The Big C Season 2 Premiere Review: "Losing Patients"

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The Big C premiered season two tonight with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. As Cathy said early on in "Losing Patients:"

I have a very stubborn cancer! | permalink

The truth, of course, is that the cancer has a very stubborn owner, one who started to grow a bit dislikable last year. Lying to your family and having an affair will do that to a main character.

I was actually of the opinion the show should not have returned this summer, partly because "Taking the Plunge" would have made for a stellar series finale and partly because I didn't know where the series could go with everyone in on the disease.

The Big C Season 2 Premiere Pic

But I was wrong. There's a lot of material to mine here, starting with the relationship between Cathy and Sean.

The latter became a bit of a caricature on season one, seemingly around just to increase the show's quirky factor.

But he now feels like a well-rounded, layered individual, as he tries to take responsibility for his child and even to sleep inside a house. The show did Sean a service on the premiere by having Rebecca emphasize his illness to Cathy. It was too easy last year to just write Sean off as a lovable loon - but now we have a fascinating dichotomy of two people dealing with two very different diseases.

Fresh off a Tony Award victory, John Benjamin Hickey was outstanding as always.

And what's there to even say about Laura Linney at this point? She conveys emotion in every scene, often multiple emotions within seconds, the best example being the concluding moments where she went from elated over her new doctor appointment; to sad over Thomas' presumed death; to reflective over the dog's life and the vision of Marlene over her shoulder.

Other relationships that have evolved for the better:

  • Rebecca and Sean: Cynthia Nixon should make for an entertaining presence this season, assuming she keeps uttering gems such as: "With all the educated c**k I've had it my mouth, it's cruel irony that my baby daddy is a bipolar dropout."
  • Paul and Cathy: There was too much of Oliver Platt as a sad sack last season. But now he's back to having fun, smoking pot, punching doctors and encouraging Cathy every step of the way.
  • Cathy and Adam: I like that he isn't overly depressed over his mom's diagnosis, nor is he rebelling in the way we might have expected. Instead, he's just... farting aggressively. And trying to be as normal as possible, given the circumstances.

Overall, an entertaining, emotional season premiere. All you can often ask of a series is for its characters to move forward in some way. That's clearly happening here. Combined with stellar performances, The Big C should make for appointment viewing every Monday night this summer.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (20 Votes)

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

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I didn't find Cathy unlikeable last year at all - she had Cancer and the whole idea was that she was 'acting out.' It all made sense to me, even if you DO want her to tell everyone eventually. This show has pleased me since it began, and the season 2 premiere was no exception. Great show, great characters, lots of humor, good emotional moments - and pulled off within half an hour. The only thing I'd think is "no more ghost of Marlene" please!

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P.S. Fart humor is boring and only interesting to males with an IQ of about 80.

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After waiting for about 8 months to see the season 2 premiere episode, I have to say that I was more than a little disappointed. It was like a 2011 version of a Laurel and Hardy episode (albeit with way more foul language than I remember about the series). I felt nothing for anyone in the cast. I sure hope Showtime isn't trying to emmulate "Weeds" which I think is a disgrace to television. It kinda seemed like it only with different characters. We have more than our share of "hip" and indifferent shows on TV. Hope this one doesn't turn into just another one of them.

The Big C Season 2 Episode 1 Quotes

I have a very stubborn cancer!

Cathy

Sean to Cathy]: No matter how repulsed by you I am, you can't deny our biological bond.

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