Devoted readers of our forum's "SFU in the media" thread have no doubt noticed that a number of reviewers are claiming that the quality of this show improves substantially around the fourth or fifth episode. And now, lo and behold, it seems they may be right. Certainly, this particular episode was better than what we've seen of late. Or maybe it's just that my expectations have finally been lowered to the point where I can accept that Six Feet Under will never be the Great American TV Show. Hell, it's not even The Greatest American Hero. Sure, it's better than any of the crap the networks will ever churn out, but we were promised "a groundbreaking new show from the creator of American Beauty," and while, yeah, that is a pretty funny pun once you stop to think about it, it doesn't change the fact that the only thing "groundbreaking" about this show is the cemetery's backhoe. Well, that and whatever landscaping equipment they've been using to prune the tangled topiary that is Peter Krause's body hair. But I digress. The point is that, at its core, this show is just another example in a long line of quirky occupational ensembles. Six Feet Under is what happens to guest stars who convict criminals on The Practice, get shot by that same skell on NYPD Blue, and end up dying in the ER, presumably because Luka was their surgeon. On the other hand, the show is still indisputably better than, say, Dawson's Creek, and I think we can all take solace in the fact that while Michael C. Hall may be no Goran Visnjic, he's also certainly no Kerr Smith. So really, life is good. Right?
Which I guess makes this a good time to get straight to the dying. In case any of you are in the midst of making travel preparations to visit Alan Ball World, here's a quick tip: Leave your loved ones behind. Nothing signifies your imminent demise quite so much as the presence of a loving companion. This week's Dead Guy Du Jour is a tiny little gangbanger with a big, big name: Manuel Pedro "Paco" Antonio Bolin. He and his Affectionate-In-The-Face-Of-Obvious-Impending-Doom girlfriend are sitting in a broken-down car in a very bad neighborhood. After trying in vain to get the vehicle moving again, Paco casually drops a couple of shout-outs to both my Scream recap and my car's own balky electrical system. Then he jumps out and runs over to a nearby pay phone. After getting his friend's answering machine on the first try, he hangs up and dials again. That'll be important later. This time the friend answers, but before he can say a word, Paco turns around to find three thugs and a very large gun pointed at his head. Well, actually only the gun was pointed at his head, but you probably got the idea. "Where you from?" asks Thug #1, and Paco responds with a defiant, if not very intelligent, "Your momma's pussy, bitch." Thug #1 promptly dispatches him with three shots to the chest, leaving the now Tragically-Heartbroken-In-The-Face-Of-Being-An-Obvious-Sentimental-Ploy girlfriend wailing in the car. Incidentally, the Ironic Musical Detachment Fairy seems to be at a loss for lyrics for the second straight week. ["What can I say? I miss Napster." -- The Ironic Musical Detachment Fairy]. In any case, the Ironically White Title Card Of Death goes to great lengths to place Paco just nine days shy of his twenty-first birthday. As we'll discover, that's not really important at all.
Okay, so there's something you need to know at this point. As I type these very words, it's currently 4:08 pm on Saturday. Now, I have to be up at 6:00 tomorrow to spend the entire day shooting a training video for my employer. Since my boss, his boss, and his boss's boss will be there, I'd prefer to not show up half-drunk and looking like I only slept for two hours. Unfortunately, that's usually exactly how I am the morning after a recap. You know, as opposed to the sober, yet pleasantly cheerful, demeanor I maintain most other mornings. In any case, we're gonna try a little speed-recapping today. The goal is to be finished by midnight. Personally, I don’t think I've got a prayer. But, as is my wont, I'll just reply to that with a defiant, if not very relevant, "Your momma's pussy, bitch," and get on with the recap.