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Six Feet Under: The Will

Nate: "David, David, I don't want it."
David: "Well, excuse me while I go contemplate the irony of that."

The Fishers gathered for the reading of the will, and emotions ran high when they discovered that Nathaniel blackmailed his family from beyond the grave. Suddenly stuck with half of a business that he never wanted, Nate made a couple of half-hearted attempts to give his half to Dave, while Dave started matter-of-factly giving Nate jobs to do.

What was interesting was that, while Nate made some serious boners (like having his and Brenda's "first date" while Fisher and Sons' latest client rotted away in the parking lot), Nate showed that he might actually have some talent for the business that he ran away from his entire life. Nate managed to recover their loss on the BMW casket by doing something mildly illegal and unconventional. And then there was the devastated, newly widowed Adele Swanson. David nudged a box of tissues in her direction and sold her a very expensive coffin. Nate, who got the more difficult task, told her they'd work it out somehow, and she wept in his arms.

All four of the Fishers have an active love life. Nate and Brenda already have a relationship, despite its unconventional start. Ruth took off for the woods to hike with her lover; instead of being depressed and in a state of mourning, Ruth was behaving as if Nathaniel's death was like being let out of school. Claire had sex with crystal meth guy Gabriel in her hearse, and he talked her into sucking on his toes. David got drunk with Jennifer, his ex-fiancee, and lied to his boyfriend about it. He propositioned her, too. David may be buttoned up but he has an uninhibited side, much like his mother.

Brenda made the Fisher brothers get on the bus that killed their father. Lots of meanings that can be assigned to that one: accepting their loss, getting on board the death bus (i.e., the business) together, yadda yadda yadda. Apparently, she was right to do it, because David was finally able to cry for his father.

So. Why did Brenda have the name "Nathaniel" tattooed on her ass? She said she would have done more than tattoo herself for him. Him who? (Or is that "whom"?)


— The Opening Death Vignette was all about it being okay to be greedy. Which, of course, related directly to the reaction of the Fishers to the reading of Nathaniel's will. Not that the Fishers were greedy, because they weren't. David was angry, but he had absolutely every right to feel disappointed about only inheriting half the business after all the work he put into it.

— Ruth spends a lot of her time preparing food and working in the garden. Women in particular often consider food and living things to be their particular domain, an area that they can control. And children, of course. Except that Ruth long ago lost control of her children.

And pieces:

— "Chandler James Swanson, 1967-2001." Note the jazzy "Ain't that a kick in the head" music as Chandler dove headfirst to his death.

— We also saw Nathaniel's and Ruth's gravestone. "Nathaniel Samuel Fisher, June 9 1943-Dec. 24 2000." Ruth's date of birth was given as November 17, 1946. That would make her fifty-five or so. If Nate is 35 and Ruth got married at 19, what do you want to bet Nate was the reason they got married?

— Claire got something I would have killed for when I was in high school: money for a college education. Maybe she'll change her mind.

— I can't believe Nate valet-parked a corpse.

— The ghost of Nathaniel said pointedly that it was Fisher "and sons." Did he leave half the business to Nate because David is gay and is less likely to have children?

— Selling a used coffin was against Rico's beliefs. Actually, a $6,000 markup on a coffin should be against everyone's beliefs.

— We met Vanessa, Rico's wife, who works at the Bay Breeze nursing home and throws a lot of business to Fisher and Sons.

— Nate did an imitation of Hal the computer in 2001, A Space Odyssey: "I sense you're not being completely honest with me, Dave."

— Blond jerk Matthew Gilardi from Kroehner, "a family of quality death care facilities," was suddenly popping up everywhere and making offers and threats.

— Angel lust, groans, and poop. I completely get why they put this gross out stuff in; it's part of the business. Moving right along.


Rico: "She's majorly jaundiced."
David: "Well, just crank up the pink spots over her casket."
Rico: "David, the woman looks like a banana. If I don't airbrush her, the family's gonna freak."

Gabriel: "Nobody can reprogram you. You're the most original girl in the school. Look at this car that you drive. This face that you drive." I think Claire looks like a Madonna, or a painting by Titian. Dan thinks she looks like a real girl instead of the plastic-looking actresses you see in so many shows.

Matt Gilardi: "In the death care industry now, it's consolidate or die." This struck me funny.

Nathaniel: "Is that the best anybody could come up with? Father, husband, caregiver?"
Nate: "How would you prefer? Introvert, sadist, mindfucker?"

Three out of four stars,

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

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