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I finally caved and bought the SFU box set. I wish I had bought this lovely collection in its lovely tombstone case from the start. I could have saved a lot of money on DVD rentals. But I've wanted to rewatch this show ever since I finished it. Also I haven't treated SFU to my customary 'Favourite Moments' tribute. I'm a little spoiled for choice but here goes.

Please share your own favourite SFU memories! Spoiler warnings if you haven't seen the full show.

My 12 Favourite SFU Scenes (in chronological order)

The Room

1. Nathaniel Fisher's Room.
Possibly my favourite of all SFU fantasy sequences. Nate discovers that his father had a secret room above an Indian restaurant and wonders what his father did in this room, imagining him reading, dancing, smoking pot, getting blow jobs, shooting people from the window, etc. But like Brenda says this room represents the private side to the Late Nate Sr. that nobody is meant to know.

David Ruth

2. David comes out to Ruth.
I love any intimate scene between Ruth and David because they are so similar and so painfully repressed. There are many great moments of David coming out to other characters in S1 but coming out to his mother is the most touching. David lived his life trying to make his parent's happy and trying to be the dutiful conservative son he assumed they wanted. As Ruth expresses, loving her children is not a choice for her: "I don't choose the parts of you I love like some kind of chicken!"  

billy brenda

3. Brenda has Billy committed.
While the Fishers have always been the heart of the show, in the first season I was sometimes a little more captivated by those crazy Chenowiths. Billy could be perceived as the villain of S1 but it still breaks my heart when Brenda gives in to having her dangerous brother placed in an institution. Billy's very sincere apology to Brenda is enough to redeem the character for me and show why Brenda has been so determined to support her brother through his turmoil.

the plan

4. Ruth's speech to The Plan.
I think Ruth became my favourite character in this moment (over the seasons my favourite character switched between Ruth, Brenda and David). There are a lot of great moments where a member of the Fisher family lets rip and rants about their true feelings. Ruth's epic "Fuck This!" speech is by far the funniest and most satisfying. I want to make a speech like this myself one day.

nate brenda

5. Nate and Brenda's fight.
I never had much faith that Nate and Brenda would last, but Nate/Brenda is one of those TV relationships that's at its best when it's imploding. After all the lies and betrayals that fell between them over the course of S2 they really earned this apocalyptic fight and break up with all its ugly harsh truths. Obviously this wasn't the end for Nate/Brenda but it's the point where they became damaged beyond repair in my opinion. I just don't think calling your fiancee a "cunt from hell" is something you can fully recover from.


6. David and Claire keep Nate company.
Lisa's disappearance is one of those nightmare scenarios I hope I never have to face in my life. A loved one dying is hard enough, but a loved one going missing followed by a long period of agonized waiting as they go from 'missing' to 'missing, presumed dead' must be unbearable. The show does a scarily good job of portraying that agony. So it's such a relief when David and Claire show up at the beach so Nate doesn't have to go through it alone. I wanted to hug them and cry all over them just like Nate does.

Keith David

7. Keith and David at Church.
I was always fond of the Keith/David relationship but it's this scene at the church where they talk about the first day they met and the first things they thought about each other, that really got me rooting for Keith/David to have a happy ending together. I'm not usually this sentimental but the moment when Keith says "Don't you know I think you're beautiful?" and David struggles to believe it, makes me melt every time.


8. Nate buries Lisa in the desert.
As Lisa tells him in a dream vision, Nate released too late that Lisa was a person, not Nate's symbolic chance at redemption. The only way Nate has left to honor Lisa as a person is to give her the burial she wanted, even though he has to go against her families wishes and put her half-rotten remains in the ground all by himself. It could be viewed as Nate's most heroic loving act or it could be seen as an act of masochistic narcissism. Either way it's a hellish and cathartic moment.


9. The Rapture.
So I wanted to include my favourite cold open death sequence on this list. There's so many great ones to choose from but nothing beats the short-sighted woman who sees a batch of helium-filled sex dolls floating up to the clouds and thinks she is witnessing the Rapture. And then runs into the road and gets hit by a car, poor dear. The writers really got inventive with their death scenarios over the seasons but I'd still love to know how these sick twisted minds came up with the Rapture death.


10. David's abduction.
I'm sure this torturous twenty-five minute kidnap sequence is on many fans 'least favourite' moments list. It's not like I enjoy seeing our dear David Fisher getting terrorized by a psychotic crackhead. But this whole show is about the trauma of living very close to death. So I appreciated that the writers pushed that central theme to its extreme by having one of the main characters suffer a truly nightmarish near death experience. And it had to be David so the audience would suffer along with him.


11. Nate's Green Funeral.
All I remember about watching this scene the first time around was how much I was crying. Nate's green funeral was the perfect tribute to his character and I'm sure he would have appreciated his loved ones all bearing their emotions and getting their hands dirty for him. For me, it doesn't really matter if you loved or hated Nate by this point. The show admirably doesn't offer any token redemption for Nate to ensure we feel sad that he's died. The show trusts that we'll feel Nate's loss simply because he was a person we knew. We'll feel Nate's loss because we know what Nate meant to Ruth, to David, to Claire and even to Brenda. That loss is painful enough on its own.


12. Claire on the Road of Life.
The final six minutes certainly live up to their reputation of being the best ending of any TV show. Who would have thought that watching an extended montage all the main characters deaths as Claire drives towards her future would feel so strangely uplifting? It's a great spin on the conventional epilogues that show a glimpse of the characters later in life to give fans an idea of what happened to them "in the end" (the corny Harry Potter flash forward for example). The SFU epilogue starts with these reassuring glimpses of our characters getting married, raising children, growing old together, etc. But ultimately - there is only one ending and we see it come to all of them. *sniff*

Date: 2013-04-07 02:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selenak.livejournal.com
All great, great moments which I love. Here are some additional ones from me:

- the one from my icon, where David comes out to Nate, and Brenda's exchange with Nate afterwards ("I think David is gay!" "I think David is lucky - have you seen that guy?") just caps it.

- Ruth and Claire hightailing it out of the house with the superfriendly mother and daughter early in the morning, being both creeped out by so much harmony

- David waiting for Keith outside in the hospital floor when Keith's niece Taylor has the appendix emergency

- Lisa organizing a birthday party for Ruth even though her children say Ruth never wants one, and then it turns out Ruth did, and is just so happy and rarely loose and joyful during it

- Claire getting David to talk about what happened during the kidnapping, which is such a tender and supportive moment, and then her ensuing conversation with Nate about how he needs to go back on the job, and her argument "he'd do it for you" clinching it for Nate

- Bettina and Ruth under the stars in front of Sarah's house

- Billy and George talking about being mentally ill on the porch during Nate's 40th birthday party, and ending up singing together quietly. As [livejournal.com profile] londonkds once said, this is one of those moments that captures the humanity of this show, because neither of them is a leading character, both of them have at times been positioned as antagonists and/or burdens to beloved main characters, but they're still given this moment of quiet understanding

- Margaret's idea of comforting Brenda after Brenda confided in her about the possible sick child she's carrying and Nate's reaction: "Darling, don't you think I wanted to abort you and Billy both? But your father talked me out of it." Margaret can be relied upon to saying the most ghastly thing possible in any given situation, but she does it ever so entertainingly.

- on a similar note: Olivier's way of cheering Margaret up after her operation (which totally works), and Brenda's and Billy's exchanged look; as you say, the Fishers are the heart of the show, but it would not be nearly the same without the Chenowiths

- Ruth and David washing Nate's body. I still can't watch that without sobbing my heart out.

Comments on your examples in the next reply!

Date: 2013-04-08 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falafel-musings.livejournal.com
It's really tough doing a favourite scenes list because a lot of my favourite are just little tiny moments between characters - like all the Ruth/Bettina scenes, all the Ruth/Arthur scenes, all the David/Taylor scenes, etc. I loved Ruth and Claire fleeing from spinning class too! And all of David's coming out moments.

her argument "he'd do it for you" clinching it for Nate

I also love that wordless moment after that when Nate shows up at the funeral home and David realizes that Nate has come back to take some of the pressure off him.

Margaret's idea of comforting Brenda after Brenda confided in her about the possible sick child she's carrying and Nate's reaction: "Darling, don't you think I wanted to abort you and Billy both? But your father talked me out of it."

OMG yes. Brenda's face when she said that. Ma Chenowith was truly horrific but I couldn't hate her because she was so damn funny.

Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2013-04-07 02:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selenak.livejournal.com
re: Brenda and Billy: I have two recs for you, if you haven't discovered the items in question already. The same vidders who made that great SFU vid I linked to you after you finished the show made this one about the Chenowith siblings:

Sister, I Need Wine (http://archiveofourown.org/works/240336) (7 words) by laurashapiro (http://archiveofourown.org/users/laurashapiro), Laura Shapiro (http://archiveofourown.org/users/laurashapiro), jarrow (http://archiveofourown.org/users/jarrow)
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Six Feet Under (http://archiveofourown.org/tags/Six%20Feet%20Under)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence, Rape/Non-Con
Relationships: Billy Chenowith/Brenda Chenowith
Characters: Billy Chenowith, Brenda Chenowith
Additional Tags: Sibling Incest, vid

It is the night that brings me to you.

And [livejournal.com profile] likeadeuce wrote this great short vignette which captures their interaction, their intellectual brilliance and co dependence so very well:

Uncertainty (http://archiveofourown.org/works/25263) (1270 words) by likeadeuce (http://archiveofourown.org/users/likeadeuce)
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Six Feet Under (http://archiveofourown.org/tags/Six%20Feet%20Under)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Brenda Chenowith, Billy Chenowith

It is a fucking law of physics that the very act of observation changes that which is being observed. -- Brenda Chenowith in Ep 1.05, "An Open Book"

I don't know which of the many opening deaths is my favourite, but the Rapture is certainly a masterpiece. In terms of "well, that explains a lot" was the death of George's mother when she commits suicide via pills while holding his hand when he's a child right in front of him. I'm not fonder of George than your avarage SFU viewer and cheered when Ruth moved him out, but as I said elsewhere, this show is so great in its humanity - everyone has their story, their emotions and tragedies, even the annoying people.

The final sequence is so very, very brilliant. "Everyone dies" is the sort of motto of this show, but no show ever has managed to make a look at the deaths of its entire cast feel so uplifting.

Date: 2013-04-08 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falafel-musings.livejournal.com
Thanks for the Billy/Brenda recs! Incidentally I did check out your own SFU fic but found it hard to get into when reading the Angel chapters (I only ever watched Buffy and wow, I never knew that Cordelia dies! Learn something new every day) I thought your Nate and David characterizations were really good though!

I was wondering about an SFU fic myself. I was thinking about how in 'That's My Dog' the show stays with David for the whole final part of the episode and we don't see what is happening to the other characters. David's ordeal went on so long. There must have been a point where the Fishers wondered why David wasn't back yet and why he wasn't answering his phone. And that happening right after Lisa's disappearance and death might have been a very frightening moment for them.

Oh, I agree. I don't think George was badly written or acted. All the SFU characters are so good, even the ones who annoy me. And yes, the flashback to his mother's suicide gave me chills.

Date: 2013-04-07 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ignipes.livejournal.com
I knew what the last item on the list was going to be and I totally, totally teared up by the time I got there. So beautiful.

Date: 2013-04-08 04:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falafel-musings.livejournal.com
I know, right? Of course the last 6 minutes would be on my lists. It should be on ALL the favourites lists!!

Date: 2013-04-09 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenina20.livejournal.com
this is brilliant - it truly reminded me why I loved this show so much when I saw it. It was the first quality show I saw and at first I think I was too young for it and I remembering being terrified and traumatized and hypnotized by it - so awesome. You're brilliant as ever.

But ultimately - there is only one ending

And this is WHY this show is so absolutely terrible and awesome and painful. It's truly about death, unapologetically. And yes, i kind of hate American Beauty - but I'm still in denial that Alan Ball move on to do True Fucking Blood, you know? Also about death and sex and yet... so awful.

The show admirably doesn't offer any token redemption for Nate to ensure we feel sad that he's died. The show trusts that we'll feel Nate's loss simply because he was a person we knew.

And that is also unique and absolutely perfect and terrible, because this was the most satisfying character death that was ever made and that will ever be made - possibly. Because usually character death are just a ploy to bring on the angst, and this was the absolute opposite. Death for death's sake, because death happens and hurts and is terrible and terrifying - but never a fucking plot device. I love that this show was all about that - it's... unbelievable. Still. After so many years have passed since I watched this show.

I will not ever - for as long as I live - forget Lisa's burial. This show - even if you forget a lot of it, there are terrible moments that just hit you so hard, they never really leave you.

Date: 2013-04-09 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falafel-musings.livejournal.com
I never watched the show when it was originally airing. I'd heard of it but I never knew how great it was. I always thought it was more of a shallow black comic melodrama. Like a 'Desperate Housewives' type show.

It's truly about death, unapologetically.

It's not just about death and mortality though. It's about so many other issues that human beings struggle to talk about - mental illness, depression, trauma, isolation, failed relationships, sexual repression, sexual compulsion, madness, miscarriage, abortion, drug abuse, emotional abuse, etc. Anything that is hard to face; SFU makes its characters face it.

Death for death's sake, because death happens and hurts and is terrible and terrifying

The theme of death and the major deaths in the narrative serve the same purpose and both feel very organic. In a way, the deaths do shape the plot. It starts with the death of one Nathaniel Fisher, the father's death that serves to bring family back together. And it ends with the death of another Nathaniel Fisher, which ultimately gets the family to move on to new phases of their lives. Lisa's disappearance and death feel like a very dark terrifying interval in the middle of the narrative.
Edited Date: 2013-04-09 09:59 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-04-09 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenina20.livejournal.com
yeah but - if you go the eros and thanatos route and accept that in life it's either death drives or life drives pulling us through - this show is about death drive. sometimes it's death in the literal sense as meaning 'end of life' and other times it's death in the wider, metaphorical sense that comprises all forms that contraint, restrain, frustrate, thwart and utlimately cripple life -

- and this might be conditioned by my own line of work, but I've found all the great texts are about that dark side of life because the fact is, death is an inextricable part of life, but the one part that constantly is ignored and obliterated in mass culture. so this show was a nice counter-story to that.

Date: 2013-06-09 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cylune9.livejournal.com
Great list!! I agree they're all amazing. My favorite is a tiny, tiny moment in the final episode when Claire is leaving and we see Nate in her side mirror, running and slowly disappearing. I was sobbing, like big ugly sobs. My eyes are teary just thinking about it.

Date: 2013-06-11 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falafel-musings.livejournal.com
Every time I look back at this list I can think of a dozen more favourite moments I missed out - Nate high on ecstasy, Claire and Ruth escaping from spinning class, Brenda's performance when shopping at different funeral homes, David and Nathaniel Sr. talking at the end of S4, Nate's last dream that I'm writing my meta about! Too many moments...

Guh. Nate running in the rear view mirror kills me too.


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