Directed by Alan Ball
Written by Alan Ball
Los Angeles, Christmas Eve, Nathaniel Fisher, owner of the Fisher and Sons Funeral Home, is killed when a municipal bus broadsides his new hearse. The tragedy casts a pall on the holiday homecoming of son Nate (who works for an organic food co-op in Seattle), as he must not only deal with the death of a father, but the fragile egos of mother Ruth (who has been having a secret affair with her hairdresser, Hiram), brother David (a closet homosexual seeing a black policeman named Keith), and a sister Claire (a rebellious high-schooler who receives the bad news after dropping crystal meth with new boyfriend Gabe). The only good thing to happen to Nate is Brenda, a passionate women he met on the plane, just before learning of his father's death. At home, David eschews the talents of his young mortician, Fredrico, to personally undo the damage of his dad's accident. The ensuing funeral leaves the family's deepest emotions exposed, and calls into question some of our more absurd rites of passage. At the gravesite, David is not amused by the advances of Matthew Gilardi of Kroehner Service Corporation, a funeral- home conglomerate looking to buy out the Fishers business. As for senior Nathaniel, he may have been laid to rest- but has plenty left to reveal to his family.