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Archive for August 22nd, 2005

Septembral Sunday

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So the last episode of Six Feet Under aired tonight, which was more of the exhausted soap opera stuff, tying and untying all of the knots that need to be tied or untied. At the end of a show, a 5 minute montage that I actually quite enjoyed. Saved the finale, on a certain level. Was rather on edge during the entire show tonight that it would end mired in the same marshy patch of melodrama where it’s been for, i dunno, almost 2 season…
Here’s a summmary of this final montage via the NY Times, where someone’s been up late writing tonight:

As Claire drove east in a new car – bless her, she had totaled that hideous hearse in her accident – she let her mind wander. Into the young, agile mind came a premonition: everyone would die. Suddenly the show became a montage of the ways all the show’s remaining major characters would leave this world. Keith (Mathew St. Patrick), David’s boyfriend, was shot in the back of an armored truck. An aged Brenda died while listening to her brother ramble on about emotional closure. Ruth expired in bed, attended by David and her companion, George (James Cromwell). David keeled over while fantasizing about Keith. Rico collapsed on a cruise ship.
And finally Claire herself, her eyes so rheumy they looked opaque, died in a huge dark-wood bed, surrounded by evidence of a well-lived, love-filled life and an HBO set designer’s sense of future décor. The year was 2085. She was 102.

The Times writer assumes that this sequence is Claire’s fantasy of what was to come, not a presentation of what’s “really” in store for the characters. Maybe, maybe not. SFO is usually pretty careful to mark fantasy as such, to break away from the daydream back into jarring reality…
Whatever. But if Alan Ball had really wanted a jarring close, to bring the momento mori factor to the next level, how incredible would it have been if he had thrown some more-than-familial history into the mix. More and better terror, David and Keith running a souvenir shop in Venice Beach where wealthy teenagers from Some Other Country come to do their Spring Breaking where their yuan/euro/yen goes a lot further, Rico finally run out of business by the conglomerate (really, he’s going to make it to the cruise ship running a family owned funeral home?)
The melancholy here, in this montage, is a sense that we’ll die and miss the more and better (especially the fabulous homes…) Which is the melancholy that coats the surface of contemporary American life… Underneath the surface, however, an extremely deep well filled with waiting for the other shoe to drop… Fire or fizzle or both…
Rome begins next Sunday.

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August 22, 2005 at 12:04 am

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