‘The Big C’ – ‘Losing Patients’: The truth wins out

Senior Television Writer
06.27.11 9 Comments


“The Big C” returned to Showtime tonight, and I have a few thoughts on where the show finds itself at the start of season 2, coming up just as soon as I pose as a pharmaceutical rep…

I stopped writing about “The Big C” after only 4 episodes of the first season, deciding that I didn’t like Laura Linney enough to overcome my fierce dislike of Cathy Jamison. Simply put, Cathy’s decision to keep her cancer a secret from her family was a choice that didn’t seem to provide nearly as much benefit as either she or the creative team thought it did, so I bailed. I watched bits and pieces of the rest of the season, was pleased to see Cathy finally tell her husband and son the truth, and looked forward to seeing how the show worked going forward with that on the table.

And, indeed, I found the start of season 2 (I’ve seen 4 episodes) much more palatable than season 1. Both Cathy and the show still tend to come across more smugly than they realize, but the possibilities created by honesty are a lot more interesting to me than everyone wondering why Cathy seems to have lost her damn mind. The Cynthia Nixon character’s reaction to the news -  “You’re gonna be my first really good friend that has had cancer! I will be forever changed!” – was priceless, and Cathy and Paul are much more entertaining when they’re working together than when they were constantly yelling at each other last year.

I imagine this is at best going to be a show I like but don’t love, but it’s nice to see a series find a way to fix its greatest flaw. (Though, given the evolution of the story, I imagine people would have found out by now, regardless of how people reacted to season 1.) Probably not something I’m going to write about weekly, but at least not something I’m going to grit my teeth through the majority of the airtime.

When I dropped the show from the rotation last year, reaction was mixed between those who had already given up and those who loved Cathy and didn’t understand why others didn’t. For thos of you still watching the show, how did you feel about the premiere?

[Miss the second season premiere?  Watch the complete episode here.]

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