Apparently, my two roommates and I are the only three people in the world watching this show. How is that possible? Not only is it on right after Grey’s Anatomy (we’re also the only three people in the world who don’t watch GA), but it’s genuinely good. My roommate Chris doesn’t watch anything, and even he likes Six Degrees. How many shows are there where you a.) honestly don’t know where the storyline is heading and b.) actually like all the main characters?
Both are true for me with Six Degrees. The six main characters are Carlos (Jay Hernandez), a cute and romantic public defender; Mae (Erika Christensen), a young runaway who works as a nanny and has a mysterious box; Damien (Dorian Missick), a chauffeur and ex-con trying to turn his life around with limited success; Whitney (Bridget Moynahan), a type-A advertising executive who recently dumped her cheating fiancé; Steven (Campbell Scott), an alcoholic photographer trying to mend fences with his ex-wife and twelve-year-old son; and Laura (Hope Davis), a widowed mother whose husband was a journalist killed in Iraq. None of them are perfect (otherwise, there’d be no show), but they’re all written sympathetically, and the actors, for the most part, do good work.
Some of the characters have already met. So far, Mae is Laura’s nanny, Carlos and Mae started dating after he got some charges dropped for her, Carlos and Damien have become friends, Laura and Whitney met and became friends at a nail salon, Steven has done work for Whitney’s firm, Steven once took pictures of Laura when he saw her crying, Damien once had an offer to make money illegally by tracking down Mae, and Damien drove Whitney to a Halloween party, after which she had a breakdown in his car. Did you follow all that? If not, trust me, it’s easier to keep track of on the show.
I don’t know if the rest of the characters will meet soon, or if they’ll just influence each other’s lives in some indirect way, but that’s kind of the point. Like I said, I don’t know where it’s going. On Thursday’s episode, Steven takes care of his son Max while his wife goes to visit her father for a week. During that week, Steven messes up again and again—Max gets suspended for showing classmates some suggestive pictures that Steven took, Steven breaks Max’s video game system while arguing with him, Steven introduces his girlfriend to Max after his ex-wife told him not to, and Max falls off his skateboard and breaks his arm. Throughout the episode, you just keep imagining that it’s leading to a big blow-up with his ex-wife, but instead, she ends up breaking down because it turns out her father is terminally ill. You’ve kind of forgotten about her father at that point, so it’s a surprise ending and leads to the news that Steven will have to take care of Max again.
On the same episode, Laura, who was recently hired as the assistant to the obnoxious assistant of an interior designer, finds out that she’s getting promoted, but the obnoxious assistant will either have to be fired or work for her. He ends up staying, but the biggest surprise is at the end, when the (female) interior designer kisses Laura—an ending I absolutely did not see coming.
Another thing I like about Six Degrees is that it doesn’t drag out storylines longer than necessary. I thought we’d never find out Mae’s backstory, but they told us almost everything about her in the fifth episode– she was in an abusive relationship with a guy whose family was involved in a multi-state drug trade, and ever since Mae’s brother Erik killed the guy in self defense, the two of them have been on the run. (We still don’t know what’s in Mae’s box, though!) Similarly, the plotline about Whitney’s cheating fiance, Roy, is the kind of thing that could have gone on forever, but instead they wrapped it up in the fourth episode- and in a very unexpected way. While the audience knew from the pilot episode that he was cheating on her, Whitney only suspected and tended to believe all the lies he told her. Then Roy became a victim of “The Puncher,” a guy who was assaulting men on the streets, seemingly randomly, and when it hit the papers that “The Puncher” was attacking all the men his wife had slept with, Whitney found out for sure, in the worst way possible, that Roy was cheating on her. (That episode, by the way, ended with a great little detail– vendors in Central Park selling “Free the Puncher” T-shirts. You know that’s exactly what would happen in real life.)
So please, watch this show! I’m really enjoying it and don’t want it to be cancelled.