Six Feet Under
The Opening

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Botticelli

We open this week by literally coming out of the closet, as we watch a hyper-organized Sally Field look-alike packing up the last of her earthly belongings. I mention the closet part of the shot only because it foreshadows the fact that this episode also contains semi-startling revelations about the sexuality of not one, but two prominent supporting characters. And also because it's the most interesting part of the scene, in which our DGDJ runs down a supremely anal pre-suicide checklist that features items such as "leave clearly labeled notes for various loved ones," "organize vet records for cat," "apply lipstick," and "listen repeatedly to that ubiquitous 'There She Goes Again' song." That last one is probably supposed to be some sort of bitter allusion to the fact that she's tried this sort of thing before. Unfortunately, a tragic accident of brain chemistry means that song will forever be associated in my head with Mike Meyers doing spoken-word poetry in So I Married An Axe Murderer, which causes me to wonder if it might not actually be a clever, albeit somewhat obtuse, reference to the immensity of Baby Maya's noggin. That kid's head is like Sputnik! Anyway, the compulsive lady heads out to the garage and kills herself. And since she's barely mentioned again in the rest of the episode, that's really all you need to know. Farewell, Melinda Mary Bloch. I only wish you'd pre-written the recap for me as well.

And if you thought the closet thing was clever foreshadowing imagery, then you'll really love this next bit, which features Claire and Russell attempting to hang one of Olivier's paintings in preparation for an art show. He gleefully orders them to raise it a bit higher, so that people will "feel like the crow is going to peck their eyes out." A wide shot of the painting in full reveals that the squawking and spread-eagled ("spread-crowed"?) bird in question is superimposed over the genitals of a crudely-drawn naked guy wearing big black boots. I don't know who actually made that thing, but whoever it was did an excellent job of nailing Olivier's character. It's totally the sort of thing he would paint. In any case, remember that image later. From there we go to Claire hanging her own piece, which is a back-lit black-and-white photograph of an eclectic and [insert your own psychologically self-diagnostic adjective here] couple sunning themselves on lawn chairs in a graveyard. It's called "Life on Earth," and she's selling it for $75. Recent art purchases of my own (if you can call a really cool Ferris Bueller one-sheet art, and I do) would seem to indicate that a price that low wouldn't even cover the cost of the frame, much less the complicated back-lighting system and the privilege of owning a Claire Fisher original (although the subjective value I'm placing on that last one is probably psychologically self-diagnostic for myself). Russell agrees with me that $75 is too low, but he is quite jealous of the excellent and highly-visible location Claire has managed to snag. He escorts her back to a walled-off little "annex" to show off his own somewhat phallic (and therefore also psychologically self-diagnostic) contribution, which is basically a giant metal spiral that he's selling for $500 with the excessively accurate title of "Single Helix." Oh, please. Are we really supposed to believe that Russell can weld? I mean, one stray spark and you'd have a grease fire to rival The Hindenburg. Olivier smarms his way back into the scene so that Claire can ask him if she should charge more for her own piece. He's predictably pompous about it all, castigating their fixation on placement and price tags and ambiguo-accenting that "no one in this country was born with a soul. It has to be beaten into you." A nicely-executed pan then reveals that Olivier has priced his own work at $20,000. Hey, did you know this week's episode was directed by a former soap opera star?

In the dingy backroom of a West Hollywood video store, David and Keith are selecting their entertainment for the evening. David: "Have you seen this one?" Keith: "I don't like that guy. He's too veiny." David: "Sarge was veiny." Aaron: "Hee! And ew." The news certainly doesn't seem to have affected morale amongst his vast army of fans, however. David thinks the three-way should be a topic of conversation at their next visit with Dr. Gross, but Keith is more concerned with "the dishes thing," and also seems to still be a bit bitter about The Jeanne Tripplehorn Incident. I've really got to add "Tripplehorn" to my spell-check dictionary, by the way. They're suddenly joined at the checkout counter by Father Jack, who's renting Sister Act and pointedly dropping the "Father" when he asks David to "please call me Jack." Just as pointedly, David introduces Keith as his "uh, boyfriend," and pleasantries are exchanged all around. Cue the clerk, who loudly announces that Father…er, Jack is late returning Back to the Crack: Butt Munch Two. Whoops. Not much of a surprise, I suppose, but I'd have pegged the former Father as more of a Gaytrix sort of guy. Oh, well. At least it wasn't Sex Men.

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Six Feet Under

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