QZ qz thoughts
a blog from Eli the Bearded
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Six Feet Under

I started watching Six Feet Under, a TV show from HBO, last week. The first episode was engaging, but five episodes in I'm losing interest.

The story concerns a family that owns a Los Angeles area funeral home. The father dies in the first episode and the previously stable family dynamics are thrown into chaos. I was hoping for something like the macabre humor of Dead Like Me, which I watched several years ago and enjoyed. Instead it is beginning to feel like formula TV.

Every episode begins with someone dying, and then that person becomes a lens for studying the characters or a fulcrum for episode plot. Several of the deaths so far have had some of the macabre crazy-way-to-go humor that filled Dead Like Me, but not all of them.

One episode begins with a washed-up porn star talking to her cat about a date she's about to go on, then the cat kills the woman by pushing a plugged in appliance into the bathtub. Good start, but then the episode goes downhill. A deep pocketed fan of the porn star foots the bill for the funeral. The more serious of the two brothers that now own and run the business has a "Yay profitable month" attitude. The other of the two talks about the the films the woman had been in with an employee until Mr Serious intervenes. The dead woman comes back and talks to Mr Serious, at least in his imagination. And "humor" is mined from the people who come to the viewing and share their memories of the star.

Haha, what a riot, religious people and newly grieving folk get to listen to stories of porn shoots and talk of the dead woman's tits. Maybe there are jokes to be mined there, but the ones in this just seem as lazy as the very episodic story structure.

Three mysterious barter arrangements in lieu of cash funerals out of six.

Six Feet Under at IMDB

Dead Like Me at IMDB