REVIEW: ‘The Big C’

REVIEW: ‘The Big C’

The Big C
Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Stars: Laura Linney, John Benjamin Hickey, Oliver Platt, Gabriel Basso, Gabourey Sidibe and Phyllis Somerville

The Big Idea: Uptight Minneapolis wife/mom/schoolteacher Cathy (Linney) finds out she has the titular “Big C” — stage four melanoma — and, instead of immediately seeking treatment, she decides to keep the diagnosis to herself and spend what time she has left getting her life in order, shaping her teen son into a good human being and having a little fun.

To Watch or Not to Watch: Go ahead and give it a season pass on your DVR, because The Big C not only starts off strong, but only gets better with each episode that follows.

The main reason: Linney is perfectly cast in the role. Truly, after the first few moments of the premiere, it’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing the role of Cathy, who could come off as prickly, over-the-top wacky or just plain grating and less sympathetic in the hands of a less talented, less likable actress. After all, she’s kicked her husband Paul (Platt) out of the house for reasons neither he nor their teenage son Adam (Basso, who joins the junior set on Modern Family and The Middle in making up one of the least annoying crops of TV kids ever) understand, and she’s keeping the news of her diagnosis from them.

But the fun (and the implicit nudge that we should all rethink our priorities, before some major life event forces us to) comes from what Cathy does do after getting the bad news, which includes hiring a contractor to install a swimming pool in her yard, cost be damned; telling off, and then befriending, the crabby neighbor (Somerville) across the street; reconnecting with her brother Sean (who chooses to be homeless); and trying to help one of her students, the irreverent Andrea (Sidibe, who makes up for her gig as one of the all-time worst Saturday Night Live hosts by proving she can pull off the funny), lose weight.

The show could have been subtitled How Cathy Got Her Groove Back. Sean (the scene-stealing Hickey) even tells her at one point, “You’re starting to get your weird back, sis,” and the weirder, and less uptight, Cathy gets, the more fun the show becomes. And yes, as unlikely as it might seem that a show about a terminal illness could be fun, or funny, The Big C is, and that’s the best reason to tune in.

TV Screener Tidbit: The star-packed first season of The Big C (and I’m guessing a second-season renewal will come pretty quickly for the show) will include guest appearances by The Wire/The Office‘s Idris Elba (as a love interest for Cathy); Brian Cox as Cathy’s dad; Cynthia Nixon as a friend of Cathy’s; Reid Scott (My Boys) as Cathy’s hottie dermatologist (who has some very flirtatious moments with her in the first few episodes); and Liam Neeson as a holistic healer Cathy seeks out.

The Big C premieres Monday, August 16, at 10PM ET on Showtime

Leave a comment

Never miss a post!
Via RSS | Via e-mail

Follow Us


Latest interview

Talkin’ With … ‘Wilfred’ Star Jason Gann About Season 2

Charlie Sheen, Russell Brand and Louis C.K. are getting most of the attention, but I’m most excited that one of the best new shows of last TV season — Wilfred — returns for its second season on FX tonight (10PM ET). Season one of the series ended with a cliffhanger — had Ryan (Elijah Wood) […]

Recent comments

Warning: Use of undefined constant comments - assumed 'comments' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/customer/www/ on line 928

Warning: Use of undefined constant trackbacks - assumed 'trackbacks' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/customer/www/ on line 929