“Best Funeral Ever”

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. screen-shot-2013-12-02-at-10-15-36-pm

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.

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7 thoughts on ““Best Funeral Ever”

  1. I feel like now a day, TLC will put just about anything on TV! I really never thought that they would make a TV show like this due to America being a death denying culture, and because I feel like funerals are so personal. My feelings are a bit mixed. I like how you brought up that maybe it does bring importance to them and maybe some closure. However, I don’t know if I would really want my funeral on a reality show because I do also feel like it’s making a mockery of the loved one. I’ll really have to check this show out!

  2. This is an absolutely absurd theme for a television show but not surprising given our culture’s way of pushing the limits of reality tv. I am sure it is quite entertaining but it is making a mockery of death. Of course in our death denying society maybe that is our way of dealing with an ending of a life. I have mixed feelings of it doing more harm than good. There is such a lack of education in regards to death I feel like that show is only perpetuating that same motion. I will be on the look out for that on TLC though, thank you for sharing!

  3. Haha wow what a crazy show! You were right to wonder whether this show is doing more harm than good; it’s truly a toss-up. We talked about the funeral business in class and how many flaws have come with time; in this case, it shows how much of a mockery and strange business it’s become! It’s cool that someone really liked breakfast in their lifetime but a funeral based on dressing like bacon? I think you hit the nail on the head in that while it’s a strange exploitation, it may be the final event the family needs in order to find closure.

  4. Although you may think that these funerals are exploiting families, I feel that it is rather unique and an enjoyable experience. As we learned in class, funerals are a way of mourning by the culture of Americans. Many other countries have different types of funerals and celebrate death in different ways. We learned that people celebrate death by wearing white instead of black and cremating instead of burials. Personally, going to a funeral can be uncomfortable and awkward. A room full of people crying over a dead body that has been dressed and “looked normal” by a mortician is not very normal to me. The after death wedding does sound a little odd, but instead of mourning over the death of the couple, you may revisit the memories of their companionship and love for one another. For example, In the movie P.S I love you, they celebrate the husband’s death by having his cremated self at bar for them to celebrate and reminisce on the memories they had together. Even though every funeral may sound bizarre, I would rather have a funeral that is enjoyable than being in the act of mourning.

  5. This is by far the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen. For TLC to even begin to think that this would be a good idea is beyond me. Especially from this class, we have learned that death is something that people are not in any way comfortable with discussing let alone making fun of death. This is by no means appropriate especially to the families that morn this way that choose to not have their lives publicized. But I do agree with you that this might help break the barrier of our death denying society. I don’t know really much help that will be though with our society since our being afraid of death entitles us to work harder as “we only have one lifetime”.

    • I’m glad that you’ve taken a definitive stance on this as I am still on the fence. I think that the biggest problem I have with the show is its purpose. A show about funerals and honoring the passions of deceased loved ones has the potential to change minds regarding death and its denial. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is the overall goal here. I think that many people are tuning in and making fun of what is happening and the prodcution is portraying these ceremonies in a certain way to encourage this. Yes, these funerals are outrageous but they have a purpose, to honor the deceased, and they are marked by the celebration of a life rather than the mourning of a death. That is the point and I think that TLC and the viewers are missing it.

  6. This sounds like such an intriguing show that TLC has to offer! These shows seem as if they would ridicule the ceremony of death and the families involved with the funerals, but I am sure the T.V. producers have gained consent from the families to film the event. I think this show would lessen the anxiety people have towards death. As a result, this media exposure would put the death and dying process into a good light — that death is a normal process and one should not fear its presence or arrival. Showing others that death doesn’t have to be so dark, morbid, and gloomy could bring people’s eyes to a new perspective.

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