This is the story about the only time I have literally "rage-quit" a show over a single episode. Looking at the dates, I'm surprised this happened so long ago, specifically on July 18, 2004.
Six Feet Under wasn't necessarily a super-Zeitgeist show. I don't think it was ever the show EVERYONE was talking about, but it was the one that a lot of people recommended and it sounded interesting and quirky. So we did the first season on Netflix. All I really remember, because I'm done my best to block it ALL out is that my "crush" character was Nate, of course, and how funny it was to see Matthew St. Patrick as a gay cop, when he'd been playing a cop who was stuck being the jerk ONLY because he was actually trying to stop the gangsters on GH and by that time on GH, the gangsters were the "heroes."
And oh yeah, David. I loved David. The scene where he's doing the vacuuming and it goes into the musical fantasy number clinched it for me.
I do remember that general sense of dread, even when things were funny/quirky, something bad was always going to happen. (What is it about those HBO shows that ALWAYS ends up that way?) This was before I watched the Sopranos, but same kind of thing. Especially the introduction of Brenda's brother and their creepycreepy backstory. But it was interesting/funny enough that we got through the first two seasons on disk and might have had the first disk of the third season in the apartment when IT happened.
It was the night that I was in Santa Cruz for the Wharf to Wharf run. As always we were staying at the grossly over-priced Travel-lodge. We did some kayaking that Saturday if I recall correctly, and came back to the hotel to get some sleep, normally to the sound of this awesome channel they always show at the hotels in Santa Cruz, which is basically nothing but surfing videos. I love surfing videos.
Instead of surfing videos, Hubby happened upon HBO, and the beginning of Six Feet Under. I didn't want to watch, because it was a new episode of Season 4 and we still had Season 3 on disk waiting at home. I wasn't quite as OCD about watching TV in order as I've since become, but I really didn't want to watch this episode. Hubby went with "there's nothing else on," and he was basically only there in Santa Cruz so I could do this run and he could meet me in Capitola afterwards and take me home.
So we watched. We watched all of Season 4, Episode 5, That's My Dog.
I'm not a big fan of trigger warnings. Sometimes I'm less than sympathetic to claims of being triggered. My feeling is we're big boys and girls and the world isn't always going to cater to our personal issues.
That being said, every single second of the plot-line with David and the car-jacker was a full-blown, screaming, anxiety attack, crying trigger for me. The forced drug-taking and undertone of sexual violence and manipulation had me totally freaking out. I can honestly say I have never been so upset by something I saw on television INCLUDING the last episode of Twin Peaks.
I don't KNOW if it would have been any better if I'd seen the episode in its correct order and immediately been able to see the next episode, or if it was always going to be exactly that horrible. Let's just say Hubby soon figured out he had made a terrible mistake.
When we got home, I put the Netflix disk back in its envelope, sent it out and never watched another episode. I don't know what happened in the finale. I don't care. I try not to think about this too much because I can still feel the terror that I had empathizing with David in that episode.
The feeling is so strong that even though people tell me how great Dexter is, I haven't been able to watch it and I think part of the reason is NOT wanting to be in a situation where I'm caring about Michael C. Hall and have to be afraid of bad things happening to him. (Yes, I know on Dexter, he's mostly the one doing bad things, but just looking at him might be disturbing.)
Strangely enough I was able to go and watch all of Sports Night with no problems, but I never cared about Nate the way I cared about David and I've never been as pissed off at a show for hurting someone I cared about.