August 24, 2005

About that "Six Feet Under" finale.

After driving 1000 miles yesterday, I sat down at midnight to watch the "Six Feet Under" finale (available on HBO on Demand). I'm going to watch it again and come up with some more comprehensive comments, but let me go ahead and give you some preliminary observations.

Spoiler alert
.

1. If Claire was moving to NYC to be an artist, why did she buy a new car? Where was she going to park that thing? It seems to me that the only reason she bought that car was so they could have that artsy montage in the end with her driving the car across the desert. That was nice and all, but I was distracted by the ridiculous impracticality of the car. And what kind of car was that — a Prius? I guess maybe that fits with Claire's political rants, but it's such a dorky car for a cool young person. It's Larry David's car. And even assuming Claire would buy a Prius, why would she buy a blue one? That medium light blue color is THE most suburban-minivan color for a car. That's just an incomprehensible color for Claire to choose. Did she ever wear blue clothing for the entire series? Maybe it was supposed to represent new hope — blue skies ahead — but I so completely detest that color for a car that I can't accept ANYONE choosing it. It's better than teal, but nothing else.

2. Judgments about how great the finale was need to distinguish between the final montage and the portion of the show that proceeded it. The final montage was a nice idea, but basically the same idea George Lucas used at the end "American Graffiti,"suddenly telling you the entire future of all the characters. And that ending is one of the big clichés in all of moviedom. There were no freeze frames with text as in "American Graffiti," but the white screens with names and dates were rather similar. It was interesting that all the Fishers who survived to the finale were granted long lives. Ruth and Claire looked fabulous in an extreme way, lying on their deathbeds. Brenda — who was a rather grand character — was given a comical death. And poor Keith had a death less elegant than a "corpse of the week" death from the regular series.

3. How good was the drama that preceded the montage? It was pretty schmaltzy. Nothing bad happened. Lots of reconciliations. Ruth's freak out over the stuffed monkey was impressive, and nicely paired with the okapi scene. The finale matchup between Ruth and Brenda must have pleased those who long for happy endings, but it lacked any edge at all. Claire just getting a job was a rather dull ending for her, and the need to leave Los Angeles seemed to be a concoction to provide some drama for her (and to set up that montage). That ending didn't really grow out of her character. As manifested in the shows of the last few weeks, Claire's problem was substance abuse and emotional instability, not overconnection to Ruth. So the problem resolved in the finale wasn't the problem she had! After all that craziness, she just got sensible (not counting the car thing). Similarly, in the last few episodes David had been having a total breakdown, but then he just — I don't know — ate a bowl of Trix and got better. The raise-a-toast-to-Nate dinner table scene relied heavily on swaying the camera around to let us know something special was happening. Oh, okay, I guess everyone's come to terms with Nate's death. And the Maggie-on-the-telephone scene? Lame! So Ruth just needed to know that Nate was happy on that last night? And that's it for Maggie. All is resolved, all is reconciled, everyone will just slide on uneventfully to their graves. Life is beautiful! Love everybody! Kiss! Kiss! Cry! Cry! Drop dead. Looking at the last episode without counting the final montage, I'd say it was not as good as at least four other episodes this season.

4. Maybe I'll take some of this back when I rewatch the show. I did see it while mentally frazzled from a hard day's drive and at a time of night when I'd usually be asleep.

37 comments:

XWL said...

I doubt you'll take it back, the more I think about the ending the more it feels hollow, false and a betrayal to most all that preceded it.

And as far as the lifespans go, on another blog (whose name I forgot) a short discussion was made that everyone's lifespan seemed far too short given the post-human future many (like Kurzweil) believe awaits us in the mid 21st century.

Dying in your 70s of natural causes for people in rich tech savvy countries should be a thing of the past by 2025.

And for Keith the grouping of bullets to the chest would be stopped by readily availabe body armor today, so more than 20 years from now it defies logic for personal body armor not to progress much farther (showing a headshot would have been more expensive to film and probably explains the artistic choice).

Also they show Claire looking decrepit at 102 and with clouded retinas. Again this is an attempt at poignancy cause she was a visual artist who in her final days was blind (parallels to Beethoven, Monet, Kurosawa) but I have trouble swallowing either glaucoma or cataracts not being fully treatable and reversible within 80 years.

Of course Alan Ball couldn't refuse one last anti-Bush rant with Claire pleading with Ted to not allow himself to be drafted.

And few artistic types in their 20s would have been foolish enough to buy a car to go to NYC, and even if they did, and they had over $20k to spend, they would be more likely to go with a MINI Cooper or a Scion Xb.

I could go on (and I usually do, like say Brenda and Billy's Logan's Run wear at her death) but a hasty conclusion to an otherwise satisfying show shouldn't detract from my regard for that show (think Sex in the City, Buffy, Seinfeld, among others).

Justin Gardner said...

All I have to say is that ending tore me apart emotionally. To see everybody grow old and die in such a short span of time (3 minutes?) was more than I could handle.

In short, I loved it.

Also, I feel the criticisms are fair, but an ending that shows all of the major characters dying seems like an extremely fiting end for a show which starts off every episode with a death.

And by the way, the fact that Claire revisited her old love years later, was a nice touch too. Because of her substance abuse and what not, she was unable to really understand how lucky she was to find him. Only after she had let that stuff go could they be together. That moment got me more than all of them.

ploopusgirl said...

Hurts when there are any people out there who would purchase a Scion Xb-the most hideous creation ever. God I hate that thing..

Joan said...

I doubt you'll change your opinion much, Ann. This episode had the potential to be a huge energy-suck, and if you didn't have any energy to give to it, the effect it would have on you would be very different than if you were more emotionally available.

Sometimes when I'm exhausted, I cry more easily watching schmaltz. Sometimes, though, I just get exasperated. I watched the finale at its regular day & time (for me), and while I recognized that it was very schmaltzy and somewhat pat, I still liked it. A lot. There were many beautiful moments/shots.

Plus, I think it was fitting that we got to see the principal characters' deaths. We didn't get to see too much of what happened besides the deaths (a funeral, 2 weddings, a birthday party), so to say that everything wrapped up in neat little bows isn't really true. We got to see the "high points," but who is to say what happened in between? I expect there was a good deal of turmoil in those years, too.

The Maggie scene has been fodder for nearly endless speculation over on the TWoP boards. IMO for that reason alone it was worth including!

About Claire's car: the trust fund was un-frozen, and a cross-country trip is a great way to clear your head as well as schlep your junk with you when you move. Claire, being a CA girl, could not imagine life without a car, I'm sure. She may have disposed of it one way or another after getting to the City, but her having a car made a lot of sense to me. Oh, and the color? I liked it. It goes well with her blue eyes.

Ron said...

Ann: Even better for this sort of ending than American Grafitti:
Animal House.

"Daniel Simpson Day: Whereabouts unknown."

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
in_the_middle said...

great points, ann. i totally agree.

i don't bet alan ball thought much beyond the logans run outfit as the only thing that would have changed 80 years forward. mainly because i thought the entire finale was incredibly lazy writing and hurried, as if alan decided 'i have to finish this thing and get to the gym'.

it was a horrible way to end a show that has been full of creativity, character and drama for so long. brenda's substance abuse rehab followed by her drinking champagne and wine offered by family members notwithstanding, the thoughtfulness of the show really tied up things neatly.

the prius was stupid. and yes, claire solved an issue she hadn't had the entire series. seems most tv critics have agreed: this one stunk.

phillywalker said...

1. Claire’s car – valid criticism about what is likely or unlikely for her character to do in this situation, but the point seems a bit minor. I suppose the writers could have achieved the same ending if she had rented a car, or flown, or driven a different kind of car. It did make a nice contrast with the first episode, in which Claire’s father buys a new car (a hearse, but still a car) and then promptly dies in a crash, whereas she buys a new car and begins a new life. It does seem a little idiosyncratic to “completely detest” blue as a car color and then use that as a critique of the ending. That’s like saying you hate the whole series because you can’t stand the yellow and green Fisher kitchen, or because one of the main characters is named Nate, and you knew someone you detested named Nate, and now you can’t even hear the name without grimacing. I don’t say these things don’t happen, just that they don’t make very good methods of criticism.
2. Well, just because a technique has been used before doesn’t mean it shouldn’t ever be used again. Cliches usually happen because they work, and in this case I think the montage at the end worked superbly. And is it really one of the “biggest cliches in all of moviedom”? I thought it was especially appropriate to this series, which features death in every episode, to show us the deaths of all the major characters.

I don’t agree that all the Fishers who survived to the finale were granted long lives. I don’t have the end dates in front of me, but this is what I think it said: Ruth lives to be 79 (1946-2025), which is not even especially old today, and might seem young in 2025. Keith dies quite young (in his fifties or sixties?). David lives to be 75 – he might not even collect Social Security in 2044. Ditto for Rico, also dead at 75. Brenda gets to be 82, and Claire 102, which might be a pretty ordinary age for death in 2085. I do not think people 80 years from now will live to be 200, but it seems reasonable that some of them will live into their hundreds – I think that’s one of the fastest growing segments of the population even now.

It was interesting to me that the writers elided the whole issue of trying to portray the future. Their future looks pretty much like our present, or even our past. I thought I noticed a kind of futuristic-looking lamp in one of the scenes from the montage, but I think you could find something like it at any Urban Outfitters today. Also fits in well with the Fisher house looking like the 1950s in the 21st century.
As another commenter has pointed out, apparently medical care for eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts will drastically decrease by 2085 (cuts in Medicare? Collapse of the health care system?)
3. The stuff preceding the montage. Ann seems disappointed that nothing bad happened, people were reconciled, it was schmaltzy.

I don’t know. I thought it showed what happens when someone (in this case, Nate) dies. The series began by showing how everyone in the Fisher family had to adjust to Nathaniel Fisher’s death. They didn’t adjust quickly or permanently. They took one step forward and two (or fifteen)steps back. Ruth tried to learn how to live as a single woman again, David and Nate tried to figure out how to live as business partners, Claire had to grow up with this added complication in her life. Their lives were messy and difficult (more so than those of most real people, because this is entertainment, after all), and every so often Nathaniel would come back from the dead to unsettle their shaky adjustments to their new lives. All this with the subplot of the “death of the week.” I thought the show was basically about how we manage to go on with our lives in the midst of death, and could be summed up in Claire’s trite, histrionic, but true final words to everyone in her office as Ted led her away: “Everyone you know is going to die.” I’m impressed that a television series could keep making that point so interestingly for so long, because it’s a hard thought to sustain.

So the series begins with a family’s adjustment to the death of Nathaniel Fisher, and ends with their adjustment to the death of Nate Fisher. Did it seem to me that the finale’s message was “All is resolved, all is reconciled, everyone will just slide on uneventfully to their graves. Life is beautiful! Love everybody! Kiss! Kiss! Cry! Cry! Drop dead.”

Hmmmm. Well, what would it mean for everything not to be resolved? Brenda goes on hating Nate to the end of her life, and imagines him fearing defects in their unborn child forever? David never recovers from his grief (which has reawakened his old fear of his father’s rejection), leaves Keith, and can no longer run his business? Ruth never manages to make some kind of independent life for herself? Claire descends into alcoholism, drug addiction, or crippling personality disorder? Anthony and Durrell never accept Keith and David as their parents, and return to foster care?

True, any or all of these things could have happened. But it seems to me that about 98% of the time people do manage to go on with their lives in the face of all their problems, including death. HOW they manage to go on is usually a messy process, as indicated by the previous seasons of the show. I can accept the fact that these people managed to make relatively decent lives for themselves. And thus I found the final montage, a visual illustration of Claire’s “Everyone you know is going to die,” not so unrealistic. And really heartening, too. I liked it.

gregoria said...

Joan and Phillywalker summed up my feelings regarding Ann's responses to this historic series and brilliant finale.

I agree, sometimes one needs to be in the right space to appreciate beautiful art. The "questioning/cynical brain" is of course important in critism of art, but sometimes if one cannot turn it off it hinders the experience of the viewer. Many look at the masters of modern art and logically or illogically conclude "my ten year old could do that" which doesn't really begin to describe the powererful experience of responding to an Ellsworth Kelly or a Matisse. Similarly, obsessing on the color of Claire's car, or not having an immediate and rational understanding of Claire's pain at leaving her family during that point in her life - and obsessing on that- well of course one won't appreciate this profound episode.

XWL said...

I'm going to defend nit-picking (after all the picking of nits is important for hygiene, and social bonding for primates, like ourselves).

When a narrative is well constructed and internally consistent you can enjoy it whole-heartedly. When an author and/or director make choices that defy the logic of the world they have invited you into, well, at least for me, the ability to suspend my disbelief is momentarily wobbled by this disequilibrium.

These moments were few and far between during the 5 year course of the series, but throughout the finale I sensed enough disequilibrium where I found myself feeling a mild case of vertigo.

Unless calling attention to the artifice of your art is the intent, screwing up the consistency of the verisimilitude of a work is going to unsettle me, and I suspect many other folks, too.

gregoria said...

Precisely Leroy, I just disagree with those who suggest that the narrative wasn't well constructed or consistent. But I do maintain that post-modern cynisism may interfere with a viewer's emotional response to the finale of this series.

Michael said...

While all valid points, you're completely missing the convoluted closure that made this finale so amazing.

Claire bought a new car because she totalled her old one. It was blue, and I live in suburbia and have yet to see an electric blue minivan. Besides the fact that it's a trendy car, it's energy effiecient and suits the character. Yes, i'm sure Alan Ball required the car for the symbolic finale epilogue but

In response to number two, the show kept up exactly what it intended: Analysing life and death. The death scenes fit perfectly with the flow of the show. They didn't all die old, David and Keith weren't that old. The deaths couldn't all be elequent, a few had to be comical and ironic.

& lastly, for someone who is clearly so observant as yourself, perhaps you didn't notice the underlying plot in the maggie/ruth phone call. Maggie was in a doctor's office. The writers were hinting that Nate fathered another child. That's why the call occurred. You can't create a finale to appease an entire population, but in my opinion (and as a student studying screenwriting and cinematography) it was an existential masterpiece.

aaron said...

Couldn't that car have been a rental? Think people. Nobody drives in fucking New York if they're smart so... let's just say she needed to rent a car to get to NY and that's that. Why over analyze it? I thought the finale kinda started 3 episodes back when Nate first fainted after bangin' Maggie. That's when it started ending for me. It was so sad to see Nate's funeral. What I got from David's story and healing from his schizophrenia issues is that in his dream he faced his demon and when the demon uncloaked to reveal it was himself, he hugged himself to symbolize that he just needed to love himself and not feel so pitiful about being terrified. I thought the final montage was appropriate. It was so F'ing sad though. I wasn't ready to let this show end. I didn't realize how attached I had become to the characters. I will miss you Fishers.

gyeongju said...

I just watched the finale, as cliché it may have been it tore me apart emotionally.
Whatever choices the writers made that may have not made sense to some of the posts here is valid but may not be the point.
Art is made to make you feel something. Whether anyone thinks of the finale as Art is not the point either.

For me it was a success as it showed the choices man makes is just part of the infinite cycle of life and death. And that in itself is quite beautiful, no different then a fallen leaf from a tree crumbled into the earth into a seemingly nothing, integrated back into the soil nourishing the tree that gives birth to another leaf and so on and on…

The tree, as symbol for this process and the concept of family functional or not, is etched in its rings and memorial to that experience, of that family, of a life that is infinite…

The finale flash forward rush of the future sequences seemed fitting. While sculpting the finale with precise perfection may have yielded a greater work of art, it may have lead to another year of episodes. Sometimes the passion to finish has to do with it being done, accepting that the future is unknown and contingent on further choice. There are other trees with stories to tell.

The last few minutes of one’s life as flash back or the next seventy flashing forward both with speed has been over done in this medium but it doesn’t make it less real and could merely be indicative of Claire’s state, in gestation of the past and anticipation of the unknown.
As the only member of the Fisher Family who had ever made the choice to be free, the future, as seen through the one character that took the chance to be herself may have been less determined than was shown…

gyeongju said...

I agree that the Maggie scene at the doctor's office is an open door in continuence of this family's story...

Jimmy said...

you're really dumb if you didn't like the finale

John M said...

Here it is October of 2008 and I have finally watched season 5. I saw all of the 1st 4 seasons when they were originally played, but I no longer had HBO for season 5. I figured I would watch it all when the DVD came out. Finally I did.

I was very much affected by the closing montage. Here is what really struck me. We have seen 5 years in the lives of these people, and some pretty good looks we got. Now Claire heads off for NYC and her future. Nor only do we see Nate fading in the rear view mirror, but the family waving on the porch as she leaves is not in sharp focus. NYC is pretty exciting. She will meet new people have new experiences. As Nate says when she prepares to take the picture, it's already gone. We are informed that she will live to be 102 and she is now 22. That means 80 more years. I am 59 and as I try to think back to when I was 22, I can't remember much in specifics. Certain things come to mind, but I am not sure of the chronology and many other things have happened since. Many of the people who were most important to me at 22 are gone from life or at least from my life. I like to think that Alan Ball looked at things as they will have an effect on Claire. We know AB's original plan was to follow the Fisher family and Brenda. Other characters came in because of their connection to these characters. (I actually came to think of this as the Keith & David show, so I do not in any way dismiss Keith's plot line.) But I think we just get that glimpse of Keith's death because of David and what it would have meant to Claire. It is followed by Claire's marriage with Keith sitting there with his family and no Keith. Later he dies sitting next to his new partner. Obviously Claire did not witness all these things (especially what David saw or thought he saw just before he died), but they would have been milestones for her. She lives 60 years after Ruth dies, 41 years after David, 34 years after Brenda. Perhaps she outlived her nieces and nephews. Mainly, I thought about how all the sorrows and struggles of the 5 years we spent with her and the rest of them are all part of (even a small part of) the tapestry of their lives. Just like all of us.
I watched this 3 days ago and cannot get it out of my head. Rarely has any work of art had such an effect on me. I wonder how it will fit in as time goes by.

Thanks for the idea that the car may have been a rental. That was one thing that bothered me. Of all the people I have know who lived in NYC, only 1 owned a car. ASs for the ages people might live to 50 years from now, those are good points, but I think AB was just creating an image that would resonate for us.

Maybe no one will even read my post this long after the original airing, but I felt a need to put some words down. Thanks.

John M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John M said...

Here it is October of 2008 and I have finally watched season 5. I saw all of the 1st 4 seasons when they were originally played, but I no longer had HBO for season 5. I figured I would watch it all when the DVD came out. Finally I did.

I was very much affected by the closing montage. Here is what really struck me. We have seen 5 years in the lives of these people, and some pretty good looks we got. Now Claire heads off for NYC and her future. Nor only do we see Nate fading in the rear view mirror, but the family waving on the porch as she leaves is not in sharp focus. NYC is pretty exciting. She will meet new people have new experiences. As Nate says when she prepares to take the picture, it's already gone. We are informed that she will live to be 102 and she is now 22. That means 80 more years. I am 59 and as I try to think back to when I was 22, I can't remember much in specifics. Certain things come to mind, but I am not sure of the chronology and many other things have happened since. Many of the people who were most important to me at 22 are gone from life or at least from my life. I like to think that Alan Ball looked at things as they will have an effect on Claire. We know AB's original plan was to follow the Fisher family and Brenda. Other characters came in because of their connection to these characters. (I actually came to think of this as the Keith & David show, so I do not in any way dismiss Keith's plot line.) But I think we just get that glimpse of Keith's death because of David and what it would have meant to Claire. It is followed by Claire's marriage with Keith sitting there with his family and no Keith. Later he dies sitting next to his new partner. Obviously Claire did not witness all these things (especially what David saw or thought he saw just before he died), but they would have been milestones for her. She lives 60 years after Ruth dies, 41 years after David, 34 years after Brenda. Perhaps she outlived her nieces and nephews. Mainly, I thought about how all the sorrows and struggles of the 5 years we spent with her and the rest of them are all part of (even a small part of) the tapestry of their lives. Just like all of us.
I watched this 3 days ago and cannot get it out of my head. Rarely has any work of art had such an effect on me. I wonder how it will fit in as time goes by.

Thanks for the idea that the car may have been a rental. That was one thing that bothered me. Of all the people I have know who lived in NYC, only 1 owned a car. ASs for the ages people might live to 50 years from now, those are good points, but I think AB was just creating an image that would resonate for us.

Maybe no one will even read my post this long after the original airing, but I felt a need to put some words down. Thanks.

Li:ne said...

I read your comment, John M.

I just watched the series finale three days ago, and I'm still shaken. I had not expected to be so moved, but I loved it.

I thought maybe my strong reaction was because my father died three months ago, and that I because of that is especially sensitive and aware of the realities of life and death.

But seeing all the comments here and other places made me realize that the finale moved all kinds of people in all kinds of moods.

Six Feet Under, you will be sadly missed in my life.

Jesmond said...

I've just finished watching the finale and I must say that I loved it. I have never allowed myself to become so emotionally invested with fictional characters.
It was so heart-wrenching. I cried so much during the last 6 minutes... I can't remember the last time I cried so much.

Watching the Fishers die one by one was simply too much for me to handle. I feel a real sense of loss right now, and I know because my grandmother died a few yeas ago and this is exactly how I felt back then.

Thanks to Alan Ball for the best tv show ever.

Joe said...

Why are people so darn focused on whether or not Claire's car is a rental? Remember that Nate told her (in her mind) to go anyway, whether she has a job there or not. She got her trust fund unfrozen, and with her new car she doesn't HAVE to go to NY. We never find out if she actually makes it there or takes her own road. And so what, if I want to move to NY and have a car to leave whenever I want, I'll have a car. Big F'n deal. People who get so stuck on the minor things can't truly appreciate the bigger picture. You make me sick.

nick said...

I did not take the time to read all of the previous comments and i may be very late on responding but i just started watching the series and i fell in love. I would rent by the season at blockbuster and go through it within days.

The ending to this show hit me hard emotionally. I am not ashamed to say i balled like a baby the entire time. Even 10 minutes after the credits rolled i was still crying. I think a show that can do that to a person is very powerful and meaningful. It felt so good to do that. Almost like therapy.

I can see where you would criticize the reality of the show but it is a television show, with fictional characters.

If you want reality, live life.

I do agree that their make up and hair when they were old was a little half ass'd, but the clips were so short that you didn't have much time to look at it anyway.

I feel alan ball summed up each characters development very well. He gave peace to keith and david getting married and having two children, which they have been together since the beginning of the show. Ruth struggled without nate sr. the entire show, back and forth with different men, and was able to be happy alone. Claire did just as nate did when he moved out, she started living her dream, she was scared but she did it.

Ball left me with some very gentle and sweet thoughts. When claire was crying before she left home, she didn't know what to do or say and david says back to say "i love you, goodbye, thats all." I thought that was very sweet. He also left me with a feeling that life does end, so go fucking live it now, which was a basic theme throughout the entire show. I feel nates character pushed that the most.

I can't remember who said it, maggie maybe, but the person said, "they didn't have to tell me, they did it without words." And that is exactly what ball did with the finale, images with a song. It was truly beautiful. I feel sorry for those that can't or refuse to see that.


I honestly haven't cried as hard and good as i did when i began to see everyone die. I was predicting the ending and didn't see this one coming. I will have to check out american graffiti. I thought it fit perfectly well with the show and was very impactful. I was touched by the song and overall ending of the series. This is a wonderful show.

Overall an amazing series. I was a little dissapointed that nate sr. wasn't included as much as he was. I really liked the amounts of nate sr. and nate jr. But who knows, maybe they went all they could with that. But i think any show that can keep me that interested, that emotionally involved, and can in the final 5 minutes make me want to sit up in my bed from laying down is quite alright by me. I LOVED it.

The series to me, was an icon for life itself. It made me feel a pain in my stomach, just as life. It made me cry for their deaths, just as in life. It made me fall in love with the characters, like life.

It made me want to live, take action of my life, be in control of my life. I think this series means more to me than it does to most.


If you felt as involved or moved as i did, please, write me. :)

Rick said...

I finished the show in a six episode spree that ended at 5:00am in the morning. The finale ripped me apart emotionally. I was in tears at the end of the finale... and I can't recall the last time media caused me to cry like that. I'm really not concerned with the way the future is portrayed. The part of the montage that haunts me most of all is how they show a 102 year old blind and physically decimated Clair followed by a shot of 22 year old Clair looking uncertain.

I just watched the final montage again and lost it as the camera panned over the photos outside Clair's room.

Paully said...

And here I am, in August of 2009 posting about this finale.

There isn't really much to say that hasn''t been said.

I was so emotionally disturbed.

I watched it three times.

I couldn't handle it when Ruth went.

And as soon as she did...I just knew...I knew what was going to happen.

Wow.

Speechless.

ondeadline said...

I too have come to the Six Feet Under wake way late but I am glad I did. I just watched the series finale, having powered through the series' five seasons in just under two months. Though I'm emotionally spent, I am better for it.
What a great show, like most series finales, they are never perfect but that is because we just love the shows so much.
For me, once Nate died, the bawlfest began and by the time Claire climbed in her Prius and drove off, I was not sure I had anything left...until I saw Ruth's passing once Nate gave her a grin and the large lump in my throat returned.
Why we do not have more tv like this is beyond me but I know one thing for sure, I will miss my quirky, loveable and sometimes infuriating Six Feet Under tv family.

Nick said...

Nate was a sacrifice. He never settled on what he really wanted out of life. Or he could never find it. His death taught/inspired the other characters that you should follow your dreams.

I watched the first four seasons at the time of airing. For one reason or another I have just finished season five after re-watching the whole show over the last couple of years or so. Absolutely brilliant. Emotional, thought provoking and simply amazing story telling. A great final montage too. Tears and smiles all round in this house!

Juggling Frogs said...

I just discovered and watched all of Six Feet Under in two weeks.

The blue car makes sense to me, because blue is the color used throughout the series when someone (particularly Claire) is at her truest, most creative self. When she was given the tube of Cadmium Blue paint by Russell, she nearly states this explicitly.

When she does her first "real art", making the collage pieces, she is shown in a Cadmium Blue shirt.

In the finale, she is following her true path, the vehicle needs to be blue. Yet, since the path is unclear, it is not vibrant blue, but hazy, diluted, or not-yet-fully-realized blue. A light blue car is perfect.

I saw blue throughout the series as intentional a symbol of the color language of the series as the desaturated sickly greens and bold passionate purples.

Erica said...

Always late to the party -- it's February 2011, and I just finished watching all of Six Feet Under for the first time.

I was sorry to come to the end; I loved this show so much. As for the finale, I don't have the desire to dissect it. Suffice it to say, it made me bawl in several places. Perhaps they did wrap it up a little too neatly, but you know what? After all those episodes of sheer misery and pain, I was happy to see them all achieve some peace and hope for the future.

Jon said...

yeah. its june 2011. and i just finished this show. i have never been so emotionally captivated by any movie/show in my entire life. i watched this episode before bed last night, and i couldnt fall asleep because i kept thinking about the finale. i must have cried at least 6 times during and after the episode. I say again, I have never felt this way towards any show, ever!

anyone who wants to nitpick the last scene, can fuck off. the finale was perfect. fuck claire's car, who gives a shit, suck my balls.

fotographeriam said...

Well here we are... well into the future already at January 2012! Not much has changed since the first posting on this page 7 years ago!

I have just rewatched the entire series and am left feeling even more lost than the first time I watched this series a couple of years ago! I missed the Fishers and through the wonder of digital media I was able to revisit all the old memories, good times and bad times with them.

I again bawled my head off through the entire final sequence as if I'd never seen it. I cried for several minutes after it was over and rewatched and paused and rewinded to appreciate what was presented to me. To catch details previously missed, to figure out who was who and what was what and what it all meant! I bawled some more.

I read every posting on this page and just wanted to let you all know that HBO posted the obituaries for all the main characters. I will post it below:

fotographeriam said...

Ruth O'Connor Fisher

Ruth Fisher was born in Pasadena in 1946 and died at Good Samaritan Hospital of Glendale on Wednesday. She graduated from Pasadena High School in 1963 and stayed home to raise three children before opening the Four Paws Pet Retreat in Topanga Canyon twenty years ago.

She is survived by her loving companion George Sibley, her sister Sarah O'Connor, her son David Fisher of Los Angeles and her daughter Claire Fisher of New York City. Ruth will also be missed by her four cherished grandchildren - Maya Fisher, Willa Chenowith, and Anthony and Durrell Charles-Fisher.

Viewing will be held on Saturday, March 15th at 2 p.m. at Fisher & Sons Funeral Home at 2302 W. 25th Street in Los Angeles. Private burial to follow.

Keith Dwayne Charles

Keith Charles, founder of Charles Security Company, was born in 1968 in San Diego. He died suddenly at work on Tuesday morning.

Keith attended West Point Military Academy, graduating with a degree in Criminology in 1989. He served the city of Los Angeles as a member of the LAPD for nine years before joining the security industry. He leaves behind his devoted husband David Fisher and loving sons Durrell and Anthony Charles-Fisher, his grandson Matthew, his sister Karla Charles and his niece Taylor Benoit of Carlsbad. Keith is pre-deceased by his parents Roderick and Lucille Charles of San Diego. Memorial service will be held on Sunday, February 18th at 2 p.m. at Fisher & Sons Funeral Home at 2302 W. 25th Street in Los Angeles.

fotographeriam said...

David James Fisher

Born January 20, 1969. Died at the age of 75 in Echo Park. He was proud owner and operator of Fisher & Sons Funeral Home of Los Angeles for over forty years. After retiring in 2034, he went on to perform in dozens of local theater productions, including Weill and Brecht's "Threepenny Opera," Rossini's "The Barber of Seville," and as Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." David leaves behind his partner Raoul Martinez, his beloved sons Durrell and Anthony Charles-Fisher, his sister Claire Fisher and his three precious grandchildren Matthew, Keith, and Katie. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Southern California Opera Association

Hector Federico Diaz

Died at the age of 75 while vacationing with his wife in Puerto Rico. Federico graduated from Cyprus College in 1997 with a degree in Mortuary Science. He worked as a restorative artist for several years before becoming part owner of Fisher & Diaz Funeral Home on 25th Street. In 2005, Federico opened the Diaz Family Mortuary on DeLongpre Avenue in Hollywood, where he served the community for 35 years before retiring.

Pre-deceased by his parents Mauricio and Lilia Diaz of Los Angeles. He was married to his beloved wife Vanessa for 54 years and leaves behind his cherished sons Julio and Augusto and his three grandchildren: Emily, Celestina and Vincent.

Memorial service will be held at Diaz Family Mortuary on Saturday, February 16th at 11:00 a.m. Funeral mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. the following day at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Atwater Village.

Brenda Chenowith

Brenda Chenowith was born July 19, 1969 and died at the age of 82 at home. She earned her Masters Degree in Social Work at California State University of Los Angeles and a PhD in Theories of Human Behavior at University of Southern California.

Brenda wrote several books about the role of the gifted child in family development. She is considered to be one of the most distinguished scholars in that field of study, adding several courses to the Social Work curriculum at USC. She developed research methodologies to conclusively prove the link between deviant human behavior and fetal alcohol exposure. As a child, Brenda was the subject of the book "Charlotte Light and Dark" by Gareth Feinberg, PhD.

Brenda will be dearly missed by her beloved children Maya Fisher, Willa Chenowith, and Forrest Nathanson, her loving husband Daniel Nathanson, and her brother William Chenowith of Malibu. Private services will be held Wednesday March 9th at Deep Creek Nature Preserve. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

Claire Simone Fisher (1983 - 2085)

Born March 13, 1983. Died February 11, 2085 in Manhattan. Claire grew up in Los Angeles and studied art at LAC-Arts College. She worked as an advertising and fashion photographer and photojournalist for nearly fifty years, creating several memorable covers for Washington Post magazine, W, and The Face. Claire often exhibited her work in New York and London art galleries and in a time when nearly everyone else in her field had turned to digital scanning and computer-driven imaging, she continued to use a silver-based photographic process. Claire began teaching photography as a faculty member at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2018, earning tenure in 2028. She's pre-deceased by her beloved husband Ted Fairwell.

JessicaVanDen said...

I also came late to the Six Feet Under party - my husband and I have watched the whole series over the last 2 months.

From Nate's collapse on, we watched the whole last few episodes as a marathon. I don't think I have ever bawled quite like that at a TV show before!

I already miss it - this show was poignant and moving in a way no other show has ever been. It made me think about life, death, and I think in that way, it ranks up there as great literature in visual form.

I predicted how they would end it... I mean, I'd heard how mind-blowing the finale was, and how better to end a show about death than to show the deaths (and lives) of all the main characters? Can't wrap it up more perfectly than that.

It blew me away. I had to watch it a few times, in fact.

Big thanks to the commentator above me, I really got a kick out of reading those obits!

I think this show will stay with me for a very long time, and will deserve a full re-watch a few years down the track.

Cedrick Roy said...

Why go into details? The season finally has taken a little peace of me with it. It is 6:15am & I feel like I am grieving over the thought of my own demise... Thank you Alan ball........

Cedrick Roy said...

XwL.... Your opinions are the epitome of the word ' redundant ' . At Jon: well said. Some people have nothing better to do then to taint great people's work because of their own unsatisfied 'self'. Who gives a fuck about the minor details.

crichar3 said...

I never saw the show when it aired, and only watched after seeing the program noted in the credits of some notable actors. After binge watching the entire series a few years ago and being taken by its power, we watched it again over the past few months, this time more leisurely.

After the first viewing, I declared it The Best Show Ever. The second viewing was still remarkable, but didn't seem to leave the same impression episode-to-episode as it did the first time through. I found myself more irritated with the pettiness and self-absorption of the characters (perhaps because I knew where it all was heading). But despite that, somehow I found myself tearing up over the final montage and unable to sleep that night.

There has to be something to a program that leaves such a lingering impression, the kind that drives a person to search out reviews and blogs in the middle of the night about a TV show that aired its final episode eight years ago.

My 26 year old son was put off by the final sequence, finding it as cliched as some of the commentators here. But it worked for me the first time I saw it, and even though I knew it was coming, it still got me the second time. In fact, as much as I want to see it again, the power of that final six minutes is such that I can't bring myself to load the YouTube clip. Like the Fishers, I have to move on. Otherwise, I might never sleep again.