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

The Big C: "Summer Time"

Illustration for article titled The Big C: "Summer Time"

Of the three episodes of The Big C that I’ve seen thus far, tonight’s was my favorite, due to Cathy’s gradual raising of her freak along with good lines and scenes doled out to the rest of the cast.  The show opens with Cathy deciding that if she’s so sick of picking up Adam’s clothes, she’s just going to burn them along with the hated couch. Later, at the dermatologist’s office, she asks hottie Dr. Todd how her bod compares to his other patients, and he essentially tells her she’s smokin’.  Cathy flirts back with some gallows humor.  I guess he makes her feel…alive.

Back home, Paul once again tries to reconcile, and Cathy points out to him an example of why she can’t stay married to him: because he never closes the cabinets and then she has to and resents him.  I’m hoping that we find out that there’s more to it than that (and the cancer) because while that’s annoying, Paul is endearing in his own way and I seem to have a problem with characters who get divorced for no apparent good reason (this is how I felt about Eat Pray Love). I loved it when, after Paul finally convinces Cathy to agree to marriage counseling, he says “Great: do you want to call or should I?” Husbands!

Hanging out with her brother, homeless Sean, Cathy spots Andrea eating chips, not part of the diet plan. I enjoyed the interplay of the three of them, Sean judging Andrea’s diet, her telling him to buzz off, the two of them making fun of Cathy and so on.  Who would you most like to trade places with in that scenario? (Only acceptable answer: Andrea).

I like how Cathy, who has clearly indulged Adam up until this point, decides that it’s time to be a total hardass on him for his own good before she dies.  She decides that she doesn’t want him to go to soccer camp for the summer, since obviously they don’t have a ton of time left.

The therapist’s office was another one of my favorite scenes of the show, not because of the way Cathy aborts the session, but the girly way in which Paul reveals his self-centered self-esteem issues while Cathy looks on in amused disgust.  After she leaves to get a latte, she tries to entice Adam with a game of paintball: this is one of a few times where Cathy painfully tries to engage him in what she thinks kids like. Unsuccessful, she then heads over to Marlene’s where she lets herself in, sees her sleeping neighbor and touches the wrinkles on her face, spilling the hot coffee on her in the process. Marlene is painted as an insufferable, sometimes cartoonish curmudgeon  during the show but I don’t blame her here for being mad, both for the coffee-spilling and the face-touching.

After being inspired by Naked Nancy, the lady who sunbathes nude in the yard next to the school, Cathy decides to try it herself. Paul catches her in the act and gets turned on.  She’s open to the idea of making love in the grass but he mishears her and asks eagerly if she is indeed open to doing it in the ass. She is not.  Aw c’mon, Cathy, you only live once, right?

Tracking down Adam, who Paul put on the bus to soccer camp, Cathy grabs Andrea and asks if she has her driver’s license. “Yeah, but my picture sucks,” Andrea says, which I found to be a funny, Kelly Kapoor-style line.  Andrea follows the school bus and Cathy shoots it with the paint gun, getting onboard to force Adam off.  Using paintball guns as weapons on TV bugs me because when it happened in And Then We Came to the End the dude who did it rightfully went to jail, but on Entourage and The Big C it’s some sort of heroic rebellious act. Not really. I know I’m being something of a literal killjoy here but you know in real life if someone was stalking around an office or chasing down a schoolbus with what looked like a gun it would be a shitshow for the local news. Anyway, Cathy gets her son back and cheerfully tells everyone else on the bus, “Enjoy soccer camp! Don’t bully anybody.”  

Adam, understandably, is furious with his crazy mom. This is a part of the show where her actions make me feel bad for the people in her wake: of course he wouldn’t assume that she’s dying, but he’s just going to feel bad when he finds out why she was behaving that way.  

—One of my least favorite TV/movie cliches is people touching their photos in a fit of nostalgia. PEOPLE DON’T DO THAT IN REAL LIFE. FINGERPRINTS!

—“I’m fat, and you’ve got a brother that eats trash!”