It’s been over a decade since Six Feet Under debuted, but this unconventional dark family dramedy filled with incredibly complex characters still stands up remarkably well. Though it’s hard to narrow it down to ten, here’s what we mourn for most:
10. Richard Jenkins
Even though Nathaniel Samuel Fisher Sr (1943-2000) is killed within the first minute of the series, his ghostly presence is never far from our minds. There are a few moments where we actually see flashbacks to Nathaniel as he was in life, but most of his interactions are when his presence creeps inside the Fishers’ heads, often exposing the fears they’re too restrained to admit out loud. Not knowing much about the Fisher patriarch lets us feel as though we missed out on the chance to really get to know the guy, not unlike when Nate Jr discovers that his father sometimes traded funeral arrangements for oil changes, monthly stashes of pot, or even a small room above an Indian restaurant. Who was this guy?
But Nathaniel Fisher would not be anything without Richard Jenkins, who plays the role so seemingly effortlessly, one may even think he really is some sort of omniscient tell-all of life and death. He can shift between laughing uproariously at the trivial moments of life that he’s escaped, gaze into the darkest secrets of the family he’s left behind, and spout important pieces of wisdom to uphold:
“No, time flies when you’re pretending to have fun. Time flies when you’re pretending to love Brenda and that baby she wants so much. Time flies when you’re pretending to know what people mean when they say ‘love.’ Face it, buddy boy, there’s two kinds of people in the world: there’s you, and there’s everybody else, and never the twain shall meet” (Time Flies, 5.04).
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