I was watching TV the other day and I stumbled across this new reality “gem”. It is a show about a funeral home in Dallas and some of their most outrageous themed funerals. Now, we discussed in class some of traditional funeral procedures and their origins and even touched on some more non-traditional ones like making diamonds out of organic material. However, none of them come close to some of the outrageous and unbelievable ceremonies shown in this show.
The premier of TLC’s new show let us sit in on some outrageous ceremonies including an urn-wedding in which the ashes of two people were “married”. The ceremony included a cake with molded chocolate urn toppers. In another proceeding, there was a breakfast themed funeral where guests were dressed as breakfast foods like eggs and bacon and the choir sings a custom breakfast themed hymn.
When I saw this, I thought about what we have learned in class this semester regarding such a sensitive topic and wondered if this show was doing more harm then good. Is it demonstrating how people cope with the death of a loved one or is it making a mockery of tradition and one’s memory? Also, can it’s over the top portrayal of funerals helping us become less death denying? I searched for some comments on the shows first episode and reviews were mixed. Some people seemed to like the show beyond any entertainment value. These viewers felt that the families were comforted and that the individual’s life was truly celebrated by a funeral revolving around what they loved. Others were upset and offended by the crazy funerals. Personally, I feel that making a show of this may be exploiting families in a sad and vulnerable time. However, if they are comforted by these crazy events and find importance in sharing it with others then more power to them.