Six Feet Under: An Open Book
May 24, 2019 9:11 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

A porn actress meets with catastrophe while getting ready for a date in her bathroom; David considers becoming a deacon at his family's conservative church; Nate gets to know Brenda's parents, her brother Billy, and some of her formative literary influences; and Ruth and Claire reassess their relationship.
posted by orange swan (5 comments total)
Nothing about Nate's visit to Margaret /Bernard made sense but it furthered the narrative.

Sandra Oh - she's so wonderful!
posted by goofyfoot at 1:22 AM on May 25, 2019

This was the second time, I think, that I'd seen Sandra Oh. The first, am pretty sure, was in the late '90s, when she played a pissed-off ex-girlfriend in a movie called "Guinevere." She was wonderful!
posted by goofyfoot at 1:26 AM on May 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

This episode had one of my favourite deaths of the entire show. That cat electrocuting his loving mistress and then placidly grooming himself while the poor woman was in her death throes in the bathtub was peak cat. And that scenario may be why I, who have a cat, have no appliances in my bathroom whatsoever.

The eulogies at Viveca's funeral were very funny (and Sandra Oh is awesome), but I wish the actors in it had made more effort to come across as sincerely sorrowful. I didn't believe that they were actually grieving as I often did with other funeral attendants during the show's run, no matter how absurd the subculture represented may have made the funeral itself. Ruth's pearl clutching over the funeral seemed a little over the top. Grief makes people do strange things, and surely she's seen it all during her decades in the funeral business.

David comes out to Nate and then wants Keith to keep himself out of sight so he can become a deacon. Really, David.

Brenda's family is soooooo fucked up they make the Fishers look normal and functional. Her parents are narcissistic monsters and her brother is just plain creepy, and outright dangerous when he's off his meds.

Speaking of creepy, how repellent was Ruth's cousin and her Stepford Wife daughter? Ugh. It was hilarious that Ruth and Claire bonded over their distaste for them. Those two just needed to make two little adjustments in order to have a better relationship: Ruth needed to stop trying so hard to relate to and control Claire, and Claire needed to spend a little time with her mother. Oh, and Ruth? Let Claire pick the movies.

And here's Viveca's obituary:

Former Adult Film Star Dies

Jean Louise McArthur, who appeared in more than 80 films under the name of Viveca St. John, was found dead in her Orange County apartment earlier this week from what appears to be an accidental electrocution. She was 43.

McArthur grew up in Augusta, Ga., but always had dreams of making it big in Hollywood. At the age of 15, she quit school and moved to Los Angeles where she was eventually discovered while working as a cocktail waitress at a local strip club.

In recent years the adult film star tried to make the difficult transition to more mainstream movie roles, often appearing in bit parts as an ex-prostitute or former stripper. "You tend to get pigeon-holed as an actress, once you've done porn," the star once said. She later had minor success on the small screen, guest starring on the television series "Boy Meets World" and on the short-lived "Models, Inc." "She was one in a million. The most dedicated and professional gal I ever worked with,"said Ross Michaels who produced many of her early films.

"The porn industry has been dealt a severe blow,"said Larry Wadd, another colleague, who appeared in several films with the actress, including the infamous cult classic "The Snake Charmer."

McArthur is survived by her parents, Mary and Edward McArthur and her beloved cat, Tito.

No funeral arrangements were announced.

posted by orange swan at 7:56 AM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, and besides the Canadian Sandra Oh, another nice bit of Canadiana appeared in this episode in the form of a song. The song that's playing in Brenda's apartment when she and Nate arrive there to find Billy prancing around in a towel is "A Common Disaster", by the Cowboy Junkies.
posted by orange swan at 2:14 PM on May 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

It was hilarious that Ruth and Claire bonded over their distaste for them
Also some masterful acting/direction to convey this accumulating distaste only by sidelong glances between the two characters.

I love that "beloved cat Tito" gets a credit in the obit.
posted by rongorongo at 5:32 AM on March 24, 2022

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