On Christmas Eve, 2000, funeral-director Nathaniel Samuel Fisher is involved in a hearse-accident with a bus and is killed. Ruth Fisher has a hard time coping, so can't bring herself to identify her husband's body at the morgue. David, the secretly gay younger son who remained at home to help with the family business, feels nothing but dismay at the prospect of now continuing his hated job for good, and focuses on keeping everything in order for the newest funeral. Claire Fisher gets the news just after smoking crystal at a party, and is forced to hide it. Nate Fisher returns home just in time to learn of the death after making out with fellow plane passenger Brenda Chenowith in an airport supply closet, and is forced to keep Claire's secret, console Ruth when she confesses she'd been cheating on Nathaniel, and take abuse from David for conversing with embalmer Federico Diaz, not helping him or forcing the others to swallow their grief, and insisting that David unleash his own. Then, ...Written by
Eric Balfour was only supposed to be introduced as "Claire's Meth Date" for the show's pilot, but the director found his chemistry so satisfying with Lauren Ambrose that his role was developed into the character Gabe Dimas. Similarly, Dina Spybey-Waters's and Gary Hershberger's roles were only listed as "Chatty Mourner" and "Kroehner Representative (though the latter was already identified by the name Matthew Gilardi in the episode). See more »
The hearse in the opening credits has a Washington state license plate. See more »
[voiceover, as camera tracks slowly over a handsome reclining body]
For a body that's firm, yet flexible. For skin that begs to be touched. For the velvety appearance of actual living tissue. Top morticians rely on Living Splendor embalming fluid. Living Splendor. Only real life is better.
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This episode, the first one of the series, is simply great. I began watching it a few days ago, and I think this is one of the greatest things there have been in television. The pilot episode doesn't get boring at any time, and keeps you awaiting for what happens in the next scene.
The characters are probably among the best I have seen in a television program. It reminds you of the film "American Beauty", also written by Alan Ball. The freak mother, with their sons: the runaway, the repressed one, the teenage girl. The initial situation (the death of the father), unleashes one situation after the other, told in an excellent way, and the inclusions of phony ads makes way for the laughs, although there are several moments that will make you laugh. The performances can't get better, neither the script.
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