On June 13th, Six Feet Under returns for its fourth glorious season. In case you don’t get HBO or don’t watch TV (in which case you’re probably not going to be interested in what follows), the show is Alan Ball’s macabre and delicious send up of your completely atypical American Family as Charles Adams (or even Salvador Dali) might imagine it.
The Times’ Virginia Heffernan has written a slightly puffy piece about the women of Six Feet Under:Death Becomes Her, Her and Her. It posits a somewhat questionable thesis that after the series’ initial focus on the men of the family, each subsequent season has focussed more and more on the women.
The show’s gifted female ensemble — Ms. Ambrose, Joanna Cassidy, Frances Conroy, Rachel Griffiths and Justina Machado — have come to dominate the family-centric series created by Alan Ball. Since its debut, its focus has steadily shifted from fathers, sons and brothers to mothers, daughters and sisters.
I just don’t buy it. I also thought showcasing Joanna Cassidy’s character as if she were a major female role is a bit misleading. While Joanna Cassidy is a terrfic actor and I’d like to see her have a greater role, her character is quite minor in the overall scheme of things.
But I do think the women characters are each great in different ways and even a puffy profile is a welcome shot in the arm for a tremendously deserving TV show.