As prodigal elder son Nate Fisher returns home for the holidays to news of his father's death, the family must learn to deal with the death of one of their own—while figuring out how to go ahead with the business of living.
Nathaniel Fisher, Sr.
Meet the Fisher family.
After the patriarch of the family, dies in a hearse-accident, the family comes together to mourn and decide the fate of the family Funeral Home. Nate, who works for an organic grocery store in Seattle, has to deal with more than just the death of his father. His mother, Ruth, is taking the death especially hard because she had been having an affair with her hairdresser, Hiram. David, the closeted homosexual who has helped with the business, has a difficult transition running things. Claire, the youngest of the clan, is a teenager in high-school trying to get comfortable in her own skin. On top of everything the family is already going through, they have a corporate funeral company hounding them to sell out.
Chandler James Swanson, Jr.
July 29, 1967 - January 8, 2001
During a get together around a pool, people discuss a franchise pyramid scheme. Chandler Swanson dives into the pool, but he doesn't come back up. He leaves a wife and an infant daughter.
Nathaniel Fisher's will is read and Ruth gets money, stocks and insurance money. Nate & David are both given the funeral business. Claire receives college tuition, but she considers trading it in for cash.
In an effort to help the Widow Swanson, Nate starts learning a few things about the funeral business. First up, caskets cannot be rented. By law, a used casket cannot be re-sold.
Thomas Alfredo Romano
May 16, 1944 - January 21, 2001
The Fishers have decided to sell, but then back out at the last minute because Nate cannot stand Gilardi. Claire finds a rather interesting way to get back at Gabe for spreading rumors about her. Gilardi find his own way of payback. He tells the Fishers that he is buying the rundown house across the street from them in order to provide a cheap alternative to Fisher & Sons. However, mysteriously, the house catches on fire after Nate and Brenda fool around in it.
Manuel Pedro Antonio "Paco" Bolin
February 6, 1980 - February 15, 2001
The Fisher family wonder if Claire might have some part to play in the blaze across the street. Nate has Brenda over for dinner and it does not seem to go as well as expected. Nate is dealing with issues from every side, including a feud between a deceased's family and gang about how to handle his services. But Nate finally gets enough courage to stand up to Gilardi and handle issues with Keith and the clients.
Jean Louise McArthur aka "Vivica St. John"
September 9, 1957 - February 17, 2001
David is trying to fill the void his father left in more than the business. He wants to become deacon at the family church, but Keith is having a problem with it. Ruth has a difficult time with a group of mourners for a porn star. But she and Claire try to have more bonding time and visit their cousins. Nate has dinner with Brenda's parents, psychiatrists Bernard and Margaret, without Brenda. He also meets her brother Billy in an unorthodox manner.
Mildred "Hattie" Effinger Jones
April 16, 1920 - March 21, 2001
Nate continues to learn disturbing things about his father. This time he finds out that sometimes his father would barter for funerals. In one case, he traded a room. While David is pursuing a closer relationship with his church, a divorcee tries to pursue a closer relation with him. Claire meets Brenda's brother Billy and they hit it off extremely well. Ruth is still with Hiram, but is now also being pursued by her husband's florist, Nikolai.
Victor Wayne Kovich, PFC
January 16, 1971 - April 1, 2001
Billy tries to get in the way of Nate and Brenda's relationship. Ruth invites Hiram over for a family dinner, and also takes a florist job in Nikolai's shop. David meets an open-minded associate priest and votes to keep him on for the church. Claire continues to have problems with school and life in general.
Chloe Margaret Bryant Yorkin
January 7, 1959 - April 2001
Riding in a limo, a drunken Chloe is celebrating her new-found freedom with friends. she stands up with her head out the sunroof to scream it to the world... and loses her head, literally.
The business is a bit slow these days, so Nate and David decide to rent out a room at the funeral home to supplement the loss. Frederico is being wooed by Kroehner's and he contemplates doing it for the experience and the money. Claire is hiking in the mountains but doesn't really understand the point of it all.
Anthony Christopher Finelli
April 12, 1995 - April 21, 2001
Claire runs into Gabe again, but not under the best circumstances. His brother died and his mother and he have come to Fisher & Sons for the services. Brenda and Nate visit several different local funeral homes posing as mourning relatives in order to help Nate improve upon his salesmanship.
Jonathan Arthur Hanley
April 24, 1946 - May 4, 2001
Nate and David hire a replacement for Rico -- Angela. She's very good at what she does, but they have a hard time getting used to her willingness to speak her mind. Billy has a rather surprising gallery exhibit of some of his work.
Dillon Michael Cooper
May 4, 2001 - May 23, 2001
The day before Rico is expecting his own new baby, he must deal with handling a 3-week old dead baby.
Nate, David, and Brenda go to Las Vegas for a funeral director's convention. David continues to "date" rather random men, and trying desperately to hide it from his mother and family. Ruth gets bold and actually attempts to ask David about whether or not he is g.... but David rudely interrupts her and says they can talk about it later. Claire is struggling with feelings for Gabe, whether they are guilt or adoration is a bit fuzzy. Ruth signs up for flower arranging classes to improve her skills, only to discover she's conceived as a bit controlling and tight.
Marcus Foster, Jr.
March 5, 1978 - June 5, 2001
Rico and Vanessa finally have their new son. Brenda tries to handle her brother's obsessiveness and suggests he give her back her house key and start back on his medication. Billy does not react too well to this. David's feelings about his secret come closer to the surface due to a hate crime against a gay man, that the funeral home now must deal with. Ruth tries to get her son to bring up the subject, but has a very difficult time. Nate has a freakish encounter with Billy. Claire and Gabe continue their unusual relationship.
Lillian Grace Montrose
October 4, 1936 - June 14, 2001
Tracy Montrose Blair is back but for very different reasons this time. Her Aunt Lillian has passed away and David is the only one that can help her.
While David is trying to deal with Tracy's outrageous demands and cope with her ever-changing ideas, Nate is trying to deal with Brenda and her family. Interrupted from his funeral director's exam, Nate scurries over to Brenda's so he can take her to visit Billy. Ruth finally decides she doesn't want to be involved with Nikolai and gets fired because of it.