Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Big C: “How Do You Feel?”

Illustration for article titled The Big C: “How Do You Feel?”

Plot-wise, there were some elements of tonight’s Big C that I didn’t adore. Like Sean’s sudden departure. And my sneaking suspicion of what’s going to happen to Paul’s Cheeto tin. And Cathy and Lee’s sexual interest in each other. And that tired cliche of mean bitches at reunions who exist only to torture their former victims. Oh, and Oliver Platt’s toes: ick. (But that’s not really a plot ine).

That said, I still can’t articulate enough how glad I am that The Big C seems like it finally found a rhythm in the second half of this season. Even tonight’s episode, which I don’t think was necessarily a classic, I enjoyed so much more than the majority of the first season and the first part of the second season, when I wondered what exactly the show and I were doing together.

Both Cathy and her son bonded with cancer buddies tonight. Cathy and Lee finally make up despite the fact that Cathy’s tumors appear to be shrinking while his remain unaffected by the trial. Cathy asks him how he keeps his “water off a duck’s back” mentality, although Lee doesn’t seem that easygoing to me: He seems way more tense and fragile than Cathy, but then again, she has good news on her side. Out of a sense of sexual curiosity, or to help him cross something off his bucket list, or guilty obligation, or maybe it was just the wine, Cathy lets Lee feel her breasts (so if you want to get a look at Laura’s Linneys, this is the episode to watch). I for one was glad that it didn’t go further than that.

Adam agrees to accompany Poppy to her high school reunion. It’s interesting how the lovely Parker Posey is styled in this show: Somehow, her costumes and makeup make her look brittle and dry, even when all dressed up for the party. In case it wasn’t obvious, Poppy was an outsider in high school and is needled at the reunion until Adam steps up and pretends to be her successful young boyfriend, which just schools those mean bitches! For once, Adam does something selfless, but Poppy isn’t exactly full of the thrill of victory. Claiming to need a tampon, she sends him to the hotel gift shop so she can cut herself in the toilet stall. They never discuss it, but after a late-night chat with his mom, Adam seems to know something’s up with old Poppy, and not just that she’s a weird lady who hangs out with 16 year olds.

I wish Sean’s plotline had been handled with a tiny bit more nuance or maybe taken an extra episode to develop, just because it felt quite sudden. Still reeling from Baby Cathy’s death and Rebecca’s absence, Sean reacts badly when a family with a squalling small child moves next door to him. Sean curses at them and reassures a concerned Cathy of his mental health, but ultimately, he bolts in the night without telling his sister. I just wish we’d gotten to see a bit more of his character express what Baby Cathy and that potential family and mental health had meant to him. I wish we had seen him turn into Marlene.

Paul’s storyline was much less intense than everyone else’s. He purchases a fancy scale to help Cathy monitor her health, but predictably, it informs him that he’s in poor health. In the meantime, he’s keeping the cash that Myk is helping him steal from MaxBuy in a Cheeto tin, so I sense something bad is going to happen. Also, do people buy Cheetos in tins anymore?


Stray observations:

  • "I was being cute. And iron-ic.”
  • “I guess that makes us abut-buddies.”
  • This episode can’t help but make me think of two Parker Posey movies: Dazed and Confused, for the high school references, and A Mighty Wind, for her character’s past ukelele playing.