Monday, January 7, 2013

Six Feet Under Season 4

I can't really decide how I feel about this show overall. I find it very compelling in that once I'm into a season, I keep watching and look forward to the end of the day when I get to watch again, but...I don't know. The show has a very dismal view on ideas of fidelity and a lot of the relationships felt really joyless to me in this season. I actually think this season had the poorest writing overall so far, in that I could spot its structure without even thinking about it and also certain things that happened were made possible in ways that didn't feel organic to who the characters are. (I'll explain what I mean in a second) I guess I felt like in some ways the show was more interested in ideas this season than character. And it makes sense, it's the fourth season of a show that is very character driven. At some point, there's less character to explore and it becomes more interesting to thrust them into situations and see what happens.

I haven't read anything about the show or listened to any of the DVD commentary or anything so I have no idea about things like how each season and storyline was received or if anything that happened was to address stuff in the real world. This show is older of course, so probably less influenced by external factors like fandom, but you never know!

Surprisingly, I actually felt like Rico's arc was the best this season, it was aces. It just made so much sense. And the way infidelity was used in his story was reasonably built up to and sprang from his character and everything we've known about Rico. Rico is the kind of person who sees himself as righteous, as a basically good person. I mean even when he was fighting with Vanessa over the baby-sitter she was like, she smoked pot, who cares everyone did and he's like "I didn't". It's these little character touches that are so well done. So as long as he wasn't sleeping with Sophia, he could lie to himself and say what he was doing wasn't wrong. But as hefinally broke down and admitted in the finale, it was wrong, he was sharing himself with another woman in ways he should only have been sharing with Vanessa and he was receiving things from the relationship (affection, trust, etc.) he should have only got from Vanessa. The only quibble I have with this is how one dimensional Sophia was and how quickly the audience knew she was Trouble while Rico himself was either blind to it or just didn't care something that never really was clear. I mean her manipulations were not subtle nor were they even accurate.

So in this same department was the attack on David. I actually liked the episode itself where David was "kidnapped" you could really fear the terror of not knowing what that kid was going to do and how out of control and precarious everything felt. But David landing in that situation was set up by his being insecure over Keith leaving and craving some attention. This set up David making a really stupid choice in picking that kid up and further offering to give him money. David is probably my favorite character? And so it's frustrating to feel like this big thing that happened to him and defined his arc for the rest of the season was based on a plot contrivance. Like I didn't think there was anything that happened that led up to him feeling insecure over Keith leaving, I mean he was the one that got, ahem, a sexual favor without even seeming to think twice about it outside of their relationship. And he was so supportive of Keith getting to do more with his job before that. It just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, except that they probably knew they needed a reason for him to make such a naive decision and pick up that kid and give him money and buy his BS story. Because David is normally not stupid but feeling underappreciated and insecure can lead to someone doing things they wouldn't normally. Sigh, feel free to tell me I'm totally wrong about this.

So Ruth and George was another thing that kind of bugged me like it seemed like they decided to give George this mental health problem as a last minute addition? And I totally get why they did this and what they were doing throughout the season with them, kind of showing how they didn't really know each other and had made this really hasty decision and the kinds of complications that led to, but this was such a huge thing to do. I guess maybe they felt like the reason why he'd been married so many times needed to have such a big reason behind it, though.

Which leads me to Claire. I have mixed feelings about the whole Claire exploring her sexuality story line. On the one hand I kind of loved it, because sometimes you do feel a powerful attraction to a person that is not sexual. But because we don't really have a way to talk about that in our culture, it's almost like any significant feelings that are shown become sexualized. So on the one hand, I liked that. But on other hand, I was so disappointed in Claire for not thinking about Edie as a real person. She seemed clueless as to what it all meant for Edie and just sort of used her? I don't know it was kind of odd. I'm glad the show didn't show that same lack of consideration, though, by allowing Edie to basically Claire out of her life which is a completely valid reaction to have.

I was also kind of surprised by the conclusion to the Nate/Lisa storyline, like first of all that the police weren't all over the case was odd to me to begin with. They were just like, Lisa drowned. But how?!? Why?!? It was so odd. And then I was absolutely stunned by it being her sister's husband and his suicide in front of them. But I'm glad they wrapped it up and gave it an explanation even if it was kind of rushed. And that's all I have to say about Nate this season.

So I realized that all of the characters have been unfaithful except for maybe Claire. And I'd like to know (those of you who watched the show) if you have any opinions on the way fidelity is depicted in the heterosexual relationships vs. well the one gay relationship. Like, in every heterosexual relationship it's a huge deal and a deal breaker. But Keith and David have threesomes, they have an open relationship for awhile, Keith cheated on Eddie with David, David sleeps with Patrick when they are on the I know the creator of the show is gay, but it just kind of strikes me as a bit stereotypical of a gay relationship? I mean when Brenda has meaningless sex it's this huge deal but Keith and David just kind of shrug it off. So...I don't really know what I'm saying but something about the differences in these depictions bothers me. And while David and Keith call it meaningless, it always ends up bothering one of them to some extent but not in the same hugely dramatic way it's problematic for Brenda or even Nate who ends up a father after cheating.

So. I hope I didn't sound too negative, like I said I just can't decide how I feel about the show. But there are some moments that I just love like smaller happier moments in the show when the characters feel so real. Anyway....I'm looking forward to watching Season 5 and finishing and I'm glad I watched the show. It's worth watching even if doesn't become my new favorite show ever. :)


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