Six Feet Under

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 03, 2001 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
322 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Nathaniel Fisher

Meet the Fisher family.

After the patriarch of the family, dies in a hearse-accident, the family comes together to mourn and decide the fate of the family Funeral Home. Nate, who works for an organic grocery store in Seattle, has to deal with more than just the death of his father. His mother, Ruth, is taking the death especially hard because she had been having an affair with her hairdresser, Hiram. David, the closeted homosexual who has helped with the business, has a difficult transition running things. Claire, the youngest of the clan, is a teenager in high-school trying to get comfortable in her own skin. On top of everything the family is already going through, they have a corporate funeral company hounding them to sell out.moreless

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  • Not bad

    Despite all the hype I've heard about this show the pilot didn't blow me away. It was good, establishing the characters, the tone of the family, etc. but nothing stood out to me too much. I got a feel for all of the characters' personalities which I guess what is most important. Hoping it will pick up and amaze me as much as the last show I watched did!
  • A fantastic opening to a new series. Funny, dramatic and raw.

    When I first saw this episode, I was suprised by how great it was. It was a fantastic mixture of humour and drama - and each Fishers' different reaction to Nathaniel's death was brilliantly handled by all characters.

    The acting was some of the best I have ever seen on TV. I love how the episode didn't make you comfortable, but you actually felt like you were there. I found the mother Fisher, Ruth, freakishly weird. It was amusing and disturbing at the same time. A character that particularly got under my skin, and still does 6 episodes later, was David. Something about him irritates me. I'm still a little undecided about Nate. But my favourite character would probably have to be Claire. I thought she was hilarious, and I can probably relate to her the most out of all of them, being a teenager and the youngest in my family.

    Anyway, a fantastic show opener. Well worth checking out if you are into dark comedys. =)moreless
  • The pilot episode

    When you think of a list of the most dysfunctional families in the history of television and cinema, Alan Ball has made sure that we will not forget the Fisher family. I just got done writing some reviews for Arrested Development, and while these two shows are completely different from each other, they are both shows that establish the traits and quirks of their characters very well in the first episode. By the end of the first hour of "Six Feet Under," I feel like every member of the Fisher family has a well-explored background, one that leaves plenty of room for growing. Even the father who dies in the opening minutes has plenty of scenes!

    Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. The show itself seems to focus on the Fisher family, a family that owns and runs a funeral parlor. The story begins when the father, in the opening scene shortly after he buys a new hearse for the company, is rund own by a bus and killed. Him and his wife (the two characters are played by Richard Jenkins and Frances Conroy respectively) have three kids: Nate (Peter Krause, isolated from the family), David (Michael C. Hall in his first big pre-Dexter role) and Claire (Lauren Ambrose). The pilot episode is all about the family preparing to say goodbye to their father/husband and learn how to move on.

    Death circles the entire episode and the show itself, and Alan Ball does a great job of tying it into the writing. And I have to say, Alan Ball does a good job here in creating a voice for each character. It's nice when you can watch a show and have the character's interactions with each other seem fresh and familiar, even if we've never seen them to talk with each other before. And the acting? Superb. Every actor does a great job here, and despite me not being well-versed in the show, I can already tell we're going to get some great scenes from these actors. I mean, whether it's Peter Krause freaking out at his father's funeral, Michael C. Hall trying to hide from everyone that he's gay Frances Conroy's Ruth admitting her infidelities or Claire Fisher freaking out in a grocery store, it seems like each and every one of these characters is well-written, as if Alan Ball knows exactly where he wants these people to go from Point A to Point B.

    Much like "American Beauty," the pilot episode does a great job of luring us into a difficult situation and using dark humor, good writing and good acting to keep us lured in.moreless
  • Pilot episode.

    A superb start to the HBO series, "Six Feet Under." This was one of the best pilots I have ever seen. We got a great feel from all the characters and we got to delve in to the lives of the unusual Fischer family who run a mortuary business.

    We've got some great acting, intriguing characters, and a hell of a premise. Not to mention the brilliant writing. An unusual premise with promise. HBO and other premium channels like Showtime never fail to impress viewers with intriguing and original shows like "Big Love", "United States of Tara", and critically acclaimed: "The Wire"

    This show is no different with this amazing pilot. A lot of dark humor here, which I found myself laughing through, all throughout the episode. A great balance of comedy & drama, as how we can have a mental breakdown from a character, to some funny remark or reference.

    The characters, all of them, I instantly fell in love with, brilliant acting from Michael C. Hall & Lauren Ambrose, it's not a shocker that these actors and this show in general got so many awards. Will tune in for the next episode, we've got something really good here.moreless
  • Pilot

    Every show needs to have a strong pilot episode and Six Feet Under certainly had that when this show debuted for the very first time on H B O. The entire episode was just filled with so much grief and hardship and thats something that reall set Six Feet Under apart from the rest of the shows on Tv. The death of Nate Fisher sends the Fisher family into emotional shock. The oldest son, Nate Jr comes home from seattle to a greiving family whos father has just passed away. The scene at the graveyard is one of the most memorable scences in the entire series. The only thing I could possibly say bad about the episode is that Ruths crying was a little too much to handle at times. It was okay some of the times, but at times it seemed very fake to me. I likes the character introduction and hope they are expanded on in future episode (which I know they will be). The only other thing about the episode was the random commercial style things, but that technique was just a fun thing used for the pilot episode.moreless
Sharon Madden

Sharon Madden

Woman Mourner

Guest Star

Hayden Tank

Hayden Tank

Young Nate

Guest Star

Maximillian Orion Kesmodel

Maximillian Orion Kesmodel

Young David

Guest Star

Richard Jenkins (I)

Richard Jenkins (I)

Nathaniel Fisher

Recurring Role

Eric Balfour

Eric Balfour

Claire's Meth Date

Recurring Role

Garrison Hershberger

Garrison Hershberger

Matthew Gilardi

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (12)

    • David : You want to be the Alpha dog Nate, is that it? Coasting towards midlife with nothing to show for it now you want to come back and be the rock for this family to lean on? Fuck you!
      Nate : That is not why I came…
      David : You want to get your hands dirty? You sanctimonious prick. Talk to me when you've had to stuff formaldehyde soaked cotton up your father's ass so he doesn't leak.
      Nate : Jesus!
      David : Yeah, well I'm sure you just would have tossed him out with the garbage. It may seem weird to you but there is a reason behind everything that we do here. We provide people with a very important and sacred service at the darkest time in there lives because maybe they don't want to make a spectacle of themselves. Because maybe they prefer to grieve in private.
      Nate : Why? Why does it have to be such a secret? It's nothing to be ashamed of, Dave, please.
      David : Nate, you know nothing! Nothing! You had a responsibility to this family and you ran away from it and you left it all for me.
      Nate : Whoa, don't blame me if your not living the life you want, that is nobody's fault but your own.
      David : Okay. Fine. Just do me a favour, okay? You got out. Stay out.

    • David: (whispers) Nate. Nate: No! I refuse to sanitize this anymore. David: This is how it's done. Nate: Yeah? Well, it's whacked. What is this stupid saltshaker? Huh? What is this hermetically sealed box? ThisphonyAstroTurfaround the grave? Jesus, David, it's like surgery. Clean, antiseptic, business. He was our father! David:Please don't do this. Nate: You can pump him full of chemicals. You can put make-up on him, and you can prop him up for a nap in the slumber room, but the fact remains David, that the only father we're ever going to have is gone. Forever. And that sucks, but it's a Goddamned part of life, and you can't really accept it without getting your hands dirty. Well, I do accept it, and I intend to honour the old bastard by letting the whole world see just how fucked up and shitty I feel that he's dead. (throws the earth onto the casket) God damn it! Father Jack: Amen.

    • David : I know. What did I do with my life? I went to school to learn exactly how to do this stuff. While other kids my age were going to frat parties, I was draining corpses and refashioning severed ears out of wax.

    • Claire : Jesus. Pull your dicks out and measure them, and let's get this over with!
      Nate : What were we supposed to do? Throw Dad in the back of Claire's car?
      David : It is a hearse!

    • Brenda (To Nate): Well here's my number if you ever want to, you know, go out on a real date. You know where you buy me dinner before I put out.

    • Brenda: So, how's it going?
      Nate: Oh, it's great... great. My father's dead, my mom's a whore, my brother wants to kill me, and my sister's smoking crack. I think I win.

    • Claire: I have to tell somebody. I am tweaking.
      Nate: Yeah, we're all upset.
      Claire: No. I'm high on crystal. I smoked some with some friends before David called me.
      Nate: You did what?
      Claire: Don't worry. It's the first time, but I think I'm having some kind of a meltdown and I can't tell if it's Dad being dead or the crystal but...I'm really scared.
      Nate: You cannot do this to me right now.
      Claire: Don't be such a narc. We smoked pot at Thanksgiving.
      Nate:Look, I have to go identify our dead father's body. Now, I'm sorry you're having a bad drug experience, but deal with it.

    • Man: You've done a nice job. She looks peaceful
      David: Well, she is at peace now
      Man: If there's any justice in the universe, she's shoveling shit in Hell!

    • Nate: You can't really accept it without getting your hands dirty.

    • Nate: I don't know if I can handle this.
      Brenda: Well, you're about to find out.

    • Brenda: I could give you a ride.
      Nate: That's alright. I'm sure he'll be here soon enough.
      Brenda: I wasn't talking about that kind of ride.

    • (After hearing screaming and pots clattering, David rushes into the kitchen.)
      David Fisher: What the hell...?
      Ruth Fisher: There's been an accident. The new hearse is totaled. Your father is dead. Your father is dead and my pot roast is ruined.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Alan Ball won an Emmy for his work in this episode in the category of Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

    • The episode was nominated for 4 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Series, Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series, Outstanding Makeup for a Series (Non-Prosthetic) and Outstanding Single Camera Sound Mixing for a Series.

    • Music featured in this episode:
      George Bizet - L'amour Est Un Oiseau,
      Bing Crosby - I'll Be Home for Christmas, Hardknox - Attitude, SPYLAB - Celluloid Hypnotic, Tommaso Giovanni Albinoni - Concerto for Oboe & String in D. Major Allegro e non-presto, Petalpusher - Breaking It Down,
      Peggy Lee - I Love Being Here With You,
      LES GAMMAS - All of Me,
      Ray Davies - Sunset Seranada,
      Day One - Bedroom Dancing,
      The Executives - Moonglow Cha Cha Cha, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Divertimento #1 Andante,
      KC and the Sunshine Band - Shake Your Booty, The Devlins - Waiting

    • - German title: "Fisher und Söhne" (= "Fisher and Sons");
      - Italian title: "Fisher & figli" (= "Fisher and Sons").

    • This is the first and last appearance of the funeral home related commercials. It was originally going to be a runner, a way to start each act, but it was quickly abandoned.

    • Commercial for a Crown Royal Funeral Coach opens this episode