Six Feet Under
Laurence Hall Matheson: 1971-2005. Certainly one of the quickest opening death scenes ever. Less than 30 seconds in, a dude is mauled by a cougar and I'm the one scared to death. Nice fade into a close-up of Nate being taken away on a stretcher. I loved how David, being the smart brother, chose not to tell Brenda that Nate was with Maggie when he collapsed. Awkward moment No. 1: Brenda showing up at the hospital and seeing Maggie there. Claire to David: "Why is she here?" David (whispering): "Later." Such a perfect brother-sister scene. Meanwhile, back at the campfire, Ruth is about to have sex with Ed Begley Jr., I mean, Hiram. Awkward moment No. 2: Brenda's conversation with Maggie at the hospital after the neurosurgeon (played by Michele Greene from L.A. Law, don't ya know) gave the Nate update. But back to Ruth: The comic highlight of the episode was, of course, the dream sequence shootout , with Ruth taking down all her former amours with a rifle. Too funny. This scene was followed by two truly happy moments the first being Claire finally finding happiness with a man. By the way, close your eyes and Lauren Ambrose is totally Marilu Henner. Come on, admit it. The second cheery scene was Nate and Maggie smiling lovingly at each other. Nate is finally happy.
But in true Six Feet Under fashion, the happiness is short-lived. Nate breaks up with Brenda and then dies shortly afterward. I kept hearing that one of the lead characters was going to die, but I didn't think it would be Nate. He had gone through such health problems already that he'd be too predictable. But the way they did it having him come out of the coma and seem fine, only to die while David was napping beside him wow. And can we talk about Nate's final dream where David turns into Shaggy from Scooby Doo? For a moment there I was like, "Oh, no! They are not saying the entire series was a dream, pulling a Dallas-Bobby-in-the-shower moment." Thankfully, that dream was, indeed, just a dream. And how strange to see "Nathaniel Samuel Fisher Jr. 1965-2005" right before the closing credits. Dave Anderson
The Surreal Life
I've decided that the most entertaining thing about this season is the opening title sequence, in which the D-listers are turned into a scary two-dimensional funhouse ride. Too bad they're turning out to be so one-dimensional on the show. And considering that there are hardly any scenes of the Lifers at home almost the entire show is about their highly structured tasks I'm thinking they're not so interesting in their downtime. Jose wearing the stockings from the burlesque show doesn't even seem that risqué when you consider they look exactly like baseball players' socks. So it's extreme-makeover day (which, sadly, has nothing to do with watching Janice under the knife), and to stir up inevitable conflict, Omarosa is made the manager of their job redoing the backyard playground at a battered-women's shelter, even though Carey has experience in landscape work. Before things get started, Janice treats the world to the vision of her thong-wearing butt sticking out the van window, and that's definitely better for her kids to see than her performing a tame strip show for charity. Omarosa declares Janice insane and yet continues to refer to herself in the third person. Bronson has confessed to us that his father beat his mother, and I wonder if this somehow justifies the way he continues to lunge at Janice at every opportunity. He also introduces a new word into my vocabulary with this diagnosis: "Candy-assitis is spreading like wildfire." Icky. Omarosa and the megaphone she stole from Ty Pennington are powerless to control this condition. But ta-da! Carey saves the day simply by assigning tasks to specific people. Nice to see him get some screen time. And I'm glad the women and children of the Jennesse Center didn't have to suffer just so we at home could enjoy watching celebrities prove their uselessness. This way, everybody wins. Sabrina Rojas Weiss