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Six Feet Under: Parallel Play

George: "It's called a folie a deux. Two people confusing a momentary insanity for love."

Really interesting title. It was about toddlers playing next to each other instead of with each other. And of course, it was a pointed comment about the relationships in this episode, not all of which were sexual.

Nate, a gorgeous, tragic widower with an adorable toddler, was busy beating them off with a stick. And who did he shack up with? Madeline, a wealthy divorcee, who had sex with Nate but didn't want him between her sheets. (Which felt a lot like the weirdness of Keith's boss telling Keith never to use a client's bathroom.)

Brenda and her new boyfriend Joe were also intimate, but they were on two completely different pages. Joe turned out to be a Bottom with a capital B, and Brenda wanted Normal with a capital N. (In other words, Nate.) I really didn't like the idea of Brenda doing this kind of role-playing just to make a man she didn't really want happy. And I just realized that my position on Nate and Brenda has changed; I've gone from wanting them apart to wanting them together again. Which was probably what the writers were going for, so good job there.

David was role-playing with Arthur to teach him more about the business, and it was going really well... right up until the point where Ruth accused Arthur of sending those surprise wedding gifts. You could say Ruth's marriage to George was literally turning to shit. Where the hell could it be coming from? It couldn't be Arthur; he's way too fastidious, and he was never all that into Ruth, anyway. It couldn't be Hiram or Nikolai, either; just not their style. It's a shit mystery.

Russell was acting out all over the place in an attempt to get Claire's attention, and Claire was tired of everything, especially guys, and wanted something new. And she was obviously fascinated with Edie. Gee. Can you feel some lesbian experimentation approaching, or what? Yes, let's run through all of the things people do in college to find themselves, by all means. It'll be fun.

Everyone was ready to get rid of their old stuff and move on, which started as a garage sale but somehow turned into a bonfire. Get rid of the old baggage, and tossing it in the dumpster just wasn't symbolically good enough. (And let me tell you, if you think you can burn a bunch of furniture, bedding and nicknacks in the middle of Los Angeles without the cops or the fire department showing up, I have news for you.)

Practicality aside, though, I really loved the symbolism of the bonfire. It had a feel of desperation about it, though. How likely is it that they'll be able to move on, after all? We all take our problems with us wherever we go. Well, maybe Claire will pull off a major change. She throws herself into things and makes it happen. Look how she just got her own apartment.


— The teenager in the Opening Death actually died laughing, but while doing something unkind. Not sure how that fit into the "parallel play" theme, but Celeste, Keith's celebrity client, was all about inspiring and empowering young girls. Yeah, let's empower ourselves right into the grave, why don't we.

— Nate told Madeline that her sheets felt so good, right before she kicked him out. And then he burned the bedding he had shared with Lisa.

— Sophia was doing her best to suck money out of Rico, which still struck me as odd since she wasn't even, well, sucking anything. Lupus caused by silicon leakage? She was so transparent about pumping him, and again with the sexual imagery.

— Rico was spending money on Sophia while David was spending money on Arthur. I have no idea what that comparison means, but there you go.

— Rico had a bizarre dream where Vanessa was the Virgin Mary and Sophia was both Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

— Sophia's little girl had no toys and was playing with a pill bottle. With pills in it. Yes, child-proof cap, but still just about as bad as a mother can be. In Rico's vision, the pill bottle turned into a bottle of oil that Sophia used to anoint Rico's feet.

— Edie pushed Russell offstage, took his guitar away from him, and pantomimed jerking off the guitar. That felt like she wanted to replace Russell in Claire's, um, affections.

— Claire was seeing guys as juvenile and pointless, and Russell was actually singing, "Froggy went a courtin."

And pieces:

— "Kaitlin Elise Stolte, 1989-2003". This particular death didn't feel realistic; it was pretty much played for laughs. So to speak.

— Maya got her very first line: "Monkey!"

— Brenda was bubbling on about her classes. She was finally excited about a career. Maybe psychology wasn't a bad choice, after all.

— Rico used a "full mackew" to close poor Kaitlin's permanently grinning Jack-Nicholson-as-the-Joker mouth. Total gross out.

— Arthur left. Too bad. I liked Arthur.


Ruth: "I thought if we put a plan in place, we'd be free to deviate."
Claire: "As long as we're free to deviate."

George: "You take the back-stabbing world of academia, throw in a controversial field like geology, you've got real trouble."
Claire: "Geology is controversial?"
George: "Oil, Claire. Oil."

Keith: "Maybe we should buy him a whole new wardrobe. Do they ever do that? 'Queer Eye for the Gay Guy'?"
David: "I don't think Arthur's gay. I think he's 'A'."

David: "You'd look good in this."
Keith: "David, I need new clothes for work, not gay ski weekend at Mammoth."
You know, Keith, I seem to remember a saying about beware of any new enterprise that requires new clothes.

Ruth: "Arthur, this has to stop. I know that you sent us the feces box and the feces gift basket!"

(This was long, but priceless. I had to transcribe it.)
Ellen Degeneris: "And is it me comma, here comma, now?"
Celeste: "No. Me period, here period, now."
Ellen: "Exclamation."
Celeste: "Exclamation mark. It is strong. It's about me being here right now. I mean, I want all my fans, all the girls out there to know that the most important thing is to be yourself, and to be here now."
Ellen: "That's right. And this is who you are in the now. But if you were someone different, say, yesterday, or even tomorrow, that's still who you are. It's now. Although it was before, or maybe later. But it's you in the then."
Celeste: (totally lost) "Uh huh. And it comes out in two weeks."

Ruth: "We had our own language. We nuzzled."
George: "I don't know what you mean."
Ruth: "The way horses nuzzle. Like a head rubbing. A head butting."
George: "You butted heads?"
Ruth: "You make it sound so sordid."

Four stars for the bonfire. Three for the rest of the episode,

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

1 comment:

  1. I know this show was first, but I still mark out a bit anytime I see someone from Breaking Bad in this show. At least Anna Gunn had a larger part in this episode than Dean Norris had way back in an episode of season one.


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