Chickpastor’s Advent Calendar, Day 3: Six Feet Under, Pilot Episode

This is my favorite TV show of all time.

It seems almost like blasphemy to call it a TV show, because it’s really an art form above TV. Each episode was a movie in which the plot got advanced and you got to know the characters, but the sets were so beautiful and the acting so astonishing that you forget you’re just watching TV.

The pilot takes place on Christmas Eve, and it centers around death, as does the show.

The father of the family dies in the first few minutes (not giving anything away here; plus, it was made in 2001), and the whole episode is the family hearing the news and reacting. It’s Christmas Eve, and the mother is making a roast; crazily, like a real person grieving, she mentions the ruined roast first: “My roast is ruined, and your father is dead.”

My dad died on December 26th, and this pilot, like most of the show, feels so familiar to me for some reason. For all of us who have had someone die on or near a holiday, that holiday never quite feels the same. We can love it, celebrate it, all that stuff, in the years to come, but it will never lose its hurt. And that’s okay.

I’ve never cried so hard at the end of a TV series as I did for Six Feet Under, when you find out what the show has been building towards all along. It really is all about how we all die, even if it’s after a long, good life or after a short, tragic one. And it’s about how we treat each other in between and what we learn along the way.

Dear Baby Jesus, we have days in which we wish you would come back this very second, and save us from this mess. We pray that you would walk with us in this short life, and show us what our mission is in this broken world. Be our light in the darkness; show us how to be light for each other in the midst of death. Amen.

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