‘Six Feet Under’ Revisited: Remembering David & Keith’s Groundbreaking Relationship

by Stacy Lambe 5:55 AM PDT, June 25, 2015
Playing ‘Six Feet Under’ Revisited: Remembering David & Keith’s Groundbreaking Relationship

Despite its ups and downs, the relationship between David Fisher (Michael C. Hall) and Keith Charles (Matthew St. Patrick) became one of the touchstones of HBO’s powerful drama, Six Feet Under.

Created by Alan Ball (American Beauty, True Blood), Six Feet Under explored the lives of the Fisher family as they dealt with the loss of their patriarch. Over the course of five seasons, David went from a third-generation funeral director conflicted by his sexuality to a openly gay, loving father free of the burden of living up to his father. David’s character wasn’t alone in his journey, often relying on Keith -- an openly gay, black police offer -- to help him find acceptance and strength to take over the family business.

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Between the two, David and Keith helped break down stereotypes about homosexuality and race, offering a realistic portrayal of two men in love. While it wasn’t always pretty, the couple broke down barriers and became one of the first gay families represented on TV.

Photo: HBO

“I didn’t want to continue the perpetuation of gay characters that we’ve seen on television and in film,” St. Patrick says in ETonline’s exclusive look back at their relationship. The interview reflects a time -- from 2001 to 2005 -- when diverse and layered gay characters existed on TV like they do today.

“I know about stereotypes. I’m a black man and I live that life everyday. I just think -- it wasn’t something I wanted to participate in,” St. Patrick adds.

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In the years since the show went off the air, TV has seen an explosion of gay characters -- from family-oriented shows (ABC Family’s The Fosters) and delicious soaps (Fox’s Empire) to love-lost tales (HBO’s Looking) and the Shonda Rhimes-produced ABC dramas (Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, and Scandal).

The video from HBO is the final chapter in the network’s celebration of Pride. Over the course of the month, it has recognized the fearless storytelling of Dee Rees, writer and director of Bessie, the strength of activists Janet Mock and Larry Kramer, and the determination of the plaintiffs in The Case Against 8. 

Six Feet Under can be watched in full on HBO Now. Plus, ETonline has the best picks for what to stream in June and July.