Things are getting pretty crappy for the Fishers: Ruth accuses Arthur of mailing poo, Nate has a postcoital breakdown, Brenda wants plain sex... Wait, there's more! says Liane Bonin

By Liane Bonin
Updated June 26, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Six Feet Under: John P. Johnson

Things are pretty crappy for the Fishers

How wonderfully apropos that the corpse du jour is a teenage girl who can’t wipe the smile off her face. The Fishers need a little happiness these days, even if it’s in the form of a creepy rictus grin.

That’s a surprise in Nate’s case, given that the beginning of this episode hinted that ”tragically widowed daddy” status is a turn-on comparable to a hot sports car or a really cute dog. Even Claire’s hung-over buddy Anita’s green complexion perked up a little when Nate walked into the Fisher kitchen with Maya clinging monkeylike to his side. But watching Nate melt down wrapped in 400-thread-count sheets as Madeline, the soulless divorcée from his Mommy and Me class, looked on in thinly veiled disgust suggests that any woman would be better off picking the guy with the Porsche over grieving, messed-up Nate. He can burn Lisa’s fuzzy down-filled comforter, but he still isn’t purging her from his increasingly tormented head. Even if he does get himself some fancy-schmancy sheet set to cheer himself up.

At least he can take comfort in knowing that Ruth and George’s lovey-dovey honeymoon is turning to crap — literally. It’s all too obvious that George, who would be annoying to a family even less brittle than the Fishers, has some nasty skeletons in the closet, and I hardly think international oil barons are shooting him Tupperware containers of excrement for kicks. That he would suggest Ruth’s stunted excuse for a love life would stir some jilted lover to ship a decorative tin of poop was a low and shady bit of subterfuge on his part, and the results were tragic.

As much as I hate to see Arthur leave the show, especially as David seemed so intent on working a ”Queer Eye for the Asexual Guy” transformation on him, I hardly blame him for packing his bags (sans pouch) and skipping out on his internship. For Ruth to blithely accuse him of being the fecal mailer, even when she can so clearly recall his innocent nuzzling (which George, of course, haughtily disparaged), only proves the extent of George’s control over her. Ruth has always been too gullible for her own good (remember her new age cult stint?), but I can’t help but feel that she’s selling out more than ugly tchotchkes to make room for this snotty academic. Ruth always finds her spine at some point, though, and I can only hope she does it soon, before there’s nothing left of her to save.

Thank god Claire won’t take any s— from George, even if she is walking past the garbage can on her way out the door. Claire is becoming more of a crank sophomore year, and I do believe it’s a good thing. Edie, whether she knows it or not, has been the spark Claire needed to start burning off the unnecessary garbage in her life (paisley tops, the increasingly annoying man-knitter Russell). Whether that leads to sparks of another kind is ultimately unimportant, but considering how Claire lights up (sometimes in more ways than one) when she sees Edie, girl on girl action seems inevitable.

Rico may conjure up some creative Catholic imagery in his dreams, but someone needs to give this guy a refresher course on the good book. Doing unto others does NOT include spending all your spare time with a stripper who is concocting increasingly elaborate lies to squeeze you for money. Seeing how woefully naive Rico is makes me want to shake him until his teeth rattle like the pills in that Tylenol bottle his lady love is passing off as a rattle. It’s only a matter of time until his secret life is uncovered, and a good hard shake will be the least of his worries.

Really, what alternative universe have we entered when Brenda is not only happy, but demanding plain vanilla, don’t tell the kids, suburban housewife sex? Thankfully, it seems like she’s getting something even better. Although I’d guess Nate was happy to see the good and bad in her just as well as her new beau, the new and improved Brenda doesn’t seem to need the drama her ex always had to offer. Bad news for Nate, who I fully expect to start banging down her door with a pair of good sheets tucked under his arm, but Brenda deserves the breather.

Although I hardly consider ”Six Feet Under” educational programming, I did learn something important watching the show. Who knew that celebrities do not like to share their bathrooms, even with the people they entrust with their personal safety? Personally, if I thought a strapping ex-cop like Keith might take a bullet for me, I’d let him pee anywhere he wants to, but that’s just me. I’m not Celeste, the ”Christina Aguilera sans a–less chaps.” On the bright side, maybe Keith can forward her some of George’s crappy packages if she has any other complaints. It always pays to recycle.

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