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As an aside -- watching that Nirvana scene, when Nate said something along the lines of that Kurt Cobain "was just too pure for this world," I snickered. A few seconds passed and then I thought "hey, maybe he's onto something." That, for me, was one thing that SFU meant -- letting down my guard enough to consider the madness and wonderfulness that is life. It was a rockin' good show.


Not that you wrote this, but howcome everybody thinks that all TV shows get worse in the later seasons? I've heard that about 6 Feet, but I totally do not agree. That show was hard to get into at first (David's character was very annoying - just as annoying as the old mother was in Sopranos) but the show has just gone mental in the end. I loved it.


Great comments, and I couldn't agree more with your analysis of the show. Since you don't permit trackbacks, I posted comments here:

Michael Dietsch

It's a shame that the Salon site pass made me sit through an ad for the DVD collection of Six Feet Under before I could read an article about Six Feet Under.

uncle willy

Insightful and enjoyable comments. But . . . Alan. Not Allen.

Steve Portigal

How did you feel when MASH ended?

Erik Kastner

This is the first show that I really... felt for since the first season and a half of Twin Peaks (an aside: how do you think Twin Peaks would do in today's TV climate?)
I have an ambivalance towards Nate. I didn't hate him, didn't love him - there were flashes of both, but over all it was more... "I know that guy..." I think Claire and Ruth were the best and most complex by far.
I really like your fresh perspective on the points you touched on (post grunge, LA, etc). It has made me look at it in a new light.

I think another (semi) fresh thing that the show used was dead characters as a device to expose the livings' inner thoughts (ex cept for claire finding out that Lisa was dead before everyone else).

I wish there was a way to stay up long enough to watch them all in a row - The evolution was amazing.


Stereogum.com posted a couple of MP3s of Sia's Breathe Me, the final song in the final montage that succeeds in turning on the waterworks more than any moment in TV history. Sia Furler hails from Adelaide, Ben Fold's Australian home, and the only place I've ever attended a foam party. Sia is also one of the vocalists contributing to the work of Zero 7, and has done stuff with a lot of the Bristol triphop aristocracy.


this is the first show i've ever watched where i felt so involved in the characters. i've greived and felt happy for these people. their "lives" can greatly affect my mood in my real life for days. i will miss them as well. the thing that i felt made the show so special was the depth of the characters, all of them, even the side characters. they were multi-faceted individuals that i felt all had complex back-stories in the minds of the writers and while the writers did not always reveal the whole backstory of a character, they did not shy away from letting the complexities of the characters shine through in their actions.


I was sobbing when the show went through its final sequence to that beautiful, lilting, haunting music. I will miss these characters with all theri flaws and flights of fancy so much. I will miss the cinematography and circumstance, the sets and the scenarios.


you bring up a fantastic point with the "grunge" factor - i was never into nirvana at all but you make a good point about nate and claire ... i always related to them the most and as being extremely like my friends and myself (persons born between... 77-82 or so?) - all of us trying to eek out a beter place in the world at least for ourselves and people we immediately impact.

6FU has been the only show i've ever watched from start to finish (i think i got hooked just a few episodes into the first season and caught up in those marathon re-runs HBO runs). many people i know cried at the last episode... people who are not known for crying [easily]. ruth finally coming to terms and accepting and offering help to brenda, ruth telling claire she HAS to go to new york (making ruth a much more central character than she ever seemed, i thought)...

i must now read the salon article. :)

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    • I'm a father of three boys, husband of one wife, and author of eight books, and co-founder of three web sites. We spend most of the year in Marin County, California though I'm on the road a lot giving talks. (You can see the full story here.) Personal correspondence should go to sbeej68 at gmail dot com. If you're interested in having me speak at an event, drop a line to Wesley Neff at the Leigh Bureau (WesN at Leighbureau dot com.)

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    • : Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

      Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
      An exploration of environments that lead to breakthrough innovation, in science, technology, business, and the arts. I conceived it as the closing book in a trilogy on innovative thinking, after Ghost Map and Invention. But in a way, it completes an investigation that runs through all the books. Sold more copies in hardcover than anything else I've written.

    • : The Invention of Air

      The Invention of Air
      The story of the British radical chemist Joseph Priestley, who ended up having a Zelig-like role in the American Revolution. My version of a founding fathers book, and a reminder that most of the Enlightenment was driven by open source ideals.

    • : The Ghost Map

      The Ghost Map
      The latest: the story of a terrifying outbreak of cholera in 1854 London 1854 that ended up changing the world. An idea book wrapped around a page-turner. I like to think of it as a sequel to Emergence if Emergence had been a disease thriller. You can see a trailer for the book here.

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      Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
      The title says it all. This one sparked a slightly insane international conversation about the state of pop culture -- and particularly games. There were more than a few dissenters, but the response was more positive than I had expected. And it got me on The Daily Show, which made it all worthwhile.

    • : Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

      Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life
      My first best-seller, and the only book I've written in which I appear as a recurring character, subjecting myself to a battery of humiliating brain scans. The last chapter on Freud and the neuroscientific model of the mind is one of my personal favorites.

    • : Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

      Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
      The story of bottom-up intelligence, from slime mold to Slashdot. Probably the most critically well-received all my books, and the one that has influenced the most eclectic mix of fields: political campaigns, web business models, urban planning, the war on terror.

    • : Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

      Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate
      My first. The book I wrote instead of finishing my dissertation. Still in print almost a decade later, and still relevant, I think. But I haven't read it in a while, so who knows what's in there!

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