Wednesday, August 10, 2005

WILY TV 8/9/05: Love Stinks

Having returned from a wonderful vacation on the Central and Northern California Coasts and the San Francisco Bay area in particular, I've had a lot of catching up to do on my summer TV shows. Several of my favorites are on HBO and, fortunately, I have digital cable that includes HBO On Demand. Thus, I've been frantically trying to get back up to speed with Entourage, The Comeback, and Six Feet Under. Last night I watched two episoides of SFU and one each of Entourage and Comeback. There was an interesting thread running through each.

What I learned yesterday on television: relationships can really suck (especially if you're a self-involved/depressed/debauched/amoral A-hole).

On Entourage, Vince was trying to deal with the remnants of his only serious heartbreak courtesy of Mandy Moore. On Comeback, Valerie's long-suffering husband Mark was left to come down from a Red-Bull-and-vodka buzz while dealing with Valerie's similarly buzzed melt-down, all inspired by the Aunt Sassy-centric episode of Room and Bored and the constant prying eyes of the reality show cameras. Why he stays with her is a real wonder.

Six Feet Under took the cake, though. Nate and Brenda can't get it together, they may (or may not) be having a child with special needs, Nate finds religion (sort of), he sleeps with Maggie, and immediately drops to the floor with an aneurism/stroke/heart attack. (NOTE: I've got two more episodes to go before I'm caught up, but -- don't tell Wasteland Spouse -- I've peeked and know that Nate is not long for this world.) You've gotta feel for both Brenda and Nate. If Nathaniel had just heeded the Surgeon General's Warning on his cigarette packs, he'd never have been in the car accident, Nate never would have come back to LA from Seattle on the same flight as Brenda, they'd never have banged in the broom closet at the airport (where was the lock on that closet anyway?), she wouldn't have driven him into Lisa's bed with her ridiculous emotional inaccessibility and nymphomaniacal acting out, Lisa probably would not have been murdered by her brother-in-law-turned-lover, Nate would not have meandered back into black hole of a relationship in which he and Brenda are perenially stuck, and (perhaps) he could have just dropped dead in the middle of Pike Place Market or on a switchback of the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail at Mount Rainier National Park and never missed all the crappy relationship stuff he and Brenda have made us suffer through for five years. Of course, then the mute cutie Maya probably would never have been born.

On second thought, maybe what I learned yesterday on TV was something I already knew: the kids make all the tough relationship s*#t worth it.


Blogger Rose said...

I can't believe SFU is ending. This last season has been so good..both the writing and acting. I cried and cried when watching last week's episode. Grab your spouse and watch it together. It'll be sure to bring up lots of emotions and good conversation.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Wasteland Fan said...

Rose, it was an effective episode wasn't it?

I should also point out that I was a little to harsh on Brenda in this post, making it sound like the relationship problems between her and Nate were mostly her fault. Not so. While George referred to Nate wanting to be "a better man," I have to agree with Brenda that Nate was motivated by a desire to try to find someone who would make him feel like a better man than what he was. The Nate/Brenda relationship was so problematic in part because (I'm engaging in a bit of exegesis here) Nate had something invested in making Brenda seem so unstable and nutty. I think it made him feel better about himself. That's no way to frame a relationship.

I agree about the season. Matt Roush at TV Guide is consistently negatvie about SFU, but I have to disagree. While season 3 was next to unwatchable, season 4 was an improvement, and season 5 has been uniformly strong. I'm particularly intrigued by Ruth's character arc. She has "grown" from hapless victim of circumstance to mirror, in some ways, Nate's inability to have a real relationship. I'm also intrigued by how, despite it's rocky history, the David's and Keith's relationship is becoming the most conventionally stable and affirming.

Good stuff.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

So true about Ruth. What she did to George was so wrong. George's eulogy was right on about Nate being an idealist & struggling his whole life to try and come to terms with an imperfect world (and himself).

And I like how they're finally developing Claire's character. When she started that temp job at the law firm and was describing the torture of wearing pantyhose I nearly bust a gut I laughed so hard. I guess you have to have been a woman working in a corporate environment to fully empathize and appreciate her comments and behavior.

I could feel David's grief...losing his older brother...and being that they were so close. It is nice to see the writers are giving him and Keith a solid relationship.

I really will miss the show.

6:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home