WARNING: THIS ITEM CONTAINS SPOILERS — SORT OF.
How do you promote a TV series without giving away the big surprise that its main character is about to cheat on his wife, then promptly kick the bucket? In the case of HBO’s Six Feet Under, very, very carefully. When the network sent out synopses of the series’ July episodes to TV reporters, the description of the scene in which Nate and Maggie skip church read, in part, ”Nate seeks peace through Maggie’s faith.” Um, yeah, sure — if by "seeks peace," you mean "sleeps with" and by "faith" you mean "hooker panties."
In a later press release, HBO kept its cards hidden by including ambiguously worded descriptions of Nate’s appearances in each of Six Feet Under‘s remaining episodes. Although now that we know his character didn’t survive that cerebral hemorrhage, it’s clear that when HBO says that ”Nate urges Brenda to embrace a taboo” on Aug. 14, he’ll be doing it from beyond the grave.
This, of course, raises the question of whether or not any of the other members of the Fisher clan will die before the season finale. Could Keith’s ”embarrassing self-discovery on the job” on Aug. 7 be testicular cancer? When ”Billy attends to his sister ” on Aug. 14, will he use a butcher’s knife? As ”Claire drives into her future” on Aug. 21, could she be headed for a brick wall at 90 miles per hour? Only the sneaky HBO publicity department knows for sure.