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The Death Watch (it’s a small world after all)

Originally averse to watching the show, as I have long made an effort not to watch television, I admittedly increasingly appreciate Six Feet Under.

For even when I initially think the scriptwriters are getting lazy, I find myself discovering some brilliant motif underlying the episode(s).

For example, each show begins with a quick glimpse at a moment of death—we see someone die and this incident becomes a subplot for all the other subplots that develop as we follow the lives of each individual family member. A recent death scene began with the main antagonist—a conniving corporate evil-doer who is attempting to take over (overtake) the independent family funeral home—teeing off with his even-more-evil boss.

For a funny moment we are fooled into believing that her time has come as she violently heaves, expressing some indigestion. However, she pulls through, then swings back and shoots a long drive amiss, off the green and straight into the head of an innocent bystander who was just haped to be quietly reading in her back yard. Suddenly, plunk! we see her keel over. And, as with all other deaths we witness on the show, her birth-to-death chronology flashes as an interlude into the rest of the program.

Soon we find out that the dead woman was the beloved aunt of another character on the show that we see on occasion, who likes to pester David Fisher.

At first, I thought that the whole interconnectedness was a bit hokey. But then as I was walking home, reflecting upon some recent interconnectedness of my own, I realized that the cheesy unfolding of interconnected circumstance could actually be interpreted as a playful philosophical lesson or musing about how we are all truly connected somehow—we breathe each other’s breath, energy emanates from us just as we thrive upon all the energy that revolves and runs through us, and the actions of others spur emotions within us that release peptides that over time alter out genetic structures.

Similarly profound, I find the spotlight on death at the start of each show an amusing reminder that it all can end for each and every and anyone of us at any time. If we are lucky, we will have more control over our fates then happenstance circumstance will. However, as the show reminds us, even the most prudent and positive and careful souls among us are not immune to the foolish carelessness of others.

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