Monday, August 16, 2010

Review - The Big C Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot

It's hard to judge a show like The Big C from the pilot episode. The writers have a limited time to establish a strong main character and what drives him/her. Other elements may be introduced but fall by the wayside in the large shuffle to build a narrative from the ground up in half an hour. The Big C encounters this problem and does not overcome the challenge.

Laura Linney is a force of nature in the pilot. She shows a broad spectrum of emotions and it's hard not to fall in love with her in the first 10 minutes. We see her character, Cathy, splurge on a swimming pool, give her adolescent husband Paul (Oliver Platt) and irritable son Adam (Gabriel Basso), a piece of her mind, let loose on Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe AKA Precious), telling her she can be fat and jolly or a skinny bitch (great line), before finally breaking down in the unfilled hole in her backyard along with her dog. Knowing her life is short, she spends more money than she's used to and that may be fine for the present, but the harsh reality is with her in the end.

The rest of the episode, however, doesn't come close to matching her depth The main plot point in the pilot is that though Cathy is coming to terms with her diagnosis, no one knows other than her doctor. She veils her innermost feelings--as she always has--so her behavioral changes are odd to those who know her. The other characters are nothing more than virtual sounding boards for Cathy. They talk, they interact with her differently, but in the end, it's hard to find the humanity behind them. What does Cathy see in them? What do they see in Cathy?

I watch a couple more episodes to see if more plots develop, but the pilot didn't leave me on the edge of my seat waiting for next week's episode.

Score: 8.4/10
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