Big C, The – Season 1
The Big C tells the story of Cathy (Laura Linney), a 40-something-year-old woman who is diagnosed with terminal cancer, making her reexamine her own life — which includes an apparently loving but too self-absorbed husband Paul (Oliver Platt), their annoyingly average teenage boy Adam (Gabriel Basso), her against the system bum of a brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey), and a job as a high school teacher. In short, Cathy needs a change before it’s too late, she kicks Paul out, tries amending her mistakes with Adam and her brother, being more open with her neighbor Marlene (Phyllis Somerville), and more outspoken with her students… including Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe).
Overall, it is unclear how long the show might be able to last, considering Cathy has just a few months to live. It’s also unclear how she’s going to manage to keep her cancer a secret from most people in her life. The characters are mostly unlikeable with very few instances of good intentions, which seems to be their way of showing us “real life” characters. Cathy’s relationship with her brother Sean is perhaps the best interaction — where Cathy is the most vulnerable, bordering on the joking side.
At first sight, it might seem Cathy is acting the way middle-aged men act when they reach their mid-life crisis — ditching the spouse for a younger one and buying a convertible even though they don’t know how to drive a stick. Then we see Paul and Adam. Adam is your average teenage boy who doesn’t get along with his mother because his dad is just one big child. Paul, despite his good intentions in staying in love with Cathy, just plays the part of the forever-young “cool” dad and let’s Cathy play bad cop all the time. When Cathy finally ditches him and he tries to win her back — sure, he goes romantic to recreate the moment when they fell in love, but he also makes sure to remind her that he needs Cathy back because he needs someone to turn him when he makes funny noises while sleeping.
We love Laura Linney, but we’re still waiting for something to hold on to.