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6 Life Lessons from Six Feet Under

Yeah, I see the irony in that, since Six Feet Under is all about death. But it’s also all about living with death around you, and understanding that death is a part of life after all.

As one of the best shows to ever grace the small screen, Six Feet Under was technically amazing, the writing was awesome, it had amazing characters and captivating, often ridiculous situations; yet all grounded in such realism.

We laughed, and cried with characters. There were people we loved, and others we despised, and through it all there was always a lesson lurking; some tiny bit of information in each moment, episode, or season. Over here I’ve highlighted 6 of the coolest life lessons I learnt from Six Feet Under.

1. You won’t figure everything out before you die

Every episode of Six Feed Under starts with a death. It’s usually the death of the person whose funeral is managed by the Fishers for the rest of that episode. Most of these deaths happen rather unexpectedly, and for many people watching the series, it was the coolest part of the show; or at least the most flashy part of each episode.

What I took from these (mostly) odd deaths is that death happens, just as life does. Anyone can die at any time. We’re all just moving through time, and space and life together. And when it’s over, it’s over.

It’s pointless trying to gather everything, learn everything, or finish everything, because the truth is that no matter who you are, you probably won’t be able to… So maybe relax, and enjoy your life a bit, while it’s still here.

Check out the video below if you want a taste of some of the weirdest and most interesting pre-episode deaths from the series. However be warned, some of these are not for sensitive viewers and if you haven’t watched the entire series, they may constitute spoilers:

2. It’s healthy to daydream

One of the coolest things about Six Feet Under was how the main characters often used to day dream. In the first season, many of the Fishers saw their deceased father/ husband, and even had “conversations” with him.

Other day dreams were more eccentric, like randomly breaking out into dance, or acting out in a violent way in response to someone being a complete asshole (I’m looking at you, Michael C. Hall who totally got cast as Dexter because of these weird day dreams).

I’m not saying go and be a serial killer. What I guess I’m trying to say is that day dreaming is a great form of scenario planning, or even just mulling ideas, thoughts and emotions over before you act on them. It’s a way to engage with a limited degree of cathartic energy before you have to go out and cope with real life.

So embrace your day dreams, make the most of them, and don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not okay to dream, even when you’re awake.

3. Relationships are confusing

Yeah. Probably something you will end up learning along the way when you date enough people. Having just come out of a weird version of a relationship recently (it wasn’t a relationship), what I know with absolute certainty is that each new and old relationship will teach you something unexpected. Sometimes the lesson will be good, but sometimes it will be bad.

No matter how many times you think, or read, or talk about keeping things simple, the truth is that when you have two people with separate ideas, emotions, ambitions and desires and put them together, that mix of things will often have overlap and divert in crazy ways.

Compromise will always be necessary. You will find out things about the other person that you don’t like, or that you never expected. The good thing is, that you will probably learn additional things that you like (or love) about them too. And all of that is just a part of how relationships work, and how life works in general. You have to take the bad and the good parts. Which should help you cope with the next lesson…

4. People are assholes

So I totally realised that I may have watched way too many episodes of Six Feet Under when I was way too young, but this is one of those lessons I’m glad I learnt fairly early on. Based on how grounded in reality the show is, it offered a glimpse into what adults act like. And yeah, people are assholes. All people.

After going through some shitiness because of a dude, Claire asks Brenda the following question:

Brenda aptly answers the question with a resounding yes, but assures Claire that women are assholes too (“So are we”). Everyone in this show has a streak of madness; and a selfishness that inevitably leads to them hurting themselves, or people they care about (or maybe ones they don’t care about that much).

It’s great that the show never forced its characters into boxes, stereotypes or archetypes. There was always another side to see, and usually that side was… bad. But overall, this is what made the show and these characters so captivating.

5. It’s okay to get pissed off

Yeah, screw keeping your emotions cooped up inside all the damn time. Let it out. Don’t apologise for feeling something just because the world expects you to act a certain way all the time. And if anyone has a problem with that, tell them to fuck off!

6. Death is a part of Life

I guess the simplest lesson is the one we so often miss: That death is a part of life. In Six Feet Under, from episode one, we see how the death of a family member affects the Fishers.

As the episodes and seasons continue, we see how when people die, it has an impact on the people they leave behind. So even though their life is over, their death is a huge part of the lives of the people who mourn them when they’re gone.

Six Feet Under was truly one of the best shows to ever exist. They just don’t make TV like that anymore. What did you think of these life lessons from the show? Let us know your thoughts, and don’t forget to share this post if you enjoyed.

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Editor-in-Chief at BTG Lifestyle. For cinema.


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