104 Hunter S Thompson
, I 106 The Art Of Hellboy
Watch it this fortnight
l\’ SIX FEET UNDER Channel 4. Sun 25 May, 10pm eeeee
here were some who felt a little I underwhelmed by the climax of Six
Feet Under's opening series. After all the psychological and physical ructions between David and Nate, Nate and Billy, Billy and Brenda, Brenda and Ruth, Ruth and Nikolai, not to mention Claire and her various run-ins with weird blokes and stolen body parts, the final scene with the dead dad overseeing an almost perfectly happy clan before climbing the stairs (returning to his seat in the clouds?) was almost too neatly wrapped up.
For those of us used to US cable-channel geniuses HBO leaving us in upsetting limbo at the denouement of a Sopranos season, this was almost a shock. It seemed as though the schmaltz network factor that desecrates any claims that The West Wing has to being real art had crept into a series which had been uncompromising in its willingness to upset viewers without ever letting us off the hook. As well as the individual character storms, it was always hard to get through the opening scene, knowing full well that someone, somewhere, was about to croak. Six Feet Under shows us that death may have black comedic possibilities, but in the main it’s nasty, grimy, brutal and often unnecessary: this season, we have sunstroke, choking, an overdose and death from being chopped to shreds by a boat’s propellers.
But above all, the main point of a Six Feet Under demise is to shine a flickering light onto the fragile lives at Fisher and Sons. In series one, the homophobic killing had David in a tin about his own public/private life as the ghost returned to haunt and taunt him, while the cot death had devoted father and expert mortician Federico unable to perform his duties. In the new series. Nate is the main beneficiary of seeing more dead people (his dad already stalks him with cruel jibes). These corpsed characters are hellbent on reminding him that his own funeral may not be far off; in Nate’s own resounding words, ‘everybody dies, what makes you so fucking special?’
What makes Six Feet Under so special is an
107 Stereophonics, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
1 1O Zelda: The Wind Waker
1 1O Irreversible, 8 Mile
1 1 1 24, Steve Coogan
abundance of riches. The wit and wisdom of creator Alan Ball is the most obvious factor. Hopefully, the rash types who condemned series one as being merely a run through of American Beauty’s out-takes (those Newsnight reviewers know who they are . . .) are still tuned in. The complexities of the characters will be ever more pronounced and the small step which many of them take from rational behaviour to ruinous lunacy sees quite a few relationships being torn apart.
Without giving too much away, some questions hanging over from series one will be answered: have we seen the last of Billy? Will Gabe’s gung ho approach to consumerism come
eeeee Excef'ent O... ReCOrvn‘ended 0.. Goes
00 F awed
1 1 3 Detox, lnspecto
1 15 Game
g, in; i
. f. .sgi.
choking, an overdose and being chopped to shreds by a boat’s propellers
back to haunt him? Is evil corporate Kroehner about to step up their efforts in taking over Fisher and Sons? But so many new questions are raised, with ‘paternal' responsibilities being taken on board by both Nate and David while Claire seeks solace in more messed-up adults and Ruth looks to self-help conventions to try and make sense of her life after Nathaniel.
And one thing which can be revealed is that series two ends on a nerve-shredding cliffhanger. Still, any lucky E4 subscriber will be able to spoil it for you, having seen it all last year. ‘Lucky‘ and ‘E4'. Not often that you see those words beside each other in the same sentence. (Brian Donaldson)
2: May—5 a 2.171115 LIST 103