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Six Feet Under: The Opening

Nate: "It's depressing how deluded people are about what love is."

So this one was apparently about sex as power trip. And unconventional sex. And antidepressants. And mommies gone wild.

The Opening Death was about emotional blackmail from beyond the grave, which related to Lisa and Nate and their dysfunctional marriage. Lisa finally stated the obvious: that Maya came first with Nate, with Lisa as an afterthought. With Maya as the ultimate trump card, I think (as Brenda said) that Nate would probably stay with Lisa forever if she stopped trying to bully and nag him into loving her. But wouldn't a loveless marriage be ultimately unfair to both of them in the long run? In the plastic pyramid at the art show, Nate and Lisa decided to stop pretending that their marriage was more than it was. And then Brenda came in and interrupted them. Pyramidus interruptus.

Brenda was surprisingly kind to Lisa, who was emotionally naked in front of her again. Brenda — and Billy — both felt like kind, rational shadows of their former crazy selves. Except they still attacked Margaret; that hadn't changed. It's their defense mechanism for handling the outrageous things she does. And speaking of outrageous, I despise Olivier, and not because he had sex with Margaret in front of Brenda. Olivier was apparently on a permanent and destructive sexual power trip with his students. He was Billy's teacher, too, and "cracked Billy open," a disturbing metaphor for both inappropriate sex and artistic expression. And he first hid and then bought Russell's piece in order to consolidate control over Russell. Olivier was even flirting with Ruth. He must be stopped.

Ruth obviously wants a new man in her life. Honey, Arthur is not it. Even though he and Ruth didn't look as odd on a date together as I expected, he's either non-sexual, or he's not interested in having sex with Ruth. Arthur actually thought Claire's disturbing image of the strange-looking people sunbathing in a cemetery was quite tender and "suggested the quiet dignity of eternal love." What sort of love is that?

Just as Lisa wasn't happy being the emotional go-between for Nate and Maya, David wasn't happy about Keith cruising for another threesome. And David wasn't being honest about how he felt; he was picking fights and arguing with Keith in front of their therapist about doing dishes, instead of just telling Keith how he really felt. More power-tripping, I guess.


— Lisa tried on a number of coats and sweaters, and then decided to just be cold because none of them worked. That was her marriage, to a T.

— At the exhibition, Nate chose some cheese for Lisa, who was pissy and didn't want it. He ended up giving the cheese to Brenda, instead.

— Brenda and Nate were laughing about the fact that they were both living with their mothers again. Possibly a literary comment on the fact that they both still need to grow up and make adult choices.

— Margaret was ticked off that Brenda, who was in a twelve step program, wouldn't take a joint from her. Addictive personalities often can't handle it when someone else succeeds in defeating addiction, and they'll often actively sabotage them. Drunks like other people to drink with them. It makes it not wrong.

— Arthur creates computer music. A big hint that he doesn't relate to people.

— In the final scene, the camera angles made Nate's and Lisa's apartment at the Fishers look a lot like the pyramid at the opening. Which was a small, plastic imitation of something monumental and real.

And pieces:

— "Melinda Mary Bloch, 1965-2003."

— Melinda was on antidepressants, like Vanessa. Neither of them were responding well. I took them for awhile and for me, they were worse than the depression. My mother swore by them, though. I don't think she would have recovered from my sister's death without them.

— It was sweet of Russell to buy Claire's piece, but he should have used a less obvious fake name. Fifi Rochedale was Russell's porn name. Mine would be Perky Pembroke. So we had a parakeet when I was little, what can I say.

— David was right about Father Jack, who was pretending to rent Sister Act instead of returning Back to the Crack: Butt Munch II.

— More dialog about cheese. There was a lot of cheese in the last episode, too.


Arthur: "As a child, I played the violin. But when I went to college, I had a very cruel roommate who threw the violin from our dormitory window. It was hand-carved by my uncle Gunther before he died of polio."
This shouldn't have been funny, but it was.

Brenda: "I'm sick of being so fucking conscious all the time. It's like I'm this incredibly boring, watered-down version of myself."

Margaret: "You know, that blouse might work if you got rid of the bra."
Brenda: "Yeah? That skirt might actually work if you got rid of that ass."

David: "Nate was deflowered by a mildly famous ceramicist."

Billy: "It was a sex thing, not a gay thing."
Claire: "Wasn't that sort of a fucked-up power dynamic, though?"
Billy: "There's always a fucked-up power dynamic in sex, isn't there?"

Lisa: "Neither of us is ever going to be what the other person really wants."

Brenda: "Who could ever see too much of Mom's pussy? It's like a trip down memory lane."

Three stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I thoughts this was a wonderful hour. I love episodes where the whole cast comes together.

    And Father Jack returning Back To The Crack: Butt Munch II was hilarious. Who comes up with awful titles like that?

  2. I can't help feeling that anti-depressants are a slippery slope that I don't want to go down. I have COPD and have difficulty falling asleep at night, so I started taking half a tablet of my husband's Valium. When I went to my doctor last Monday and told him, he went through the roof. He gave me a prescription for TraZODONE, which, in the next episode, is one of the many drugs that Vanessa is taking. But he said it's non-addictive (unlike Valium). I took a full tablet the first night and was out of it all the next day. So I've started using just half a tablet and so far, so good.

  3. Reading this review reassured me that I wasn't the only one who thinks Olivier deserves a good whipping. I have yet to find a redeeming quality to him, unlike the other characters. Thankfully Claire and Russel are awakening to that fact before they suffer permanent damage. Ruth and Arthur are providing much comedic relief in this group of troubled people i think Ruth is attracted to his straightforward tell it like it is personality, a break from all the pretense surrounding her, past and present.


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