The Big C Review: "Summer Time"

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Through two episodes, The Big C is worth a viewer's time due to a few funny lines and, most memorably, for Laura Linney's outstanding, versatile performance as Cathy Jamison.

But the series is already in danger of making this cancer-stricken woman a bit too unlikable. That is Showtime's specialty, of course. Some of its most successful shows focus on female protagonists that teeter on the edge of sheer awfulness. Think Nurse Jackie and Weeds.

I'm a fan of both those programs, and certainly don't need my main characters to be morally pure at all times. But my initial reaction to a couple of Cathy's decisions in "Summer Time" were simply: Well, that's just rude!

I know she has a new lease on life and all, but just walking out of therapy and yanking her son from summer camp in such an embarrassing fashion doesn't help the ones she loves. Really, at their heart, these actions are just selfish.

Cathy and Sean

Moreover, at this rate, when Cathy dies, her family's reaction will be a mixture of anger and mourning. How could you not resent someone that didn't let you say goodbye?

Overall nit-picking aside, the episode had its humorous moments, namely:

  • Dr. Todd's reaction to Cathy's naked body: "You have an awesome rack."
  • Andrea serving as Cathy's back-up during the paintball-based heist of Adam.
  • Paul mixing up "grass" for... you know.
By dealing with cancer, it's inevitable that The Big C would have trouble balancing its tone. But I'm confident it will find its way, just as Cathy will eventually find her way through dealing with a terminal diseases, making changes in her life and being fair to those around her; and, as I continually say, Linney makes almost every scene she's in worthwhile.

What did everyone else think of the episode and the show so far?

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Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (9 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Despite the brilliant Oliver Platt and Laura Linney, the show is laughable and not in a good way. Linney's character annoys me in the same way that Holly Hunter's "Saving Grace" character annoyed me. A 40-something year-old woman who needs someone to tell her that she's attractive. A 40-something year-old woman who is discovering that she enjoys being a bitch. I'll give it one more episode because sometimes the characters are still finding themselves in the pilots and the first episode. But so far, way too much of the show is embarrassingly cliche.


I liked the episode and yes, maybe her choices were selfish but she has the right to be selfish and not just because she has cancer. The cancer simply acted as a wake up call that reminded her that it's alright to be selfish every once and a while.

The Big C Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

By research, do you mean Glamour magazine? Because I read that article, too.


Cathy: Don't stare yourself. That always backfires.
Andrea: So does binge-eating. But then at least I get to fall asleep with the taste of frosting in my mouth.