[Spoilers abound for The Big C]
I will pretty much give any series on HBO a go, though I don't stick with all of them. Boardwalk Empire? Not for me. That one with the Will Ferrell acolyte in it? Not me, either. But True Blood, Big Love, In Treatment? Love them. Showtime has some great series as well, though I dropped Weeds like a pot habit this season. Instead, I started watching The Big C with Laura Linney, the tale of a suburban control freak high school teacher who is diagnosed with a terminal case of melanoma.
This season gave the main character a bad bit of motivation. She decided to not tell her friends or family that she has cancer. Instead, she goes on this sort of sensory quest as she learns to drop all the restrictive qualities she developed over the years. She's throwing caution to the wind, eating and drinking what she wants, sleeping with whomever she wants. She asks her husband to moves out and, conversely, starts to develop a backbone when dealing with her 15-year-old son. She befriends the neighborhood "witch," who turns out to have dementia. She tries to have a swimming pool built in her small yard, buys a red convertible, and tries to tell everyone in her life everything she's never said.
Just writing that exhausted me.
And the really cool thing for her is that she's not feeling sick yet, so she's able to have all these really great sexual adventures, just not with her husband. Everyone seems to be falling in love with her: the way cool high school art teacher/mural painter, her doctor, an alternative practitioner of the healing arts (Liam Neeson). Wow, I thought. Who knew cancer could be so sexy.
then I read that Laura Linney herself produced this series, and I thought. Yeah. That's what I would do, too. In my mid-forties, I'd create a show where the character gets to have a lot of attention and sex with amazing men (Idris Elba plays the artist, and whoo hoo! those two go at it). And even better, I'll hire a really smart and wonderful actor to play my husband, a funny, witty, amazing man (Oliver Platt) with whom my character can have many, many scenes.
So this show isn't about Cathy, the cancer victim, but Laura Linney, an actress who knows her 15 minutes of viable youth are ticking down and knows she needs to get it all now while the getting is good.
Go Laura. Go Cathy!
The show is ridiculous. Michael bailed out after three because he could not believe that someone would harbor such a secret. I'm about to bail out now because it would appear the next man she might sleep with is her doctor. There's few men left to sleep with, and she's done just about everything she might do at this point. Her husband has moved back in, the witch shot herself in the head, and her son is behaving. Laura can't go on smiling her beautiful smile and taking off her clothes. She can't keep the secret from people much longer, all of it just falling to the plot carpet in a pile of action. Cancer has to become something brutishly real, the character might have to become real, and real isn't pretty or cute, even though Cathy is.
Show over. If we want a reality show on cancer, I'm sure there is something on PBS or, worse, TLC.
Time to go back to HBO. Maybe Boardwalk Empire isn't that bad.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org