Let It Go: Grief And A New Normal In 'Six Feet Under'

Let It Go: Grief And A New Normal In 'Six Feet Under'

No, things will not be normal for a while and will be chaotic. But that doesn't mean we can't forge a new normal - and maybe, for this scene, that's the point. That's how we let it go.

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Nathaniel: "You hang on to your pain like it means something. Like it's worth something. Well, let me tell you - it's not worth shit. Let it go! Infinite possibilities, and all he can do is whine."

David : "Well, what am I supposed to do?"

Nathaniel: " What do you think? You can do anything, you lucky bastard - you're alive! What's a little pain compared to that?"

David: "It can't be that simple."

Nathaniel: "What if it is?"

The above interaction is from "Six Feet Under," a show about the grief of a family that owns a funeral parlor. A dark comedy series, the show features hallucinations and flashbacks of the dead father of the family, Nathaniel. David is getting over an experience getting violently beaten and almost murdered by a stranger he picked up on the street, and he is grieving and unable to go on with life and his job for a very long time.

In the scene, he imagines the interaction with his father after meeting with his assaulter, after still feeling dissatisfied despite the interaction and reckoning. After the hallucination, he does get over his trauma, and that means we have to ask ourselves: can it be that simple? Should we be grateful that we are still alive?

For the vast majority of my life, my answer would have been a no. Moving on is complicated, and not very simple. Life is supposed to be brutish, and messy. But what if life is actually that simple, I ask?

But maybe I'm asking the wrong questions. Obviously, the philosophy is much easier said than done. The show goes on for another season, and it's pretty clear that scars from the incident still follow him.

"Let it go" in this scene does not actually mean to let it go. I have been grieving, too, of late, and the part of the powerful scene that strikes out to me now is Nathaniel's notion about infinite possibilities being out there. David is alive, and people who are alive can do anything. I remind myself sometimes, faced with new experiences that break the routine of sad monotony, that there is a whole world out there. It's not a new world, but just one that tells me that what I do now, at this moment, is not all there is to life.

The emphasis is perhaps what the point is. A story simply about my pain or yours gets repetitive, reductive, and at times, boring. A story is the combination of plot and narrative. There needs to be some conflict in plot, and simply people suffering and being in pain is narrative with no conflict. Do I have temptation, sometimes, to just stay in my room all day, cower to shame, and not allow life to go on? Yes, I do, much like David does in much season 4 of "Six Feet Under."

"Let that shit go" is perhaps more of a plea from the image of Nathaniel to David to not let the pain of re-living of trauma consume him, but instead a plea to venture out bravely with it, much like he did in confronting his assaulter. It is a plea to stop running away, because what is a little pain compared to being alive? David has been living as if he was dead, yet the confrontation of the assaulter was the first time he allowed himself to be alive.

Maybe the fact that we can live with our pain and go on, and no, things will not be normal for a while and will be chaotic. But that doesn't mean we can't forge a new normal - and maybe, for this scene, that's the point. That's how we let it go.

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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