Monday, June 06, 2005

Six Feet Under's death throes

It sort of hurts to see a show that was so good for so long collapse on itself. It hasn't been the same since last season's stunning misstep with David's hitchhiker-cruising, crack-smoking episode. Tonight's show could have been a first step toward a restoration. Instead, it was a hammered-together bundle of melodramatic flashpoints.

Aside from two small touches -- Ruth reading Ann Tyler's Ladder of Years and Rico breaking up with a woman via IM -- it lacked the character-driven believability of its earlier years. The Ruth-George relationship could have been pulled from A Beautiful Mind. Brenda's ennui doesn't feel like character development, but a forced transformation in service of a plot line. In the show's better days, David and Keith's adoption deliberations would have been funny, moving, and believable; tonight, the homage to The Bachelor felt sadly appropriate. When Ruth slapped Claire, I decided that the writers have been watching too many E! nostalgia specials about Dynasty.

The show once thrived on its meandering, questioning characters, who now have been forced into narrow plotlines. I'll watch through the end, but post a comment if you can make me more optimistic. At least a couple of you are longtime fans. Agree or disagree?

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