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Have You Ever Watched Ask the Undertaker?

Bradford Pearson interviewed John Beckwith Jr. earlier this year in advance of the debut of TLC’s Best Funeral Ever, a reality show centered on the “home-going celebrations” Beckwith and his family put on at their Golden Gate Funeral Home. (It’s not online, sorry.) At the time, it was a one-shot deal, but I suppose it must have been successful, because it debuted as a series on Monday. I don’t have TLC, so I didn’t watch it. I guess the recently returned James Ragland did, because his column today is devoted to it. I do have whatever local channel airs Beckwith’s other series, though: Ask the Undertaker.

I happened on a commercial for it the other night and, as I regularly sleep on my couch and have pretty mundane dreams that usually involve either work or me being put into some sort of Die Hard scenario or both, I felt like I was dreaming it. But, no. It’s real, tackling topics such as “What would happen if you died today?” and “Do you deserve to have a funeral?” and “The art of embalming.” I guess I try to never think about dying or anyone I know dying or anything relating to death, except maybe the band Death, but I don’t really think about them very much either. But maybe you do? I don’t really know who this appeals to. I mean, on a regular enough basis to warrant a show. I sort of get the voyeuristic, let’s-make-a-reality-show-about-everything appeal of Best Funeral Ever. I don’t agree, but I get it.