I started watching my way through Six Feet Under again. For those who don’t know, it was an HBO series that ran for 5 years, and is one of the highest rated, most critically acclaimed shows of all time. And well deserved. I just watched the series finale tonight.
I first watched Six Feet Under 5-6 years ago. Some friends and I got into it and watched it religiously on DVD together. I remember us watching through season 3 in one night. When the series finally ended after its 5th season, it blew us away.
Re-watching it now, with more life experience, was just as great, and my opinion on the show has only gone up. It’s a character drama that follows a family who run, and live in, a funeral home. The entire series is a spiritual, philosophical and often frank look at death, a subject our society largely shies away from.
In fact, when you watch it you really start to realize how absurd it is that we almost universally ignore the one certainty about life, that it ends. Death is perhaps the most personal thing we’ll ever face, and we will ALL face it in time. During the Making-Of I watched afterwards, there is a statistic that the average person sees over a hundred thousand simulated deaths by the time they’re 21, but are not prepared for the reality of it at all when it happens in real life. I think this show is one of the very few things in media today to convey the realities of death and grieving.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. In fact it’s one of the most life-affirming pieces of fiction I’ve ever experienced. And it’s filled with clever dark humor. The ending is, suitably, one of the best endings I’ve ever seen, to any form of story-telling.
It frustrates me how many people haven’t watched this show. They may be offset by the sometimes pretentious nature of the show, or perhaps the subject matter is too hard to handle for some. But it’s one of the few shows that surpass entertainment to become true art. Something that is not consumed and forgotten, but stays with the viewer, inspiring them.
Anyone reading this, I implore you to watch this show. Like any good character drama, it takes a few episodes to really get into it, because you have to get to know the characters. But once you do, I guarantee you’ll feel like you’ve known them your whole lives. And it will remind you that life passes by in an instant, so make the most of it!