Are you ready to say goodbye? Sometimes we just have to take the plunge.
Four years ago, I met Cathy Jamison the way the rest of you did – on my TV. I was skeptical I could love any other Showtime beeytch the way I loved Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker) from Weeds. (Although, I have warmed up to Nurse Jackie.) What I discovered, is that not only did I like Cathy, but I related to her quite a lot.
Introverted and conscientious by nature, I’ve also always been “the responsible one.” I’ve never purposefully caused waves, I’ve always played by the rules and listened to my elders. Ate my vegetables, too. But being this template of this restrained “good girl” doesn’t make the universe give it to you easy. You can do everything “right” and still feel punished by the world when bad things happen. And, oh, they will happen.
As I saw Cathy’s cancer forcing her into action to grab life by the balls, I recognized the same need in myself. It’s been slow (steady!) goings the past few years, but I can report that I’m making big life changes right now. And I can absolutely say that watching The Big C was helpful inspiration in this process of actually living my life.
Plus, I just really enjoy good TV. And The Big C was good TV.
As I write this, I’ve already seen “The Finale” episode that will air tonight. But I’m not here to spill spoilers. I want to honor the show, and thank it for being so high-quality. And by “the show” I mean everyone involved – cast and crew. Plus, the network! I get annoyed at plenty of networks these days.
Big networks often give us watered-down, dumb shows. And the good shows? Half the time they cancel them, because they think they can get bigger ratings with something else. ABC has canceled Cougar Town and Happy Endings AND Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23. NBC canceled Up All Night. The CW canceled Veronica Mars. Fox canceled Arrested Development and Firefly… etc. And the replacements are often not very…well, good.
But Showtime. Showtime has been one of the cable networks that I can count on to always deliver good shows. There’s hardly ever a Showtime series that I don’t want to watch. And I am so glad that they took a chance on The Big C and gave it all these years to play to conclusion. Because this is the kind of great TV that someone like me hopes to find in the world. (Showtime: bringing you the shows you want to watch.)
Naturally I want to praise Laura Linney. She’s got a lovely spirit, and did wonderful with this role. Oliver Platt was also really enjoyable. There was Gabourey Sidibe and Gabriel Basso being like real teenagers for us, being brave on the screen. And someone who really won me over is John Benjamin Hickey. He took a character who was a homeless freegan and did a lot of questionable hygiene things… but made him likeable, even to this serious germaphobe. (I have really weird ideas about dust and touching things and what has to go in the trash. The idea of eating out of the trash makes me shudder.)
I especially want to mention Jenny Bicks. She was the showrunner and an executive producer for the series. She has also worked on Sex and the City and Men in Trees. I feel glad to know that her career continues to flourish, and I really like everything she has a hand in, you know? We need more strong, smart women like Bicks in this business.
I would write more here, but my big, bright, in-progress life is waiting. So, remember guys, don’t forget to dive deep into your life. Toes-in-the-shallow-end will never be as fulfilling. Cathy Jamison taught us that.
The Big C “HEREafter” The Finale (series finale) airs Monday, May 20th at 10 pm EST on Showtime.
Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, John Benjamin Hickey, Gabriel Basso, Gabourey Sidibe and the rest of the cast take their final bow on Monday, May 20th in the gripping finale of The Big C: hereafter mini-series, which concludes Cathy’s (Linney) journey that began four years ago with The Big C. We’ve laughed and cried along with Cathy as she braved terminal cancer, while living her life to the absolute fullest. Tune-in to see the surprising way it all ends for Cathy, Paul, Sean, Adam and Andrea and for the culmination of Linney’s powerhouse, tour-de-force performance as a woman seizing life while staring down death.
The limited event series is produced by Sony Pictures Television, and was created by Darlene Hunt, who also serves as executive producer, along with showrunner/executive producer Jenny Bicks. Laura Linney, Vivian Cannon, Neal H. Moritz, Michael Engler and Richard Heus are also executive producers.
“The show came to me in a period of time … when I was having real
existential moments of thinking about time and the time
that we have and that it is limited.
It just is.
It’s human nature to — thank god — not have [death]
be the first thing you think about
every single second,
but there is a reality to it
and as I’ve been aging and parents are dying
and I’ve unfortunately
lost friends who were way too young to go,
what a privilege it is to age
and that’s not a message
we hear a lot
in the United States.”
– Laura Linney, NPR Fresh Air, talking about The Big C