Monday, August 22, 2005

Everything Ends

Last night was the finale of Six Feet Under on HBO. My reaction was probably shared by most long-time watchers -- OK, what show are we wrapping up here?

For five years this show was defined by its characters bleak lives, depressive personalities (and personality disorders) and dysfunctional relationships.

Last night, however, all was sweetness and light. In no particular order (like, say, the order they happened on the show):
  • Claire and Ted made up, and then made it (including nude digital pics -- not of Claire, unfortunately);
  • Brenda and Ruth made up, and Maya returned to Brenda;
  • Ruth cracked up, then got better;
  • Ruth and George made up, moved in together, then didn't;
  • Willa came into the world, gamely fought to stay in it, then eventually went home with Brenda;
  • David left Keith and the boys, went home to Mom, then came back all better;
  • David finally came to grips with his ghostly tormentor, only to find himself in an Empire Strikes Back sequel -- his tormentor in the red hoodie was David his own self;
  • Ghosty Nate II tormented Brenda for a while about Willa, then decided to stop and be nice (spurred on by Ghosty Nate I?);
  • Rico and Vanessa hatch a plausible scheme to cash in their share of Fisher & Diaz and buy their own funeral home, only to have David quash it, then buy them out with help from Keith and Brenda -- to the joy of all;
  • Ruth and Claire made up and Ruth gave her blessing to Claire's life-changing trip to work in New York;
  • Claire's New York gig fell through, but Ghosty Nate II spurred her to go and change her life anyway.
All of this, mind you, was before the reach-for-the-stars moment of the extra 15 minutes. As Claire drives her way across the country to New York, the lives of her and her family rush before her eyes in a way that strives to wrap up the series in a truly Six Feet Under mode.

One by one, the events and eventual deaths of each of the main characters is (p)recounted and whitescreened:
  • Ruth and Kathy Bates start puppy-sitting;
  • Willa's first birthday is celebrated by all (including a bizarre-acting-even-for-him Billy);
  • David and Keith take advantage of California's new gay marriage laws by tying the knot in what appears to be about 2010;
  • Ruth joins Nate I and Nate II in 2025, attended at the end by George, David & Claire;
  • Ted makes a salt & peppery appearance at Ruth's funeral, and Ted & Claire finally tie the knot soon thereafter;
  • 61-year-old Keith is gunned down by hoodlums in 2029 (now that's the Six Feet Under we know);
  • David eats the salmon mousse at a picnic, sees Keith one last time, and keels over in 2044;
  • Rico and Vanessa finally get that cruise in 2049 -- unfortunately, Rico narms, and only Vanessa returns to the dock;
  • Billy, still jealous of Ted, finally talks Brenda to death in 2051, and finally;
  • 102-year-old Claire, surrounded by the photos of her youth (including some of those naked Ted shots), is the last to go, in 2085.
The idea was inspired. The execution was probably as good as could be expected. Aging make-up never really does seem very realistic, and 2085 looks a bit too much like 1985 -- although it's nice to know the world neither explodes nor implodes in the next 80 years.

In the end, why shouldn't the Fishers have a little happiness, too? After all they've been through, I guess they deserve it.


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