Sunday, August 26, 2012

Six Feet Under - Second Take

Six Feet Under cast at "home", the graveyard.

Well folks, I'm on season two of "Six Feet Under" of my Netflix rentals. Regular readers of this blog may remember my first take on the cast and show.  Now that I've had time to more fully digest the subtle treasure of this HBO series, here is my Second Take:

The older brother, the "prodigal son."  Reluctantly drawn into the funeral business with his younger brother and the death of his father, Peter Krause has proven to me to be an excellent actor and a very interesting character as Nate Fisher.  I love three dimensional characters and Nate Fisher is one.

The younger, gay brother who now has to share running the family funeral business with his older "prodigal son" brother, Nate.  Even though "David", played by the straight actor Michael C. Hall, isn't always convincing as a gay man, he sometimes has some truly iconic and funny scenes and lines.  I attribute that to the writer of the series.  I think the character of David would be more interesting if he was played by a real gay man.

Ruth Fisher, the mom of the two sons who run the family funeral business after the death of their father (who was creamed by a city bus in his new hearse while lighting a cigarette).  At first I thought Frances Conroy was a typical scenery chewing actress but now I take that initial evaluation back.  "Ruth" is a delightful character and Frances Conroy is an excellent actress.  I am glued to the screen whenever she is on.  "Ruth" is one of my favorite characters on "Six Feet Under."

Where do I start on with "Claire" played by Lauren Ambrose.  My opinion hasn't changed one bit of her character or Lauren Ambrose as an actress - ANNOYING.  First of all I have a BIG PROBLEM with a 24 year old actress playing a 14 year old high school student.  It's a "Hollywood thing" that casting for teenagers are almost always of 20 somethings.  I don't understand it and I don't like it.  Now for the character of "Claire"  who plays spoiled, self-indulgent brat, not interesting.  Then the actress Lauren Ambrose who seems to have one facial expression with is scrunching her eyebrows and make a face like she just smelled a pile of dog do-do - ANNOYING.  Her character and her acting is the weakest part of the ensemble of Six Feet Under.

"Freddy", the young guy who performs miracle restorations on the dead bodies that travel through the basement of the Fisher Funeral Home.  I love this guy!  Not only he is adorable cute (too bad he's straight) but he plays his character of "Freddy" to perfection as the frustrated key employee who wants to be a partner in the Fisher family funeral business.  I can never get enough of "Freddy".

Nathaniel Fisher, the founder of the family funeral business who died in the opening show and reappears occasional as the ghostly conscience of the family that is left to run the funeral business.  Richard Jenkins plays this role with casual perfection.  Always interesting when "Nathaniel" shows up at the most unexpected times.

"Brenda", the girlfriend of the young Nate Fisher, is one screwed up woman.  Rachel Griffiths is a wonderful actress but I am uncomfortable with the character of "Brenda."  I never know where this character is going.

"Keith", the black, policeman boyfriend of the gay David Fisher.  Mathew St. Patrick is a fine is two dimensional actor.  I definitely don't find him believable as a gay man.  In fact, a scene I witnessed last night between "Keith" and his current boyfriend "Eddie" kissing was actually painful to watch.  Both were obviously straight and showed about as much passion for kissing as one of them kissing a skunk.

"Billy", "Brenda's" crazy brother.  Jeremey Sisto plays crazy to perfection.  Do I like this crazy character?  Not really.  I don't like "crazy."  In fact, "Billy" is downright creepy.

"Margaret", the head shrink mom of "Brenda" is played to perfection by the great actress Joanna Cassidy.  It is so refreshing to have a "mom" character played by an attractive woman instead of the usual Hollywood stereotypical "mom" which is a gray haired woman.  The only complaint I have about "Margaret" is that she doesn't have a large role on "Six Feet Under."

I've only reviewed the above actors and actresses (and yes, I call women who act "actresses"), because they are the only ones I've seen so far.  As I progress further into this wonderful HBO series I will have more reviews.


Harpers Keeper said...

For whatever it's worth, I liked Lauren Ambrose more and more as the show progressed; and the writers gave her something to do besides throw a tantrum. I did not remember she was supposed to be 14 early in the series. I alway think of her driving that loudly painted hearse so I assumed she was 16-17.

I think the reason 20-somethings are cast as teenagers is because the production companies are then not required to observe the work restrictions required for minors on a set. I agree with you that it is distracting. I once saw a stage production of "The Lord of the Flies" with a cast of 20-somethings. Completely changed the nature of the drama - and in a way that did not work at all.

Ron said...

That explains it! Now I know why teenage roles are not usually cast with teenagers, because of the work requirements. That makes sense.

You also have a good point about her driving that old hearse, she had to be at least 16 years old. I think Lauren Ambrose has the potential for more range, maybe it is the way her role is written. It is so tiresome to see her always angry. I prefer more three dimensional character development. That's why I like British (Masterpiece Theater) productions so much, the characters are not the usual two dimensional characters we see in most American productions.

Thank you for your comment. Very informative and helpful. That's the kind of comments I appreciate.


Ur-spo said...

I can not wait to hear about your thoughts and reactions to the finale of the series. I was only a dabbler in SFU - but the ending made me weepy; I still watch it from time to time to keep my life in perspective.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

SFU does help one keep life in perspective, doesn't it? Every weekend, Friday and Saturday night, I watch three episodes each on my Netflix rental. I am transfixed. There are a few uneven parts with the acting and writing but for the most part, SFU is an excellent reflection of real life. For one thing, it has given me a totally new outlook on death.