Friday, 15 April 2011

Blog - "Six Feet Under"

Likely the best place to start would be with one of my favourite televisual series' of all time: Six Feet Under.

Six Feet Under tells the story of an ensemble cast working in or affected by those working in a funeral home. The constant backdrop of death flavours the majority of the programme, with all episodes containing a scene in which a character dies. Their life, seen through the eyes of the central cast, become a lesson to those that continue to live.

A word that I've seen used a lot to describe the programme is 'unflinching', and I find this perfectly apt. There is no fear from the writers, nor the actors portraying the roles, when it comes to such a widely known sensitive topic. Death, it tells us, is a certainty, and something that we should acknowledge without fear.

Far from being the only subject matter, death is also not the only thing around which a total lack of fear is shown. The writers take a blunt and, at times forceful look into the world of a true homosexual, the loneliness of a widow, the overindulgence of the creatively stifled and onwards. My personal favourite is the examination of the way those with mental health impairments are treated by the outside world.

There are two main characters who show serious mental imbalances. While one is constantly wrestling with problems that they find intensely difficult to control, the other keeps her situation relatively in-check, but both are largely ostricised due to their conditions. Fear, it shows us, is that which creates the problems.

All of the characters, though different and with their own integral meanings, show through their actions and activities that it is fear that is their enemy, while facing their problems without regret or self-pity drives them to strengthen themselves. I particularly enjoy the development of the Brenda Chenowith character, especially within the first two of the five seasons.

She is utterly mental, and I adore everything about her.


  1. You write without purpose and meaning.

  2. Yes, it was an excellent series, very unamerican for a HBO series made in America.

    Death is just an everyday business for this family, but as you said: their mental problems had very little to do with that.



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