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.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Ghost Writer

Here. There. Everywhere. Punished soul that usually watches what nobody wants, but sometimes gets lucky.

7 Responses

  1. Rodrigo says:

    John Benjamin Hickey playing Cathy’s bum-like brother is awesome. Showtime should hype up some of their supporting actors in the same way they do for their bigger names ’cause he is great enough for award recognition.

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, I agree… but I guess Showtime shows don’t get nearly enough votes for supporting… and campaigns are expensive, I guess. I really thought the last episode when the son finds everything out was quite moving.

      • Rodrigo says:

        @amy, Supporting characters from premium cable comedy shows have it tougher to get award recognition. Modern Family existing works against it to a certain extent along with people raving harder for supporting characters from network tv shows. The last three actors from HBO/Showtime to get nominated were Elizabeth Perkins for Weeds (Emmy), Jeremy Piven for Entourage and Jane Adams for Hung (last two for the Globes).

        I’m watching TBC on HBO LatinAmerica at the moment. Once Season 1 ends, I’ll burn through Season 2 and review it for YAM. :)

      • Rodrigo says:

        @amy, Forgot to mention, most premium cable shows blend in comedy and drama at the same time, which might work against supporting characters from cable shows in the comedy field.

  1. August 11, 2013

    […] Season 1, Cathy (Linney) was diagnosed with terminal (Stage IV) melanoma and spent most of the time hiding […]

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  3. July 29, 2015

    […] How funny can cancer be? We can ask Laura Linney’s The Big C. […]

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