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October 9, 2015

Six Feet Under: Time Flies

by Russell Shaw, posted Jun 28th 2005 12:21PM
Nate FisherOn the website Jump The Shark, you can vote for the scene or episode in which a once-quality show turned ridiculous - and never recovered. (The term "jump the shark," incidentally, got its name from an inane Happy Days episode in which Fonzie hit the water and did exactly what the phrase entails.)

I now state for the record that - barring improvement, Time Flies is a way serious candidate for Six Feet Under's "Jump The Shark" episode. The repeated scenes of Nate, acting morose on his 40th birthday, is insufferable enough. Yet when a bird flies into the Fisher house during Nate's birthday party, and Nate inexplicably takes out his rage by terrorizing and then, apparently, killing the unfortunate creature - that's a Jump The Shark moment.

The title of this episode implies some sort of metaphoric relationship between a bird who is stuck in a house doesn't seem to want to fly away - and Nate's trapped circumstances. A trapped bird, a trapped husband.. get it? College sophomores get "C's" for short stories with plots that transparent. How such a device got a whole episode wrapped around it is beyond me.

That said, Nate's bird-bashing behavior defies conventional analysis. Brenda is, after all, pregnant again. For some reason Nate is not jumping for joy. In fact, considering how well Brenda seems to be accepting of his child (Maya), the fact that Nate is less than pumped about Brenda being pregnant with their child, shows what a self-absorbed, inconsiderate jerk Nate can be.

Time Flies has only two redeeming scenes.

Nate and George's daughter Maggie -who bonded over accounts of shared tragedy in the previous episode Hold My Hand, find themselves alone at Nate's party, downing shots of tequila and obviously feeling chemistry. George and Billy - two mentally tortured souls who have been over the edge and back, share a beer and tales of their medications. Both find their meds confining.

As we all expected, Billy has indeed gone off his meds. But for Billy, the return of passionate attitude is not something that can be mediated. He's one of those people who lacks the skill to edit himself.

Billy's now one ragin' maniac. This upsets Claire to the point so much that after he leaves Nate's party and stomps home, Claire gets high and apparently sleeps with one of Nate's friends. Claire comes home the next day to an enraged Billy who wants to be with her at that very moment. Claire is anything but willing. Can't wait to see how that turns out.

As Six Feet Under races toward a series conclusion, one hopes that this dreadful episode was a blip, not a ruinous "jump the shark" milepost. I know the bird is dead, but hopefully the creativity is not. The writers can do better. Here's hoping they will.

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The bird to me seems a representation of Lisa, his former wife. That's just me of course. But then again, I'm not a "C" college student, either. Seems like I can't say the same about some people.

June 29 2005 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

have you been looking forward to using the term "jump the shark" for a long time now? it's got to be the most overused phrase these days...you might have disliked the episode and clearly you don't seem to understand the symbolism of the scene (that in many folk traditions, the dead often take the form of birds, that a bird flying into a house is often thought of an omen of a death in a family, the fact that Nate previously thought lisa had taken the form of an animale). the series is far from ridiculous.

June 29 2005 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I assumed the bird was a representation of his previously murdered wife. If you noticed, the bird showed up on the first episode this season on the wedding cake. It can obviously be interpreted in many ways, but the "trapped" jump-the-shark reason is stupid, and a mindless one at that. If you couldn't look at it from another perspective, then maybe it's YOUR reasoning that was worth the college sophomore C.

June 29 2005 at 9:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This has nothing to do with a bird being trapped in the house vs. a man being trapped in his relationship...this is about the Blue Bird of happines entering your life and Nate beating it's little head in...he doesn't know how to be happy. It was a Blue Bird, not just any bird, and haven't you heard that saying about the Blue Bird of happiness?? Jeez, how could you get such a simple commentary so wrong. This was one of the best episodes in the series.

June 29 2005 at 8:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

While the trapped bird incident seemed a bit contrived, I'm hoping it's all part of bigger plot twist. Nate has displayed this same level of hostility against a snake in a previous season. I'm not going to give up on the writers just yet.

June 29 2005 at 4:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No the Jump The Shark episode came early for this show it happened when someone brought a dead persons foot to Claire's school since then every episode is a mini homage to torture. This show drags and the family's insanity is scattered. It doesn't take normal leaps it is like the writers just want to gain some protest against the show. Making the 2 kids say orgy and killing a bird and having everyone do drugs at least once.

June 28 2005 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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