much.