The Big C: The Complete Second Season

The Big C: The Complete Second Season
The pilot episode of The Big C showed an amazing amount of potential, hyperbolically detailing the dormant annihilation anxieties of a type-A WASP when she learns of her impending mortality. It featured hilariously inspired scenes of the stage-four cancer diagnosed Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) defying authority figures and social customs in favour of id impulses, even approaching a police officer, enraged, while a breast accidentally flops out of her open robe. But as the first season went on, relying a great deal on Cathy's need to hide her ailment from her husband (Oliver Platt) and son (Gabriel Basso), her relationship with her homeless, schizophrenic hippie brother, Sean (John Benjamin Hickey), and her sassy, overweight student, Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe), reeked of deliberate and contrived idiosyncrasy. As far as overtly manipulated, resultantly predictable, quirky comedy goes, The Big C delivered in spades, but it still felt a bit dirty to watch the many social rant monologues in each episode that left the incidental character offender conveniently speechless or "put in their place," unlike real life where few ever admit fault. The second season continues with this cutesy and somewhat sanctimonious tonal trajectory, dealing with familial fallouts when everyone finds out that Cathy has cancer. She undergoes experimental treatment and befriends a gay, bear-loving, detached free spirit (Hugh Dancy), letting Andrea move into her house while taking on the task of swim coach. Every episode delivers enough laughs and drama to sustain the entire season, but the bland, predictable and borderline patronizing nature of it all makes it hard to engage with on a higher level, limiting it to passing entertainment. Fortunately, Linney is an accomplished actress that makes the most of her archetype and Platt does his standard goofy, lovable fat man routine, playing off the anal nature of our feisty protagonist. The DVD comes with virtually no supplements, other than some deleted scenes and outtakes that were deleted and taken out for obvious reasons. (Sony)