Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Michael C. Hall

I am a huge fan of cable series.  I like that they are on more than once and that they are available on demand so I can watch them any time.  But they are also some of the best produced television out there.  It doesn't surprise me that these shows dominate the awards shows. 

One actor I have love for a long time is Michael C. Hall.  He has been on two of my favorite shows that couldn't be more different.   "Six Feet Under" was incredible.  I will write about his other show sometime.

Six Feet Under

This show was fearless.  It was the story of a family funeral home.  In the first five minutes of the show its patriarch was killed off while trying to sneak a smoke in the new hearse.   Each family members reaction sets the tone for the entire series.

Nathanial Fisher Sr. is played by Richard Jenkins.

Though he shakes his mortal coil early, his presence is large in the series.  He stands by watching and offering his snarky opinion to all his family.  Alan Ball said that this was a manifestation of the characters insecurities, not a real ghost.  Jenkins seemed to be having a blast.

Frances Conroy is Ruth Fisher

Ruth has to be one of the saddest characters ever.  She loses her husband while she is having an affair with her hairdresser.  Her kids give her nothing but trouble.  She never quite finds love.  There is a lot of loss in her life.  But she is hopeful.  And I loved when she would let go and have a fit. 

Peter Krause is Nathanial "Nate" Fisher Jr.

Nate has bad luck.  He is having anonymous sex in an airport utility closet when he finds out about his father's death.  And that is one of his better days.  He never wanted to work at a funeral home.  He ran off right out of high school and finds himself trapped back in the family business.  His journey is tragic and selfish. 

Michael C. Hall is David Fisher.

David is repressed in every possible way.    His family doesn't know that he is gay.  He has felt second best his entire life and has classic middle child tendencies.  He has the best journey on the show.  He slowly learns to accept himself. 

Lauren Ambrose is Claire Fisher

Claire is the later in life child of Ruth and Nathanial.  It is easy to see her as Ruth before life beat her down.  She seems to mourn her father more deeply than her other siblings.  She grows up on the series and is really the heart of the show.

Rachel Griffiths is Brenda Chenowith.

Brenda is the other half of the anonymous bathroom sex.  She has crazy, psychiatrist parents and a bi-polar brother.  She evolves from a wandering soul to a devoted mother.  And you believe the journey. 

Freddy Rodriguez is Rico.

Rico is young and has been hanging around the Fisher Funeral Home since his own father died.  He is the son that neither Nate or David wanted to be.  He is a devoted family man at the beginning of the series.  He explores the world.  He has an incredible episode early in the series when he has to prepare the body of a young baby that died of SIDS.  His emotion is incredible.

There are so many great moments in this show.  It is sad and funny.  Every episode opens with someone dying.  Some are as simple as an old man waking up to find he's lost his long time wife while he slept.  Others involve bizarre moments like a woman running into the street when stray blow up sex dolls make her think the rapture has arrived.

The family is real and interacts with all the bruises of the history they share.  From the beginning to the end they are haunted by the ghosts of all their mistakes.  The show doesn't shy away from the dirty, messy and joyous bits of life.

It also has one of the best endings of all time.  The final episode in a show about death wraps up the lives of every major character.  It is wonderful.

It is worth the time.