User Reviews (42)

Add a Review

  • I have watched all 9 episodes so far and can't get enough. I became intrigued with the concept while watching a Laura Linney interview on The Daily Show. It's often funny, sometimes hilarious, often sad, and sometimes downright heartwrenching. The characters are quirky, conflicted, don't know how to express their feelings, and are frequently nasty, self-involved, and make mistakes, while also being caring, noble, and giving, just like real people. The show takes a sensitive and difficult subject that is usually not discussed, and deals with it using a large dose of humor and the occasional portion of pathos.

    Laura Linney's character has spent her life doing what everyone else has expected her to do, and hasn't a clue who she wants to be. She decides to try and figure that out before it's too late. I understand her desire to keep her disease a secret so that she gets to live as much as possible before she dies. She could "buy" the attention and understanding of her husband, son, brother, and others she cares about if she tells them about the cancer. However, then she would not only be surrounded by sadness and despair for her remaining days, she'd be suffocated and everyone would assume the cancer is the cause of her behavior when in reality it is merely the catalyst.

    I watch a lot of shows that I like, and many that make me laugh; but few touch me as this show has. Sometimes the image in the mirror isn't the prettiest person in all the land, but this is about learning to be comfortable with - even love - what we see. To do that, we first have to see the true image, not the one we think we should see or the one we wish we saw.
  • ween-319 August 2010
    Laura Linney, like her idol Meryl Streep, is just a model of consistent brilliance. If on nothing but the strength of her performance alone, "The Big C" is poised to be a big deal. Solid job of exposition in the pilot episode. All the main characters are immediately up to speed. Anyone whose life has been brushed by cancer (which is to say, everybody) will recognize the issues and identify with one or another of the characters here. From all initial appearances, this looks like it's gonna be a keeper.

    Don't take Kreskin to figure that Linney's heading straight back into Emmy consideration for this role. On the basis of the first half-hour, she's delivering another of her patented fully realized performances.

    Okay, Showtime. You had me at "hello". Gonna strap myself in and go for a ride with Ms. Linney and company.
  • gpalac28 September 2010
    "The Big C" walks on the thin line. Comedy and drama, love and lack of love, sweet but in the end has to be bitter. The creators and producers have to be talented if they want to walk that way and till now they really are. Laura Linney is simply great. She always is, but now is more than ever. She makes the situations easy to be watched because the subject is complicated and can hurt a lot. But instead of suffering with it, we enjoy everything what's happening: we smile, we feel. Feeling, being touched by honest emotions, is something you don't get all days, not in shows and either in real life. "The Big C" doesn't deserve only a good chance, it deserves the fidelity you give to big shows and this is one of them. Try it and you won't regret it.
  • katherine175 June 2011
    I first checked this show in September 2010 and I was slowly becoming addicted. Now I am waiting for a second season and actually counting days. This such a little show, but totally politically incorrect which makes it unique. One of my favourites. Makes you laugh hard and even cry sometimes. Another great thing aside from great writing is an excellent acting. No wonder Laura Linney won a Golden Globe this January for her character. I loved Phyllis Sommerville and Oliver Platt too. Not to mention young Gabriel Basso as Adam. Also the guest stars Gabourney Sidibe, Idris Elba & even Cynthia Nixon made such a great work here.

    Check it out guys!
  • THE BIG C started this week as a Showtime series for television opposite the controversial WEEDS in the late evening, subjects for mature audiences time slot. Most viewers will have mixed feelings about this first episode, so loaded with new characters with whom we have little time to understand, all edgy, and yet all surrounded by the unifying theme of how one woman deals with being told she has Stage 4 Malignant Melanoma but who decides to not inform anyone of her diagnosis, instead going after the outrageous way of living that has always been foreign to her obsessive/compulsive teacher personality.

    There are few actresses who could pull this off: Laura Linney, one of our finest actresses on the screen today, is the perfect choice for making this unbelievable character credible AND charismatic. As Cathy Jamison, she is married to a bumbling irresponsible joker Paul (Oliver Platt, again an actor in the top echelon) who is currently out of the house over some disagreement with Cathy, and is mother to naughty boy Adam (Gabriel Basso), lives across the street from a elderly curmudgeon Marlene (Phyllis Somerville) with whom Cathy finally agrees to accept and to like, is a sister to a freaky psycho brother Sean (John Benjamin Hickey), is attended by her diagnosing just-fresh-out-of-residency naive physician Dr Todd (Reid Scott), and carries on teaching a classroom with bored students, including one sassy, arrogant and overweight Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe). Life is full of surprises and they pop by so quickly that we barely can tell where the series is going. As for this viewer, though not impressed with the structure of the show, staying around for the pleasure of watching Linney and Platt will be worth it - hopefully!

    Grady Harp
  • Contrary to what others think on this board, the feelings that Cathy goes through and what she sees are too real for me. I am diagnosed with a brain tumour and I see things, hear things and stick my fingers up to the world.... Cancer makes you see all too clearly all that life's about and what its worth living for. This prog has kept me going through my my darker days. This is a series not to be missed and I'd recommend this to anyone who wants a good laugh and a cry at the same time... Ally McBeal with cancer thrown in (Even though Billy did die of a tumour in that series too).. I would also recommend this to carers of people with cancer, cos to me its how I feel all of the time.
  • markymcmarkson10 March 2011
    Its pretty much bi-polar. in one half hour episode i go from like pissing myself laughing to wanting to cry to cringing about 7 times an episode.

    I mean seriously Laura Linney is one of the best actresses i've seen in a TV series for a long time. The characters have such complex relationships which would be too much for a 90 minute film but is great for a TV series.

    So i guess overall I love this so much. its my new favourite programme. It makes me sad that she's gonna die. I hope they get a few series out of it first.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    from the start of the show, where you see a who lives a boring life, teaching slacker kids summer school, to later throughout the season helping people to make sure they can live life better than she did after she passes, the epic conclusion of season 1 with her son crying (he never once cries throughout the first season).

    this is the life of Cathy Jamison (played MARVELOUSLY by Laura Linney), a middle aged straight-edged woman who learns she had stage 4 melanoma in the pilot.

    she soon starts to live a crazy life and do (some times humorous) things she had never done before, almost a bucket list of sorts...

    she also helps people along the way, like her seemingly bratty middle teenaged son (BRILLIANTLY played by Gabriel Basso) be prepared for the next chapter of his life after she passes, to an overweight student (played by precious' Gabourey Sidibe) who she wants to help lose weight, to the seemingly crabby old lady across the street(Phyllis Somerville), whom she develops a close friendship with, to the idiot husband (played by Oliver Platt) whom you see has an amazing heart and finally her tree hunger nature loving brother John Benjamin Hickey who changes his idiotic ways.

    from the start of the pilot to the ending of season 1 I was there for the laughs and the emotional moments of one of the BEST shows on television this season.

    now I will admit this show is very emotional to me at times because I had two family member I care(d) deeply about go through cancer, with one losing their battle, so I cant not think of them when watching the show, but I still think its emotional, and definitely recommend it to anyone that has either gone through cancer in some way or want a show with fabulous acting by a wonderful cast.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm not being eccentric when I say this but Showtime continues its streak. It takes these really delicate and wacko subjects and somehow makes light of them in a humorous, creative and entertaining way. I only wish that Dead Like Me got more of an audience - that show rocked.

    Anyhow - only recently becoming a Laura Linney fan, this is her finest acting to date. Saw her in other movies and was just icked out by her. In this role she's just incredible and carries the show singlehandely. Her homeless brother and the fat girl charity case definitely add to the fun - but Oliver Platt's character and the son could use some human side to them...there's a selfish and childish factor that at some point need to change or else the show goes sour. I'm unsure if I'm with the "her not telling people" thing. I can make a case for it and against it. But it's just weird. It makes for an entertaining show -especially her chemistry with the chick from Precious - gotta love her. Perhaps the writers added the "not telling" thing as lead up to jumping the shark and want to keep it going as long as they reasonably can.

    Not being a TV writer I don't know but the show's got me hooked and 30 minutes isn't enough.
  • When I heard of this show for the first time I was skeptical about the fact it's supposed to be a comedy and it's also about cancer. How could cancer and comedy be related? Well this is the perfect example for it. The whole series is a roller-coaster of emotions. One minute you laughing out loud and the next minute you feel like crying. You get very attached to the main character Cathy Jamison played beautifully by Laura Linney. This series makes you think about what is essential in life. Is it important to have a lot of money or other material things? No not really, the only thing that matters is your health and being a good person. I really enjoyed this whole show, all actors play their characters very well. The story is well written and keeps you bonded with the characters during the whole series. Certainly worth a watch.
  • tsameshi4 August 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    We just got Netflex a couple weeks ago & I've discovered a whole new world of TV shows that I've never heard of but love. I'm not sure we get them in Canada.

    To Kla46, who thought the show was unrealistic & that someone could not pull off keeping such a secret. I have an old friend, who I knew in elementary school, that kept her cancer a secret from everyone til the week she landed in the hospital & died shortly after. She kept it secret for over 2 years!!! She had a son, husband, 2 siblings, father & extended family who never knew til that last week.

    I love the show because the character is doing things that are so different from how I think I would act. Cathy is so funny, annoying but endearing. Laura Linney is doing an amazing acting job.

    My favourite character is her grumpy neighbour, Marlene. I love her straight forward talk. When she slapped some sense into Cathy, she became my hero.

    I have 3 more episodes to watch but I had to come on here to find out more about the actors. Gotta go watch the rest.
  • From the pilot I just watched, this show has an embarrassment of riches. Laura Linney is excellent as Cathy Jameson. She Plays a woman that has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and expresses a plethora of emotions. Oliver Platt as her husband is less defined and is the biggest reason I gave the show an 8, but I'll give the writers the benefit of the doubt, because an actor of his status will add tons to this role if they just give him some latitude. John Benjamin Hickey who plays Cathie's eclectic brother is also under developed but I just have a gut feeling he is going to be great. Based on these three characters the show shows great promise. I could go on about all the sub characters, but give it a chance watch the premiere and get to know them.
  • tanishia-allen26 November 2010
    I happened to come across this show because of a marathon airing on Canada's movie channel and I must say this show is fabulous. Cathy a character you cannot help but fall in love with. Her character gives you hope and lets you see the lighter part of hard situation. I love how she's involved in the aspect of everyone's life and how she's such a caring woman even though she has her own problems. It shows the different emotions of various characters.

    This show is well written, cannot wait to see whats in store for next season. This show will make you laugh and will make you cry. Definitely worth watching.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was a bit worried about watching this because I thought it was going to be depressing and a constant downer, given it's premise, but it turned out to be a really good show.

    Not to say it isn't depressing, there are most definitely moments, but overall it's more funny or drama filled.

    Towards the end of the season, Cathy's (Laura Linney) selfishness starts to get really annoying as it starts to dramatically impact the people around her but then changes a couple of episodes before the finale, which has some amazing scenes!

    It has a really good cast with heaps of guest stars (including Cynthia Nixon, Idris Elba and Liam Neeson just to name a few), has a good story to it and feels real, like it could be a real life look into a persons life and their struggles with cancer, instead of being some showy TV series.

    Will definitely be watching the next season. Would most definitely recommend.
  • The Big C has it's moments when you can just let go and laugh but the majority of the time it revels in its own sadness. It would be difficult for a show that is based on this subject matter to not be somewhat depressing but overall there are moments of light. Although it can be quite dark that does not mean that it's not an entertaining show. It's very insightful and seems quite realistic. I know if I found out I had cancer I might behave this way.

    I personally think this show only needed 2-3 seasons max as it got a little slow towards the end but it was still pretty good. But honestly give it a chance as it is quite inspiring. Other peoples sadness and misfortune has a way of making you reflect on your own life and realise what you truly have.
  • angie_l14 January 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    When I first heard about this show, I thought I would never like it. I thought the concept to be a bit... off. However, it works. It can be hard for me to write about shows or movies I like. Yes, it's sad that I find it easier to critique than praise.

    What I like about the show is even though some of the situations verge on ridiculous, it doesn't feel like it can't be real. However, when the ridiculous happens or a character makes a huge mistake, it is never magically forgotten or glazed over. There are always consequences, real tough consequences. Other characters reactions to situations are realistic too - you're never wondering, why is he not mad. It is a tightly written show that is often fearless; affairs, dementia, bi-polar disorder, cancer. With all of that, the show still manages to stay funny and not offensive, in my opinion.

    The characters are fully fleshed out and flawed. The acting is also great doesn't just give the character's life but the whole show. Many times I am looking at Cathy thinking "What are you doing? You are being selfish." But I can understand why she is doing it. You are emotionally invested in their stories; their ups, downs, stumbles, and triumphs.

    The show is funny, enjoyable, well acted, and well written. I can imagine that the type of humor isn't for anyone but it works for me.

    Spoiler (sort of): I have to write this shout out to the show. Cathy is worried about her son, Adam, and whether or not he has empathy. So she is trying to test him and suggests a family movie. They watch 'Where the Red Fern Grows.' Afterwards Paul, Cathy's husband, is sobbing and proclaims it is the saddest bleeping movie ever. I couldn't stop laughing because in my fifth grade class, we read the book and then watched the movie. I was a 10 year old sitting in class trying not to bawl my eyes out at that movie - at that age I would have never lived it down. I have often said my school system used the movie 'Where the Red Fern Grows' to weed out the psychopaths.

    Edit: There is a review that last time I looked was below mine and it says the show is for spoiled housewives that don't work. No house wife who spends her day cooking, cleaning, taking care of the bills and the children should ever be called spoiled and be implied to be lazy, it is hard work. The point is meaningless anyway since the main character does work, she is a high school history teacher and not just a summer school teacher.
  • This is - by a mile - my current favourite TV show. We've just finished Series Three in the UK, with the fourth and final series starting next week. A comedy about a woman with a terminal cancer diagnosis is clearly trespassing on the very edge of taste, but THE BIG C is much more - or much less - than a comedy. It's a family drama that balances - perfectly, in my view - on the fine line between comedy and tragedy.

    As Cathy and Paul Jamison, Laura Linney and Oliver Platt give beautifully judged performances. Cathy is feisty and independent, but also frightened and needy. Paul is supportive despite going through a health and career crisis of his own - not to mention a bad dose of the Seven (14) Year Itch. All Paul's problems coalesced in Series Three when he hooked up with lifestyle guru Susan Sarandon (she was sublime!) who threw him a career lifeline and then - literally - grabbed him by the balls. John Benjamin Hickey as Cathy's retro-hippy brother Sean is a clever variant on WILL AND GRACE's ditzy friend Karen. Series Three gave Sean his best plot line when (though straight) he took over a gay phone-sex line and then became the playmate of a bi couple. Cathy and Paul's teenage son Adam (Gabriel Basso) is almost a twist on Edina's painfully normal daughter Saffy in AB-FAB. As an ongoing character I don't think Gabourey Sidibe's Andrea works as well as Phyllis Somerville's Marlene whom she replaced; dead Marlene intermittently haunts Cathy much as Nate Fisher was haunted by his dad in SIX FEET UNDER - before he turned into a ghost himself.

    The Jamisons, for me, are the most endearing family since the weird and wacky Fishers; I wish they - and the Fishers! - lived on my street. The last episode of SIX FEET UNDER was one of the greatest hours of television drama, brilliantly inventive, deeply human, intensely moving. I don't know how Series Four of THE BIG C will end, but I'm guessing Cathy will somehow sail off into another sunset, much as she swam into one this week. No Spoilers, please, from US viewers - I'm happy to wait and see!
  • keithsealy20 September 2010
    I like Laura Linney and liked the initial premise of the story. I am married to someone with a terminal disease and cancer runs in my family. But, after giving this three episodes, I gave up.

    The problem I have is that the main character is a passive-aggressive narcissist. She has cancer, and is dying, and that gives her the right to be somewhat off-center, but that doesn't make her interesting to watch. Also, I get the impression she has always been somewhat of an unpleasant person and the cancer has just given her an excuse to be even more unpleasant. In the end, I just can't get into characters like this. I am sure some people will love the series, and the production value is very high... but I wonder if it will find an audience.
  • This new series "The Big C" is very relative and really touching as thru most of everyone's life they have known someone who has lived with cancer or died from it. However in most cases the affected just drag along and stay depressed and live down in the dumps, however this series shows a different side of the life it proves when affected one can live life to the fullest! It centers around Cathy Jamison(played wonderful by Laura Linney) who as a divorced single mother living in suburban Minneapolis makes a buck by teaching high school receives horrible news. Cathy has just been diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, and up until that point Cathy has always lived life uptight now it's time to let her spirits fly open with fun! Because already she's got problems galore first she's just recently divorced from her ex husband Paul(Oliver Platt)and it's her goal to get him into a session of couples therapy! And it's going to be a big job seeing her son Adam(Gabriel Basso)who's a slacker finish his high school days. Cathy's also motivated to help an overweight student Andrea(Gabourey Sidibe) lose weight and feel good about herself plus Cathy has a homeless brother she has to help and she also contends with an old boss and rude next door neighbor.

    Still Cathy sees thru all the drama and problems as she seeks out pleasures and joys of life doing small simple things that make her happy. And too she goes after some big things like buying material things, exploring new love I guess you must when you don't have long to live. She's really lightened up and became a fun free spirited seeker. Overall this is not a series of tragedy to much drama mixed with fun laughs is provided yet it's message is clear live life to the fullest because it's short you never know when a deadly disease like the big c can strike to shorten it.
  • I'm giving it 7 because from the pilot it has a lot of potential, and hopefully will mature nicely. Some bits were very very funny, some bits tried hard but weren't funny.

    The son and husbands characters need to be refined because they were not quite there, but Laura Linney was very good and plays the lead role well. The the emotion and reactions seemed believable, i hope that it doesn't try and jam morals down the viewers throat (eg. scrubs) because it is clever enough to do more than that.

    I'm going to watch the next one with interest and hope it goes up to a 9/10.
  • Interesting subject but unrealistically dealt with. I know everyone deals with death and dying in different ways but this is just trivialized. I have cancer and find this ridiculous. Granted no one would watch a show that realistically dealt with the subject it would be just too depressing. There certainly can be humorous moments and I can understand her decision to make radical changes in her life. But the show does not deal with the moments that are depressing and when you doubt the point of going on. Nor does it deal with the pain or discomfort, or those days you look like hell. Like so much of what is on TV and in the media it provides people with a model of behavior. A " how to" guide for dealing with life's complexities. And like most of the models provided to the masses it is totally superficial. This is not to say that the show does not have entertainment value, just so long as people realize this is completely unrealistic.
  • This is quite simply put "trash". If you're a fan for shows like Weeds, Nurse Jackie etc then this is not for you, wait if you're a fan of quality then this is not for you. Awful may not be the word but sure is the feeling you get with this show, though Laura Linney is quite the acting talent I would not recommend this to her fans while the rest of the cast is "ok" the only name worth mentioning is Oliver Platt's. The basis of this show is how you would alter your life if you only had a set time left on this blue ball we call earth the answer, irrational, amoral and for lack of a better word "unfunny". In retrospect the foundation of this story might have had potential but the execution was just horrible. The protagonist (Laura) is not funny and to be honest not very easy to like. While we watch how someone goes from good house wife to some common two bit "ho" relying on her disease as justification throughout the series. Simply put this show lacks major continuity and we find ourselves looking at the umpteenth show destined to be cancelled and forgotten but in this case I welcome it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Well, after hanging in there this far into Season 3, I think I'm about done with The Big C after the young couple has decided that Cathy and Paul would be perfect adoptive parents for their baby. You have got to be kidding me -- what a stupid and completely unrealistic plot twist. Besides, I've had enough of seeing those two raise an a-hole of a son . . . why in the world would I want to see them start from scratch with someone else's child. Yeech.

    I'm tired of every character in this show -- some I had a hard time tolerating from the start, and others who have become unbearable especially this season. I miss Cynthia Nixon in the roll of her good friend (although her relationship with Cathy's brother was ridiculous), as well as Marlene -- the cranky neighbor lady who they killed off at the end of Season 1.

    Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful that Showtime, HBO, and the other cable TV outlets do original programming, because there hasn't been a single show on Network TV that I've liked for many years. That having been said, I think they should be careful about not wearing out their welcome with shows that are ill-conceived or that stay on long after the writing has ceased to be decent. The Big C is already in this category, and I find myself hoping that Cathy's melanoma makes a comeback pretty quickly.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Love Laura Linney the actress, but I don't like the main character. I think she is ridiculously selfish. She is always doing really impulsive things. When I learned she wanted to adopt a baby I was furious ...for her kids sake, for the baby's sake, for her husbands sake...But when she pulled out that gun after she was duped I must say hallelujah!!!!Having had a birth mom totally take my husband and I to the cleaners, for 10,000... I felt like finally someone wrote how we felt! I wish the real world worked like this show. I would have loved to see her humiliated as we were. I don't have warm fuzzy sweet feelings about her. I hope her karma comes back on her!

    Also loved the Susan Sarandon character. Loved the bus scene with Marlene.It just goes to show that what comes around goes around. (Hope you heard that Coy!))I also understand the bar thing, sometimes a cancer patient must just want to be treated like they are like everyone else. Also love the Jesus freak son story line. Very insightful as to the twists and turns of the reality of a dying parent. There is some real heart to this show, it is a little like 6 feet under. Bravo Showtime!
  • I just finished watching the entire series and have to say I was pulled in from the start and found the show to be incredibly delightful in so many different ways. One minute you're laughing your ass off and the next moment you're fighting back the tears. The character development is phenomenal and the show is so well written as it portrays all sides of life: funny, sad, messy, awkward, raunchy and heart wrenching. Laura Linney's character and her brother were the anchors of the show, they both brilliantly acted their parts and had a strong unbreakable bond you don't fully recognize until the end of the series. It melts your heart. I loved the mix of characters over the course of the series, every character had relevance and depth. I honestly don't have a single bad thing to say about the show. Brilliant!
An error has occured. Please try again.