Laura Linney stars in her Golden Globe®-winning role as Cathy Jamison, a 42-year-old schoolteacher who has always played by the rules. That is, until she receives a life-changing diagnosis. But instead of giving up, Cathy decides to live it up! Nothing and no one is safe, including her self-absorbed family, her cantankerous neighbor, and her smart-ass students. Oliver Platt (TV’s Huff
) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious
) shine in this talented ensemble. Brutally honest, unapologetically funny and perfectly profound, The Big C
is a surprisingly different comedy that reminds us that life is always worth living on our own terms.
1. Pilot - A diagnosis of terminal cancer inspires Cathy to live life to the fullest, free and uninhibited, for as long as she can. A pool in her backyard is at the top of her to-do list.
2. Summertime - After Dr. Todd tells Cathy just how little time she has left, she insists that her son Adam stay home with her instead of attending summer soccer camp.
3. There’s no C in Team - As she fends off both Paul’s pleas to revive their marriage and a cancer support group’s cheery efforts, Cathy is stunned to learn that Marlene’s dog can sense her cancer.
4. Playing the Cancer Car - At the suggestion of his therapist, Paul jump-starts his single life by returning to rugby. Cathy tries on impulsiveness by cashing out her retirement fund to buy a new sports car.
5. Blue-Eyed Iris - Cathy looks to reclaim her sexuality with a “Trip to Brazil” and a new man. While Paul gets the attention of a Rugby groupie, Sean gets a “new” suit courtesy of Marlene’s dead husband.
6. Taking Lumps - When a new lump reveals that her cancer is getting worse, Cathy questions her dalliance with Lenny as she looks to reunite her family for an annual charity bathtub race.
7. Two for the Road - Cathy persuades Sean to join her on a trip to surprise their dad for his birthday, leaving Adam and Paul at home for a long needed boys’ weekend together. Paul gets a sobering wake-up call from Marlene.
8. Happy Birthday, Cancer - When Paul throws her a surprise party for her 43rd birthday, Cathy is conflicted about her plans to join Lenny for the weekend in the Bahamas. Sean begins an affair with Rebecca (Cynthia Nixon), Cathy’s old college friend.
9. The Ecstasy and the Agony - As things continue to heat up with Lenny, Cathy decides to experiment with Ecstasy. After witnessing her affair, Paul tells Cathy he wants a divorce.
10. Divine Intervention - Realizing that her recent decisions have real and lasting consequences, Cathy finally tells Paul that she has cancer as she looks to make amends with those around her.
11. New Beginnings - Adam meets a girl at the bus stop. Cathy, Rebecca and Marlene enjoy lunch at a strip club. Paul’s spontaneous display of solidarity prompts Cathy to seek out a cure.
12. Everything that Rises Must Converge - Cathy and Dr. Todd head to Canada to try an alternative bee venom treatment from the “Bee Man” (Liam Neeson). Paul moves back home.
Laura Linney is so radiant as the terminally (and secretly) cancer-stricken Cathy in The Big C
that the viewer briefly is reminded of Love Story
, in which Ali McGraw, also terminally ill, became more and more radiant as her not-quite-believable death approached. But there the similarity ends. Linney's performance as Cathy is utterly believable, and charming, even if Cathy's actions aren't always respectable. Linney is diagnosed early in the season with terminal melanoma that's spread through her body, and she keeps her diagnosis from her husband (Oliver Platt, never better) and her son, Adam (Gabriel Basso). The idea for The Big C
haunts the viewer throughout the episodes--what would you do if you knew you were only going to live a short while longer? How would you approach your relationships--and would you keep them? What kinds of risks would you take? Linney's Cathy, until now a responsible schoolteacher, begins to question her life of "staying within the lines," and begins to take chances that baffle her family. The supporting cast is divine, including Gabourey Sidibe (Precious
) as a student Cathy is tutoring and coaching--and often annoying. Idris Elba (Luther
) is a hunky handyman at Cathy's school, who becomes the object of Cathy's careless flirtations, and John Benjamin Hickey is hilarious as Sean, Cathy's living-off-the-grid brother. But with all the wry humor, The Big C
has some sad, anguished moments--including the first-season finale, which should not be watched without a box of tissues. The Big C
features Linney at her finest, a very believable character facing an all-too-believable fate--and managing to live her life out loud. Extras include candid interviews with the cast, deleted scenes, and outtakes. --A.T. Hurley