Six Feet Under
It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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Zed's Dead, Baby. Zed's Dead.

And apparently, I'm not the only who thinks that way. Hooker Scrunchieface has shown up to put in another brief appearance as Brenda's sexual confidant. Perhaps not surprisingly, she feels much the same disdain for Brenda's actions that I do. She also asks if this means that Brenda is having second thoughts about marrying Nate, and Brenda psychobabbles about her "natural biological drive" and adds that if nothing else, she got "another chapter out of it" for her book. You know, with the possible exception of Mike Binder's autobiography (entitled, no doubt, Hookers And Happy Endings: My Life As A Giant Asshole), I can't think of a single book on Earth I'd want to read less than Brenda's.

Back at the Fortress, David comes downstairs to find a bare Christmas tree and a full box of ornaments. He sighs, and bends down to get started decorating when suddenly the memory of the last time he saw his father comes back to him. It's actually a pretty cool shot, as we realize that The Late Nate was decorating the tree at the time, and light slowly fades into the scene. Suddenly, a younger, apron-clad David emerges from the basement, and asks for help embalming a client. Heh. Well, okay, that's not actually funny now, but it will be later on when Rico shows up. The Late Nate tries to get David to relax and take a break, and even goes so far as to offer him a shot of rum. David declines, but they do take a moment to reminisce about how David always wanted to leave milk and cookies for Santa when he was a kid, but Dad kept saying that "what Santa really needs is a shot." "I always thought you meant a shot, like a shot of penicillin," replies David, and they both laugh at the follies of childhood. Also, do you see what they did there? With the constant subtle miscommunications between a father and his children? This show gives great subtext. All Dad really wants here is to spend some time with his boy, but David insists that he's just too busy. And as we pan back over from the couch, the light fades out, and David is once again crouched alone over a box full of unlit Christmas lights.

Now it's Christmas Eve, and Nate and Brenda are riding in the elevator up to her mom's apartment. Brenda mentions that Mom has invited a "special guest" for the evening, and that her last "special guest" turned out to be "a twenty-four-year-old Venezuelan pool-boy who makes up for his lack of English by being fluent in the language of power fucking." "I'll try not to get into a conversation with him," snarks Nate, although personally, I'd think a pair of semi-illiterate fuck machines like those two would have a lot to talk about. In the hallway outside Zhora's door, Nate stops Brenda to ask if she remembers what happened a year ago that night. She immediately thinks he's talking about the death of his father, and apologizes for not having said anything about it. Nate actually has to remind her that it's also their anniversary (if you consider fucking in a broom closet to be a first date, that is. And for the record, I do), and Brenda says flippantly that it seems like they've been together for twenty years. At this point, all of the hair on Nate's back suddenly coalesces into an unfamiliar thick, pole-like material that bears a surprising resemblance to a spine. "You know what?" he shouts. "If you don't want to be with me then don't, okay? Why do you treat me like shit all the time?" "Because I had a really fucked-up life," answers a defensive Brenda, "and I use sarcasm to hide how ridiculously vulnerable I am, okay?" On the one hand, I kind of want to smack Brenda for being so self-centered, even while apologizing, but on the other, I do realize that I would never do something like using sarcasm to hide personal vulnerability. No, sirree. Sarcasm is bad, bad, bad.

As an anniversary present, Nate now pulls out his grandmother's ring and offers it to Brenda. Hmm. That's now their third engagement ring, and while I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere about Brenda needing Finger Boy's attentions because her own hands are so weighted down with jewelry, I've decided for all our sakes not to go there. Brenda finally seems moved by this gesture, and quietly whispers "I love you" to Nate between sobs. Aww. Of course, that moment would have been even more powerful if I'd mentioned last week when I wanted to that Brenda had lately been pointedly avoiding saying those very words. I guess I just figured that I'd always have more time to point out what a crappy girlfriend she was. Oh, well. As they embrace, Brenda's mom steps out into the hallway to invite them inside.

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