Well, I finally got around to watching ‘The Big C,’ that new Showtime series in which Laura Linney stars as Cathy Jamison, a high school teacher with stage four melanoma.
She decides not to have treatment – because she really loves her hair, and her doc says it would only buy her a little time anyway – and starts doing and saying all the stuff she’s been wanting to do and say her whole life. She drizzles red wine on the couch, builds a pool in her yard, paintballs the bus taking her son to soccer camp, then embarrasses him horribly by dragging him off the bus.
Her husband Paul, played by Oliver Platt (known to me as the guy with the big head), is sleeping at his sister’s house. Cathy tossed him out – just got sick of him hanging out drinking and playing poker with his friends. He doesn’t know about the cancer.
Neither does her son, Adam (Gabriel Basso), who thinks his mom is bonkers. Her brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey) is an eco warrior who hangs out in parking lots and yells at passing motorists about their gas-guzzling SUVs. Her neighbor Marlene (Phyllis Somerville) would just as soon die any time, and her student Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe) has her back on just about everything, whether it’s manning the paintball gun or telling Adam to get his “skinny ass” down to dinner!
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to watch a show about a woman with cancer. It’s depressing enough just thinking about all the friends and family I’ve lost to the awful disease. Showtime sent me the first three episodes, like, a month ago, and they sat on my shelf until the show started airing on Showtime. Then everyone started talking about it, including my friend Ruth Pennebaker over at her Fabulous GeezerSisters blog, so I decided I’d better check it out and write something up.
I still don’t want to watch it, although the cast is sweet enough to make me watch maybe another episode or two. Everyone I know says they’re basically watching it because of Laura Linney. And I do love the scenes where Cathy and her brother fight like they’re back in grade school.
I wonder if I’d feel differently about the show if I’d either had cancer in the past or if I had cancer now. I’m sending the episodes to my friend, Jen Singer, who had cancer (and was treated successfully). We’ll see what she has to say about it.
Being on Showtime, ‘The Big C’ isn’t really for kids. There’s quite a bit of profanity and sex talk (though no actual sex in the first three eps), and it’s rated TV-MA, which means it may be unsuitable for kids under 17. I’d say that’s on target.
What’s your take on ‘The Big C’? Have you watched it? Do you love it or hate it?