Six Feet Under
Death Works Overtime

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The Lady Stays Vanished

Olivier reviews Claire's portfolio at a table in his office. Claire sits rigidly across from him, clearly spoiling for a fight. Olivier gives her last piece the Robert Scorpio eyebrow, looks at Claire, and finally smugs, "Give yourself the grade you think you deserve." Claire calls that "paying [her] to keep [her] mouth shut," but Olivier's letting every student grade him- or herself: "Who am I to judge anyone's work?" Claire laughs in frustration and comments that he's constantly contradicting himself, "so nothing [he says] ever means anything." Olivier takes the bait, remarking that her semester's work doesn't seem to indicate that meaning is what she's after. Ouch. He goes on to say that she has excellent technique, but that's all it is -- her work is "safe, limited," because she holds herself "back from life." Shut up, Olivier. Claire, who is moments away from bursting into tears of sheer rage, forces out that she thinks an artist "has a responsibility to do more than just give in to every emotional impulse, because some impulses are wrong." After a pause, she adds, "And some impulses violate the regulations of this school -- I checked." Heh. Olivier frowns, then starts nodding all "so this is how it is," and when Claire asks how many schools he's taught at, his idea of an answer is that she "sit[s] in such judgment of the world -- how do you ever expect to be a part of it?" See my comments about Russell a couple pages back -- I really really cannot stand it when people excuse shitty behavior on the grounds that anyone who has a problem with it is just "uptight." Shut UP, Olivier. Claire retorts that she doesn't want to be a part of his world, "where you get to be a totally manipulative loser who fucks his students." Olivier asks what she does want to be, then: "An uptight Puritan, who's not even in her own body? Or a brilliant artist, with blood, and a heart, and a cunt?" Yeah…my point. I also cannot abide that whole "it's the artist's way to act like a raging id all the time, and part of that prerogative is to ignore societal mores and the feelings of others" thing, because the so-called "artists" who live by that credo spend all their time sleeping it off and never get any work done anyway -- a point Olivier's friend made for me rather neatly several episodes ago when she said he hadn't actually done any decent work in years. In other words, shut up, Olivier.

Claire sees through him: "God -- you're such a fucking phony." She then proceeds to nail him to the wall, asking, "I mean, when are you gonna get over the fact that you never became Picasso and now it's too fucking late?" Olivier tries to blow that off with a bunch of hooey about how she's afraid to take chances and "fall flat on [her] face," even though it's the best thing that could happen to her, but she's obviously struck a nerve. Either way, she's had it: "Are we done?" "Absolutely. Get out of my office. Who do you think you are, the Pope?" Olivier's whole worldview sickens me, but I have to admit to laughing at that line. Lauren Ambrose in a miter…I don't know. (Please don't let that show up in a fan-fic.) Claire gathers her things and heads for the door as Olivier goes on, "Just because I fucked your boyfriend? What a baby!" Claire turns to face him on that line as he tells her that she needs "some real pain" in her life. "Fuck you," she says, stung, but he throws it right back at her, telling her that Russell is the better artist because he's braver. Claire spits that obviously Russell "more ambitious," but Olivier shrugs that if Russell hadn't slept with him, "it would have been somebody else, trust me." Claire doesn't miss a beat: "I'll take an A." "Undeserved," Olivier decrees. "Unimportant," Claire shrugs, and leaves. Olivier glares after her. Outstanding acting from Lauren Ambrose in that scene.

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