21. Claire’s Regrets, “The New Person” (Episode 1.10)
Claire: “Oh god, can’t I just get upset without having to focus on what’s really making me upset?”
For much of the first season, the underlying pain of the loss of Nathaniel Sr. still resonates deeply within everyone in the Fisher family. A lot of bad stuff happens to Claire, between the foot stealing, her first love and getting close to Billy. But no low can compare to losing the only father she’ll ever have, especially since she regrets not knowing him as well as she could have.
22. Enter Angela, “The New Person” (Episode 1.10)
Angela: “I never worked in a funeral home that was this depressing.”
Plenty of non-Fisher family members come through the doors of Fisher & Sons, but the first one with an extended stay is Angela, a temporary restorative artist who replaces Rico when he leaves for a short period of time in the first season. While the Fisher family bottles everything up, Angela allows herself to be completely open, despite how much the Fisher family clearly doesn’t like it. It’s not until she breaks one of Ruth’s glasses and tries to hide it, that the Fishers finally unite to get her out of their home.
23. Bored to Death, “The New Person” (Episode 1.10)
David: “All she told the police is that he was boring.”
Nate: “What, that’s it? …Sick part is, I understand it. Sometimes I’m boring.”
David: “Me too.”
When a man is killed by his wife because of his incessant, bland talking, David and Nate totally get where the wife is coming from. It’s hard to believe that either David or Nate could be boring enough to warrant Keith or Brenda killing them, and thankfully it never gets to that point, but it’s hilarious to hear how they empathize with the murderer here.
24. On High School, “A Private Life” (Episode 1.12)
Claire: “Everyone is too obsessed with what everyone else thinks about them to think about anyone else!”
After Gabe OD’s following the death of his little brother, Claire tries her best to get him better and to try to give him some sense of normalcy. Upon returning back to school, Gabe worries about how people will react to him, now that they know about his recent hospital visit. As Claire gets ready to leave high school, it becomes obvious that she already has a mindset far beyond her fellow classmates’.
25. Why We Die, “Knock Knock” (Episode 1.13)
Tracy: “Why do people have to die?”
Nate: “To Make life important. None of us know how long we’ve got, which is why we have to make each day matter.”
In the first season of Six Feet Under, the Fishers show that they have a complicated and frustrated relationship to death. When David’s borderline-stalker Tracy’s aunt dies, Fisher & Sons attempt to give Tracy the funeral she desires, which isn’t an easy task. But while the Fishers have had trouble trying to figure out why Nathaniel Sr. had to die, Nate seems to find an easy answer when talking to Tracy, almost as if the entire season has led up to Nate figuring out the significance of death and, therefore, the importance of living.
26. Quotable Quotes, “In the Game” (Episode 2.01)
Nate: “All that lives, lives forever. Only the shell, the perishable passes away. The spirit is without end. Eternal. Deathless.”
It’s not a Fisher family dinner if at least one person at the table isn’t unbelievably high. While coming off ecstasy (also taken accidentally), Nate has a vision of him and his father watching life and death have sex. The scene is understandably weird, but what Nate most remembers is the above quote. Of course, Brenda has to explain to him that this profound statement he thinks he has come up with is actually from the “Bhagavad Gita.”
27. Gender Dynamics, “The Plan” (Episode 2.03)
Claire: “You know, it’s polite for the first person downstairs to make the coffee, even if that person has a penis!”
Nate: “Well you know, it’s also polite for the first person who uses the bathroom to spend less than 45 minutes in there, even if that person has a vulva.”
Ruth: “Oh goodness, everyone’s here.”
David: “With all their genitalia”
Despite the fact that Ruth’s children are all now adults at this point, when they interact with each other in the same household, they tend to fall into their fairly childish patter. Even though they might act immature, as they do in this scene, it also showcases how hilarious the various dynamics (and the writing) on Six Feet Under can be.
28. Hangry Ruth, “The Plan” (Episode 2.03)
Ruth: “You want me to complain? Alright then, fuck this. Fuck you. Fuck all of you and your sniveling self pity, and fuck all your lousy parents. Fuck my lousy parents while we’re at it. Fuck my selfish, bohemian sister and her fucking bliss. Fuck my legless grandmother. Fuck my dead husband and my lousy children with their nasty little secrets. And fuck you Robby, for dragging me to this terrible place and not letting me have a Snickers bar. I’m going to get something to eat!”
When Ruth goes to The Plan seminar to help “rebuild her house,” she finally lets all the stress out in a flurry of anger at a room full of complete strangers. While this scene of dialogue might just seem like a funny way to explain the deep-seeded rage that Ruth has, we can also see what weighs heaviest on her mind. Ruth doesn’t start out getting upset about her kids and her dead husband, she starts by railing against her long-dead parents, her grandmother that she had to watch over and her sister that left her, so she could follow her own “bliss.” For Ruth, her current situation isn’t all that is bothering her, it’s also the long-standing issues she has with her past and how these have stunted her present.
29. Ready To Die, “The Plan” (Episode 2.03)
Brenda: “I’ve been prepared to die tomorrow since I was six years old.”
Brenda: “Yeah pretty much.”
Nate: Well, why since you were six?”
Brenda: “Because I read a report of the effect nuclear war would have on the world and it was pretty clear to me at that point that this was definitely going to happen.”
Nate: “When you were six?”
Brenda: “And I wake up every day pretty much surprised that, um…everything is still here.”
Nate: “Well I don’t understand how you can live like that.”
Brenda: “Well I thought we all did.”
The second season of Six Feet Under is especially difficult for Brenda, as she is struggling with problems surrounding sex, drugs and maybe most importantly, loving someone other than herself. The self-destructive patterns are what Brenda has often fallen back on, even as far back as a young child. While the Fishers grew up in a house of faith, Brenda did not and we see that when Brenda explains how her viewpoint on life has been negative for as long as she can remember. She has never known anything other than waiting for death, something that Nate can still relate to, even though he can’t understand the hopelessness in the way Brenda sees the world.
30. The Stutter, “Driving Mr. Mossback” (Episode 2.04)
Nate: “Yeah, I’ll have a double dub – uh – uh – a – a Chubby – a double Chubby – a Chubby Chubby – a double double – a double chubby – a chubby chubby – a chub – I’ll have a doub – I’ll have a double Chubby cheeseburger. Oh, fuck me!”
After Nate learns that he has AVM, a brain condition that will eventually lead to his death, he keeps it to himself rather than cause everyone worry about him. On a road trip to his old stomping grounds in Seattle, Nate’s AVM causes him to stutter and throw up when ordering a burger. Not only does this scene force Nate to come clean to Claire about his brain condition, but it also shows how Six Feet Under often came out of nowhere to surprise us with moments that were simply unpredictable.