Six Feet Under: Not Dead Yet

Last week, Dave rightly lambasted what's been a relatively weak final season of one of my favorite shows. But it still has its moments, and this week's episode had more than a few. I've always thought Six Feet Under is at its best when it's exercising its dark and offbeat humor, so I appreciated its brief comic turns this week: Clare walking in on her mother searching her room for pot and asking if the brown stuff is as potent as the green (and really, Ruth smoking pot is in itself extremely funny); David and Keith's married-couple bickering; Vanessa's Canadian nanny taping her Survivor application; Clare going to work in an office (I really hope they keep this subplot up, because it's spot-on in its comically depressing portrayal of cubicle life). There were other nice moments as well, enough to keep me from losing hope entirely in one of the most compelling shows of the last several years (although the old-lady group singalong toward the end was maybe a bit much).

As much as I love the Clare-in-an-office stuff – and it is funny, especially her annoying coworkers – there is something a little arrogant about the way a lot of movies and television shows, including this one, portray the subject of artists at corporate jobs. These jobs are funny, yes. Soul-sucking, certainly. But excuse me if my sympathy meter doesn't start humming with activity because poor misunderstood Clare, like just about every other artist I've ever known, has to work for a living. I'm so sorry Daddy's trust fund didn't come through and you can't laze away your afternoons making collages and smoking dope and sniffing your own farts. Welcome to the real world! God, I feel like my father. But still, it is true that most of us with artistic inclinations have to get jobs, at some point in our lives, and they're not always great jobs or fun jobs or creative jobs. Lots of people without artistic inclinations have to get such jobs too. Sucks all around.

This reminds me of one of the only things on the Drew Carey show that's ever made me laugh out loud:

"Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."


joe said...

Since I gave up cable, I only catch SFU in hotel rooms when I'm traveling. As a result, everything I’ve seen this season is out of order and lacks continuity. However, the few episodes I've caught (the one where Billy's mom tries to get Clair to go back to him and the unfortunate birthday episode) make me believe one thing: The only way to end the series is to have someone strangle Clair with her own hair.

There is absolutely nothing good about her. She's ostensibly useless and has no knowledge of it. I don't think anyone at their most early twenties is this annoying and if so, I'm glad to have avoided those people in life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the unlikable character. Nate is far from the best guy in the world, but at least his problems and conflicts result from something outside of himself, whether it’s his wife dying or his father dying or what have you. All of Clair’s shit is her own and most of it’s just bellyaching. She’s totally oblivious to everything including herself. I can’t handle that.
She, and anyone like her, should settle the fuck down and accept the fact they are special and talented.

Just like everyone else.

Mike said...

Like pretty much all the characters on that show, I find myself sympathetic towards Claire at times, unsympathetic at others. Which, now that I think about it, is probably one reason I like the show so much, because the characters are complicated enough that I can be conflicted about them and change my mind about whether I'm rooting for them or against them. Even Billy, the wacked-out brother, who's pretty damn unlikeable, has his moments.