Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Bodies, dead and living

I saw the final episode of Six Feet Under the other day (spoilery link). I really loved that series, and while it did become rather a soap opera by the end, it continued to give me food for thought and/or tears in my eyes right up to the end. The characters were all interesting to me, in particular the women, and every episode made me think. In most episodes people saw the Dead, sometimes speaking words of wisdom, and sometimes making cruel and insane comments. As in real life, fantasies elided into reality. From my customary superficial perspective, Nate and Brenda are the fictional couple I would most like to get it on with (those pictures don't really do them justice). I am just thinking now, how much better the female characters are in the best TV programs than in films, and this series is right at the top of that list.


The only series I can think of with more complex characters is Bodies, a BBC series about an obstetric/gynae unit in an NHS hospital. This is an altogether darker and less 'satisfying' program than Six Feet Under, and harder to watch. It has the most challenging medical procedures I've seen on TV - much more extreme than House or CSI for instance - and I have literally had to switch it off and go and do something else to get the images out of my head. The characters are morally highly ambiguous, and it is hard to form a fixed view of them, just like in real life. The politics and sharp practice is like my real working life, without the literal blood and guts of course. My favourite character is Roger Hurley, played by that smarmy chap from The Office. Hurley is morally ambivalent, ruthless and perhaps lethally incompetent. Kind of love to hate.

Both Six Feet Under and Bodies are sometimes sexually explicit, in a way which would have been literally unthinkable for a TV program even quite recently. Both programs linked the extremes of the body in death and in life, and I never felt that the extremity of the sex was gratuitous or exploitative. Like imagination or suffering it is one part of life, that makes sense of the rest of it.
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