Watched the first episode of Six Feet Under Season 4 last night (on my xbox!). I was pretty underwhelmed for the most part, though it is interesting the way they continue to deal with the subject of how people deal with death. I really felt that last night was about how people come to want attention and compassion from others when dealing with death, even if they don’t necessarily deserve it- a chance to demand some in a dark time, even when others may need it just as much or more. The selfishness of loss, I guess.
One thing to note about six feet under, which I realized last night, is that despite its completely outrageous plotting, it remains absolutely emotionally true. Every week its writers use what seem like really bad ideas to investigate how people deal with each other through love, loss and death. It got me back to Herzog’s idea of Ecstatic Truth, which is generally applied to his faux-docu style, but I think applies to any medium of moving pictures, like this show. Basically, and I am paraphrasing and probably getting it wrong here, Ecstatic Truth means not using the camera to capture things “as they really truly are” (see Cinema Verite or Dogme), but using it as a means of expressing truths through the very powers you are given in the medium. That is to say, there is no reason to adhere to reality in cinema any more than there is in books or painting or any other art. We can take the Six Feet Under Universe for what it is, and use it to understand a little more about what it means to be human, even though it seems outlandish and unbelievable when you hear about it. When Laura and Mark Bisi would describe SFU Season 2 to me (Dawn and I weren’t watching it that season), I really thought that the show had gone completely stupid, because the plot devices were just really unbelievable, but Mark persisted that it really was good and that I had to watch it. After watching most of season 3, I came to understand that he was right. The show does speaks truths and rips your heart out.