Friday, October 15, 2010

What I’m Watching: The Big C

The Big C: Season 1, Episode 8 “Happy Birthday, Cancer” (A-)

We now officially have the best episode yet of this show, where Cathy is surprised by a whole legion of friends and actually manages to have a good time with some people she used to know. It’s always struck me as a bit strange that in order to truly surprise someone for their birthday, it’s necessary to make it seem as if everyone’s forgotten and no one cares. That sort of sums up the way Cathy was likely feeling, when only Lenny remembered and Marlene was the only one with whom she could enjoy some wedding cake. Yet the surprise party planned by the well-meaning Paul caught Cathy, and me as a viewer, well, by surprise. Cathy has isolated herself from the normalcy of her own life that it’s felt as if she doesn’t have any friends, and Marlene and Lenny are her only real outlets. Having them at the party, each knowing something no one else does, was especially interesting. Cynthia Nixon’s guest appearance as Rebecca was fun, and she was the one who really helped shake Cathy loose. I enjoyed the fact that her banter with Sean led to them sharing a rather intimate moment that prevented Cathy from doing laundry. Of course, the most intriguing part of the episode was having Lenny finally meet Paul and then decide that it wasn’t right for Cathy to come away with him. Then again, Cathy’s proclamation that she hasn’t been happy in years just pushed Paul away once more, so Cathy’s episode-ending phone call should hopefully result in a much-needed, relaxing getaway with less devastating implications than Michael Scott’s trip to Jamaica.

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