Six Feet Under Analysis

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Six Feet Under is a HBO original series that aired from 2001 through 2005. It was an immensely popular TV show and in 2002 it got more Emmy nominations than any other TV show ever had in that time. Moreover, it was the single most-watched premiere in HBO’s history. “It debuted on HBO at 10:00 P.M. on Sunday June 3, 2001. It was the first drama series launched by the channel since The Sopranos (1999-2007), and HBO anticipated success, commissioning a second season before the first had aired,” which was justified, “the show received the highest ratings of any new HBO series, with a reported 5 million weekly viewers (compared with The Sopranos’ 3.3 million in its first season)” (Akass and McCabe 71). Alan Ball the director of the TV show was…show more content…
When the show aired for the first time in 2001 it was right before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and “chimed in with an elegiac cultural zeitgeist obsessed with mortality. Arguably, American culture has long been obsessed with death – with guns, violence, and killing. But September 11 ushered in a period of national introspection, a questioning of the fragility of our lives and how well we live them” (Akass and McCabe 75). The American public was drawn to so much grief that the show could relate to, personal losses of family members in these attacks and how to move forward from this. The manner in which the show deals with traumas of losing people and the approach they take is rather different from other shows. They do not repeat or deny it, but they make attempts to work through these issues (Anderson 98). “Because Six Feet Under tackles a significant taboo, death and its associated grief, counseling and psychology are major themes. The Fisher & Sons funeral home proves to be fertile ground for the expression of Freudian ideas, sometimes excessively so” (Anderson 99). “No television series better captured thus cultural mournfulness than Six Feet Under – the finality of death and what it means for the living. Peter Krause mused that “after Sept. 11, a lot of people who do TV went back to work and thought, ‘Oh, Jeez. This is meaningless’ but our show is now as meaningful as ever. The basic theme of our show is, you’ve got one singular life and that’s it…It makes people think about themselves and their place in the world” (qtd. in Akass and McCabe
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