With the five-year series nearly over, someone at Television Without Pity came up with an idea for a new forum thread about "Six Feet Under." The subject: the house. Why is it so depressing? One topic being discussed is something that just began to puzzle me as I watched the newest episode: Are the kitchen and sunroom upstairs? Another puzzle: Why is Ruth's place so much shabbier than Nate and Brenda's and David and Keith's? Is the business supposed to be doing well or not? Or have they just decided to make the living quarters of the funeral home depressingly dowdy as an expression of Ruth's character?
It's interesting to try to understand the layout of the house of a familiar show and to question whether the house fits the economic situation of the characters. Do we really understand where those doors lead? Do the exterior shots match the interiors? Does the second floor really fit on the first floor?
I remember a book from a few years back that had diagrams for the houses of 60s sitcoms like "Bewitched" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Someone had really tried to figure out where all the closets and bathrooms and so on would need to be – a strange little obsession that produced a pretty cool book. I also remember reading an article about how the characters on various TV shows set in NYC did not have jobs that would pay them enough to afford living in the nice places they had. (Jerry Seinfeld was the exception.)
Then there's the whole subject of TV houses that have been important to you. I think there are a lot of people who deeply bonded with the house on "The Brady Bunch." I'm not one of them. That was never one of my shows. But wasn't there some house you really wanted to live in? Can't you still picture it and take a mental walk through those rooms today? Is there some particular thing in that house that appeals to you: Laura Petrie's kitchen island? The louvered shutters that opened Lucy Ricardo's kitchen to the living area? The spiral stairway in Mork and Mindy's apartment? Samantha Stephens' retro wallpaper?
How many details from old shows are still part of the furniture of your mind?