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November 08, 2013 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-08

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6A - Friday, November 8, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com ,*I

- Friday, November 8, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom *

New series stares
down 'Death'

Showtime follows
people through
grief, final days
For the Daily
Death is "the elephant in the
room that no. one wants to talk
about," says terminally ill can-
cer patient
Maria. In that A
case, Show-
time's new Time of
series, "Time Death
of Death," is an
hour of staring Fridays at
at the elephant 9p.m.
and maybe even
sitting on top of Showtime
The new
documentary series, which pre-
miered Friday, Nov. 1, follows
several men and women of vary-
ing ages through their last days
of life. If this were drama, it
might be described as poignant
or bone-chilling, but that doesn't
seem to cut it here.
The ability of the dying to talk
about their imminent end is strik-
ing. It offers a remarkably inti-
mate glimpse at mortality, a topic
most consciously avoid. While
such issues might have been
touched upon in a show like "Six
Feet Under," the fact of the mat-
ter is that this is an incomparable
experience for viewers. Nowhere
else is the matter taken so head-
on; the show's first two minutes
features a single shot of a9tcall,
in which an unnamed girl tells
the operator, "I just found my
mother dead." And there we are,
staring the elephant in the face.
Confronting? Yes. Uncom-
fortable? Absolutely. But mor-
bid? Impressively not. In fact,
the show is very careful to avoid
this. Emphasisis placed on the
daily interactions and often the
very ordinary struggles of sub-
jects, like the frustration of a
deficient car engine on the way
to work or the decision of which

Terminal patients celebrate life in 'Time of Death.

sibling washes the dishes on.
Thursdays. These are the ways
in which the audience begins
building connections with those
in the process of dying, just as
they do with the healthy around
them. Of course, it is also what
makes viewing that much more
difficult. "Time of Death" does
not necessarily intend to leave
you in tears, but it probably will.
It is truly a skillful method on
the part of directors to draw
out such a strong emotional
response from the audience.
Above all, the show is hon-
est and lays all bare. The emo-
tions are complicated enough,
interactions speak for them-
selves and any embellishment
is unnecessary. In moments
where the crew is absent, family
members are given hand-held
cameras and the interviews
continue. The audience hears
both sides of the lens. "Tada!"
Maria exclaims, revealing her
post-mastectomy chest to the
camera held by her 24-year-
old daughter. Her self-con-
sciousness is evident when the
moment lingers too long, but
Maria presents an impressive
image of strength. This kind of
footage leaves the show literally
Each person talks about
death in a different way. Their
particular attitude influences
the everyday moments and

routines that "Time of Death"
so carefully observes; in other
words, how they cope with life
in the face of death. Different
difficulties arise for different
people: a father's inability to
express his grief, a daughter's
anger at her mother's denial or
an ex-wife who is able to let go
of 20 years worth of anger.
But what . is ultimately.
revealed is that those dying fear
most not for themselves but for
the others they leave behind.
This unites the subjects of
"Time of Death." The series is.
about relationships as much as
it is about mortality itself.
Part of its importance lies
in the fact that these relation-
ships and their accompanying
battles are not limited to the
literal time of death at all. We
deal with them every day, and
seeing the way that people face
and overcome them, even in try-
ing circumstances, should be a
powerful inspiration..
Obviously, for University
students with their lives ahead
of them, this may seem like an
unappealing way to fill your
Friday night. That being said,
the aversion is universal. No
one wants to face these issues
and fears, especially in such a
gritty way. Following the whole
season may be unrealistic, but
committing yourself to the hour
is well worth it.

"Wow, what a diverse and respectful representation of women!!"
to hit excitement phase


By CHLOE GILKE tune in to the first episode and
Daily Arts Writer nothing more.
I suspect many viewers still
Showtime's "Masters of share my mistake. Whether you
Sex" is critically acclaimed, chalk it up to the unrelatable
but it still seems to be missing '50s setting or just the simple,
a steady fanbase. I blame this fact that the word "sex" is
tragedy partly on the ridicu- actually in the title, there's no
lous promos that circulated doubt that "Masters" initially
this past summer: One high- appears*off-putting. The show
lighted a certain glass appara- practically dares its viewers
tus called "Ulysses" that Lizzy to skip tuning in, perhaps on
Caplan displayed for a very the assumption that they are
confused Beau Bridges. "Mas- not mature enough to handle
ters" looked pretty weird tone- the awkward material the
wise, and I wasn't sure whether show deals with. But though
I was supposed to laugh or take the show airs on cable (where
it serious- some nudity is allowed), that
ly. I knew First seen on shouldn't be the reason to scare
I would you away.
probably -the filter People who aren't tuning in

to "Masters" are actually miss-
ing out. The show has grown a
lot since its uneven pilot epi-
sode. Thankfully, the formerly
slow plot has picked up the
pace quite a bit, and there's
more action than anticipation.
Side characters in particular
are becoming'more developed
with each week: Libby Masters
has avoided the typical 'pitfall
of stereotypical whiny wife and
is sympathetic and interesting,
and the addition of Allison Jan-
ney as Provost Scully's "beard"
wife has made the Scully char-
acter much more fun to watch.
I had my doubts about
Michael Sheen (best known
for playing everyone's favorite
crusty, old Volturi vampire in
the "Twilight" series) having
enough star power to carry a
series, but he is delightful as
straightlaced obstetrician/
sex-traordinaire William Mas-
ters. Rather than clinical and
heartless, his performance is
full of intelligence and dedi-
cation. And I'll call it right
now: Sheen will get a deserved

Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com


RELEASE DATE- Friday, November 8, 2013
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS e Library 40 Lakeside 58 Bar order
1 Something to requirement Pennsylvania city 57"The devourer of
pass or lower 7"The wolf _ the 43 Love letters? all things": Ovid
7 Crocus kin door" 44 Ark units 58 Statue of Vishnu,
11 Samosaveggie 8 Get to 45 "As I was e.g.
14 Biblical dancer 9 Sit in traffic, say sayin'..." 59 Oenophile's
15 Iem in a 10 Very, in Vienna 46 They may be criterion
musician's kit 11 Words of tribute straight 60 _ Squalor:
17 Westem, e.g. 12 Golden State 47 4 x 4, briefly Lemony Snicket
18 Kind and caring motto 48 Policy at some character
19 Stadium secion 13 Califomia Zephyr restaurants 63 Composer Rorem
for charity operator 49 Align carefully 64 English cathedral
corkers? 16 "Law &Order: 55 Prefixwith culture city
21 Kats work SVU" rank
23 Steam 20 Bottom line ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
24Cal relative 21 Worctof C G I U S E D T O S C T V
25 Keats'Sylan pssession ARN LAVE1
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26 Really old challenge S E V E N D E A D L Y Z I N S
hardwood? 27 Terse refusal H E A R A F B I M E N
32"Phooey!" 28 Who, in Paris E N D U R E S I N A D A Z E
34 Give a damn? 29Item shortened at W E EP S HOT S A L
35Disney's bitly.com T A P A S SPEC K
"Bambi"? 30 Md. hours
41 Paralyze with 31 Cooperative
dense mist, as an group FU DIS K I D D O
airport 33 Cake recipe word A I L D A T A S A P
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familypname 37 Massage W H O O P S L E O N E
44"Merrie beneficiary L I F E I S A C A B E R N E T
Melodies"theme 38Itsatomicnumber
sung? is50 B U
50Oneoftwosingle- 39Commonsorting S A L T S T R A T A L A Y
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51 A, in Acapulco
53 Ranch handle
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61 "That'smy
62 Aondthe bend,
66 Beat badly
67 Letters to the
68 TV component?
69 Quick
1 Chicken general?
2 Boar's Head
3 Like November,
in away
4 Simple tie
5 First name in

1 2 3 4 T-6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 i6
17 18
19 20
21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
32 33 34
35 36 37 38 39 40
41 42 43 j
44 45 46 47 48 49 50
51 52 53
54 55 56 57 58 59' 60
61 62 63 64
65 66
67 68 69
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rcL iiniilc III cic cu , U i
fun to see their relationship
go through its own stages of
Though only six episodes
have aired so far, I know
that "Masters" will continue
the high quality it's already
established in its "excitement
phase." I have full trust in the
show to improve its game and
get even better as the season
progresses. The series may
be called "Masters of Sex,"
but it's so much more than
just boobies and glass dil-
dos. It balances intelligence
with plain old entertainment,
romantic tension with medical
cases and mature content with
heartfelt story.
- A version of this article
originally appeared on the Daily
Arts blog, The Filter, on Nov. 5.

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