Six Feet Under

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Six Feet Under was an HBO Ensemble Dramedy created by Alan Ball that ran from 2001 to 2006. The show was about the Fisher family, who ran a mortuary in Los Angeles. During the show's run, it picked up a slew of awards, including nine Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Peabody Award.

After family patriarch Nathaniel Fisher Sr. is killed in a car accident, his three children and widow take up running the family's funeral home business. Each episode begins with a death, which sets up that episode's funeral.

The Trope Namer for Narm.

Just got a Character Page, which needs editing.


Tropes used in Six Feet Under include:
  • Aborted Arc: Keith and David during one season go through an entire storyline about taking in Keith's niece, Taylor, as their own, and going through lengths to get the rights to raise her. One argument later, and Keith, behind David's back, sends her to live with his parents instead.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Averted. The Biker funeral is wild but not dangerous, and the "guest of honor" died on his way to be a mall Santa (in full getup).
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: David, Keith, every single character that is attracted to the same gender seem to have no self control over where they put their genitals.
    • This is also true of the straight characters, especially Brenda and Nate, which is not surprising considering how they originally met.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Claire.
  • Alone with the Psycho: In Season One Episode 12, Nates meeting with Billy certainly has shades of this.
  • Alternate Universe
  • Anyone Can Die: In a way. The idea that any person can die at any time is a major theme in the show, but at the same time, only two major characters die young in the entire series, and there are only a couple other times important characters even come close to dying.
  • Bi the Way: Russell.
  • Black Comedy
  • Black Sheep: Nate.
  • Body of the Week: Every episode began with a death, and the epitaph faded into the credits in a manner reminiscent of "going into the light" associated with death.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Brenda has a... bizarre relationship with her brother, who openly states that he is in love with her. There was even a scene where she fantasizes about actually sleeping with him.
    • Ever since Season 1, there was the question of whether they actually did it. It was not confirmed until a later season that they did not.
  • Brother Chuck: Played straight with Claire's best friend Parker; averted with Claire's college friends who appear again in the last season.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: When Lisa dies, Nate remembers her wishes to be buried without embalming or a coffin, out in nature. Nate manages to grant this request, although it means deceiving her family and breaking the law.
  • Camp Gay: David, especially when alone with Keith. Also Robbie, from the florist.
  • Character Development: It's jarring to see the Fishers in the early episodes compared to the latest ones.
  • The Chew Toy: David, from getting kidnapped and beaten to catching an STD from a prostitute.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Lisa, before she marries Nate. Ruth also has her moments.
  • Club Kid: David and Keith, played straight.
  • Comforting the Widow
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Brenda's brother took this to crazy stalkerish levels over her relationship with Nate, Nate himself had a moment of this while stoned, and Russell's behavior bordered on this at Claire's art exhibition at the end of Season Four.
  • Creepy Mortician: How characters outside of the family see the Fishers.
  • Daydream Surprise: Show staple.
  • Deadly Distant Finale
  • Dead Person Conversation: Nathaniel's frequent chats with the Fisher children, and occasionally Ruth.
  • Death Is Such an Odd Thing
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Nathaniel Fisher, Sr. (triangle with Ruth and Hiram); Lisa (triangle with Nate and Brenda); subverted with Nate, whose death breaks up both possible relationships with Brenda or Maggie.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Let's just say that the Fisher household is a microwave and the start button was the death of Nathaniel Sr.
  • Did Not Do the Research: I think inaccurate doesn't quite sum up how the show went about surrogate pregnancies.
    • To say nothing of how they portray electroshock therapy.
      • To be fair, the character who received said therapy was a little "off" and was probably making a dark joke.
  • Dramedy
  • The Dutiful Son: David.
  • Dysfunctional Family
  • Dysfunction Junction: Although by the end many of them got better.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: One death-of-the-week occurs as a result of this going awry.
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: Played outlandishly straight. In one episode, Nate's mother literally can't even leave a room for five minutes when having Brenda over for dinner without Nate and Brenda going at it right there.
  • Eye Scream: The fifth season premiere starts off with an accidental one of these.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: One per episode, with few exceptions.
  • Family Business: The funeral home, obviously.
  • Friends with Benefits: Nate and Lisa. Lampshaded by Claire ("So you're like, what, fuckbuddies?").
  • The Fun in Funeral: Biker Funeral! Porn-Star Funeral!
    • Lampshaded by the psychotic Billy when he fakes his suicide ("If you mix up the letters in 'funeral' you get 'real fun.'"),
    • Also referenced in one of the Parody Commercials in the pilot episode, which proclaims that their product puts "fun, back into the funeral".
  • Gayngst
  • "Happy Ending" Massage: Brenda, during her sex addiction.
  • Henpecked Husband: Nate after marrying Lisa.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Brenda, so very much.
  • Housewife: Ruth, subverted.
  • In Space: Lampshaded with "Nathaniel and Isabelle: In Space!"
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Nate and Brenda get interrupted twice, first by Brenda's brother, then Nate's mom.
  • Invisible to Gaydar: Keith.
    • Keith is so straight that he occasionally has sex with girls...but apparently that doesn't make him bi.
  • Ironic Echo: Watch the last few episodes of the Fishers mourning after Nate's death. Then watch the first few episodes after Nathaniel's death. Familiar, but different, wouldn't you say?
  • It Always Rains At Funerals: Averted. Funerals almost invariably occur on beautiful, sunny days, since this is, after all, LA.
  • Jerkass: Nate, moments before he dies; the last thing he ever says to his wife and daughter is that he wants to leave her for his new stepsister, and that he doesn't care about her anymore.
    • Frederico also has his moments.
    • Fallen Hero: Nate started out as The Everyman but by the end of the series he became the least likeable member of the main cast.
      • Or more like he is the only character in the series who never actually grew up. Everyone changed for the better by the end, but Nate was still practicing his old Casanova ways.
  • Lady Drunk: Margaret Chenowith. Rarely does one see her without a drink in her hand.
  • Lead In
  • Let's Have Another Baby: Nate and Brenda.
  • Magic Realism
  • Manly Gay: Sarge.
  • Meaningful Funeral
  • Mega Corp: Kroner, the commercial funeral home from the early seasons.
  • Mushroom Samba
  • Near-Death Experience
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Nate, before Lisa disappears only to be found dead weeks later. Ruth, when Nate dies while she is away camping.
    • Also the driving force for much of the Wangst in the first few episodes after Nathaniel, Sr. dies. Even the audience feels this way after Nate dies.
  • Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted.
  • No Medication for Me: Whenever an episode needs more drama, Billy will sometimes go through extreme examples of this trope.
  • The Obi-Wan
  • Once an Episode: Every episode begins with the Death of the Week.
    • Except in three occasions: The third-to-last episode, which continues on the death that occurred at the end of the previous episode; an earlier episode where the lack of deaths is something of a plot point; and the finale, which begins with a birth.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, seeing as there are two characters named Nathaniel: Nathaniel Fisher Senior and Nathaniel Fisher Junior. Though it doesn't really matter seeing as Jr. is usually referred to as 'Nate'.
    • A third Nathaniel is the character from the Book Within A Show Nathaniel and Isabel. Shortly after having met Brenda for the first time, Nate gets a bit freaked out by the fact that she has a tattoo of his name on her back (it actually refers to Billy, because the two siblings could identify very well with the book characters).
  • Open-Minded Parent: Nathaniel Fisher, Senior. Brenda's parents are open-minded to a fault.
    • Subverted in the case of Nathaniel since his kids had no idea how open-minded he was. The only version of Nathaniel we ever see are hallucinations of what the characters think he'd say in the situation.
  • Out with a Bang: Slightly delayed.
  • Porn Stash: A Crowning Moment of Funny when Keith and David's adopted sons find their porn, they are forced to toss it away. It's enormous, taking up several full garbage bags. The two of them begin arguing at the dumpster about which ones are too good to throw away.
  • Posthumous Character: Nathaniel Fisher Sr.
  • Pretty in Mink
  • Pro Bono Barter: Nathaniel Fisher Sr., being sympathetic to low-income clients, was willing to accept a lifetime supply of marijuana from one client as payment for services, and a private room above a restaurant from another.
  • Proscenium Reveal: "In the Game" opens with a young girl home alone when a slasher-killer breaks into her house. The girl screams... then cut to inside a movie theater where we realize it's only from a horror movie that is playing.
  • Ravens and Crows
  • Really Gets Around: EVERYONE. I'm not joking, every single character by the end of the last season turns into sex crazy maniacs.
    • Nate started the series as something of a Casanova and all the characters become sexually adventurous at some point. Everyone grows out of it except Nate. Nate's lack of growth is a plot point at the end of the series.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Nate and David.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Nate and David.
  • Single Mom Stripper: Frederico has an affair with one for a while. Because we all know that strippers are slutty junky bitches, right?
  • The Snark Knight: Claire.
  • Spicy Latina: Vanessa.
  • Spirit Advisor: The female rabbi.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Claire had a brief relationship with a lesbian, but realized her attraction was aesthetic, not sexual, and ended the relationship. The woman in question felt Claire was grossed out by her vagina, which Claire denied.
  • Troubled but Cute: Gabe.
  • True Art Is Angsty: In-universe, averted with everyone but Claire. Claire attains some moderate artistic success with a more upbeat portfolio, but keeps trying to pitch her own work, which is all gloomy shots of gravestones. No one is interested.
  • Wham! Line: In the Season Three premiere, Nate is in surgery. Cut to death title card: Nathaniel Fisher Jr. 1965-2002.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: In one episode, they show Nathan masturbating while he was alone. It seemed like they were trying to make it look as vile and depraved as if he were buying a prostitute or something.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue
  • Yandere: Lisa.