Cancer must be one of the hardest sells both to networks and their audience – it dealing with disease and in this case one that is often terminal with no it seems happy ending likely.
Credit then for Showtime for commissioning this Darlene Hunt terminal creation and to Channel 4 for picking it up this side of the Atlantic.
Crafted with comic spirit and grace so this cancer is chronicled. Courageously the charismatic Laura Linney character Cathy Jamison – the programs real Big C – responds to the diagnosis.
Comfortless from her family – her husband is slung out of the household, her teenage son is a stranger in the house, her father out of state and out of mind. Only her brother provides comfort if cold and up to the seventh episode the one I have just watched – Two for the Road – news of her cancer has yet to have been shared with any of them – well it was with her brother in this episode but it proved too much for him and the news was withdrawn as a reprisal prank – you have to see the episode to understand this!
Casting aside what is not important in her life and gathering in what is, Cathy takes control of her fate.
Cast is an ensemble performance with John Benjamin Hickey notable as her brother also courageous in his convictions often in the face of mainstream indifference and Oliver Platt as her uncommitted loving husband.
Cast-iron certainties there are not but I am hopeful this Big C like Cathy herself proves resilient and that many years lie ahead for it.!
- Frank Bruni’s Blog: The Power of Cancer Narratives (bruni.blogs.nytimes.com)