Reviews of Six Feet Under from a Realist/Thematic/Ideological Points of View

Topics: Ideology, Six Feet Under, Michael C. Hall Pages: 5 (1827 words) Published: October 12, 2008
Part 1
Write a 400 word review discussing and/or evaluating the pilot episode of Six Feet Under from the perspective of a thematic or realist approach.

The events of Six Feet Under Season 1: Pilot should be a hint that the dead never truly stay dead. The same goes for family secrets. Six Feet Under focuses on the emotional journey of the dysfunctional Fisher family in the wake of the patriarch of the family’s death and the awakening of the many ‘ghosts’ of Fishers’ pasts. Set against the backdrop of an independent funeral home in Southern California, ironically enough, it is Nathaniel Fisher’s death that introduces the rest of the family to the audience in the first episode. The story opens with Nathaniel Fisher, the director of Fisher and Sons Funeral Home who is killed in his own hearse when it collided with a bus while driving to the airport on Christmas Eve to meet his son, Nate (Peter Krause). Alongside is matriarch Ruth (Frances Conroy), second brother David (Michael C. Hall) and younger sister Claire (Lauren Ambrose) and also their friends and co-workers, including David’s boyfriend, Keith Charles (Matthew St. Patrick), family friend and fellow mortician Federico Diaz (Freddy Rodriguez) and Nate’s on-and-off girlfriend, Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths). In the wake of the tragedy Nate finds that he also has to deal with his mother Ruth, whose guilt because of her affair with her hairdresser, Hiram, is consuming her, brother David, a closet homosexual who holds a grudge against Nate for abandoning the family, and rebellious sister Claire, who is high on crystal meth when David calls to tell her their father is dead. After several rounds of reality checks I was somehow glad that Six Feet Under portrayed the world as it is instead of shying away from forbidden issues like gay sexual identities and nude dead people that was once deemed the ultimate taboo subjects in the history of American film-making in its attempt to portray as much of the real world as possible. Well, much of the real world is indeed portrayed through the eyes of the characters, and what a dark world it turns out to be, too.

Nathaniel’s death, the Fishers later found, does come with its setbacks, ultimately in their social life, forcing them to make unwarranted decisions such as the playboy Nate settling down in Los Angeles as the funeral home’s business partner, albeit reluctantly at first. Like as Ruth says, “It’s Fisher and Sons. You’re the sons” (‘The Will’, 1:2). Setbacks aside, as for now, for Nathaniel Fisher Sr., he may be six feet under, but he surely does unearth a whole lot of drama along the way.

(420 words)

Part 2
Write a separate 400 word review discussing and/or evaluating the ideological meaning of the pilot episode of Six Feet Under.

The events of the pilot episode of HBO’s Six Feet Under begins with the death of Nathaniel Fisher, who is involved in a car-crash and dies, ironically, in his brand-new hearse on the eve of Christmas. Hence this gives us the idea what Six Feet Under is all about: the fatherly figures play a strong role in every drama, and the death of Nathaniel Fisher changes it all. However, the introduction to the rest of the Fisher clan later erases any ideas of American dream and introduces elements of Gothic culture within the land of the free. Take the closet homosexual David Fisher (Michael C. Hall) for example. While Uncle Sam constantly emphasises on freedom, all gay people, not only David, find themselves in a secluded and closed-off world, unable to reveal even to his own family that he is in fact homosexual and dating Keith (Matthew St. Patrick), a black policeman. This, I think, somehow affects the fantasy of the white middle-class family....

References: • Abrams, M.H. (1993), “Marxist Criticism”, in A Glossary of Literary Terms, 6th edition, Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers: 241-246.
• Childs, P. (2006), “Realism” and “Theme”, in P. Childs & R. Fowler (eds), The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms, Abingdon & New York, Routledge: 198-200; 239-240.
• Hartley, J. (2002), “Ideology”, in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies: The Key Concepts, 3rd edition, London & New York Routledge: 103-6.
• McKee, A. (2002), “Textual Analysis”, in S. Cunningham & G. Turner (eds), The Media and Communications in Australia, Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin: 62-71.
• Scholes, R., Klaus, C.H., Comley, N.R. & Silverman, M. (1982), “The Elements of Fiction”, in R. Scholes et al (eds), Elements of Literature 5: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, Essay, Film (Revised edition), New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press: 3-21.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Paul Mccartney: Six Feet Under? Essay
  • Trial from calpurnia's point of view. Essay
  • Afterlife from a Christian Point of View Essay
  • Point of View Essay
  • Point of View Essay
  • Essay about Point of View
  • Essay about Point of view
  • Point of view Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free