‘The Big C’ – ‘In the Summer Time’: Splendor in the grass?

Senior Television Writer
08.24.10 17 Comments


A review of the second episode of “The Big C” coming up just as soon as another bikini season passes me by…

As I said last week, I’m a bit ambivalent about “The Big C” overall, and “In the Summer Time” had both the parts I like and the parts that bug on display.

I still find Cathy’s brother Sean, for instance, to be an annoyingly self-conscious creation, but I was amused to see Gaby Sidibe play Andrea’s reaction to meeting the guy. (“I’m fat, and you’ve got a brother that eats trash!”)

Also, I think Cathy’s insane and short-sighted for trying to drastically change her relationships with her husband and son without telling them why – that she doesn’t want Adam to go away to soccer camp because that’s a large chunk of her remaining lifespan – yet I enjoy watching Laura Linney play that insanity in scenes like her paintball assault on the camp bus, or her completely bored reaction to having to listen to Paul whine in therapy.

And I continue to really enjoy the interplay between Cathy and her young oncologist, which is just so candid and warm that it feels fresh in a way that the rest of the show doesn’t in spite of the good performances and funny jokes. (Paul’s misunderstanding of Cathy’s request to do it in the grass was a comic highlight this week.)

We’ll see how I feel about the show once we get past the initial episodes Showtime sent out (next week’s is the last of those), and perhaps once guest stars like Idris Elba and Cynthia Nixon turn up, but right now “The Big C” is just good enough to keep me watching but not quite good enough for me to want to write about every week.

But since I’m writing this particular post, two quick nitpicks. First, though I understand the logistics behind it, it always bugs me when a location or set changes drastically from the pilot to the first regular episode (a house that was rented for a one-week pilot shoot might not be available when the producers need a long-term commitment for a series, for instance), it still bugged me to see how different Cathy’s backyard and unfinished pool pit looked compared to last week. And second, the Photoshopping of the Cathy bikini picture wasn’t very good, and seems kind of unnecessary, given that Linney showed plenty of skin in her younger roles. Couldn’t they just get a picture from that “Tales of the City” sequel where Mary Ann goes on a cruise or something?

But as to the larger issues, what does everybody else think? You sticking around?

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