Friday, July 1, 2011

Living vicariously through television

“You heard me. If you’re going to dish it out, you gotta be able to lick it up. Fat people are jolly for a reason. Fat repels people but joy attracts them. Now, I know everyone’s laughing at your cruel jokes, but nobody is inviting you to the prom, so you can either be fat and jolly, or a skinny bitch. It’s up to you. – Laura Linney as Cathy Jamison in season 1 of The Big C

Over this fine summer break I had the pleasure of curiously going through what shows were OnDemand. Coming across The Big C on Showtime, I remembered Laura Linney winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical (now we have to have a musical category since the creation of Glee) or Comedy Series for that exact show. After seeing Love Actually and falling in love with Linney’s character (she’s the one who is in love with Carl and has a very dependent brother) and then seeing her play Abigail Adams in the John Adams miniseries I thought I’d give the show a try. I must say I am extremely glad I did.

The first season aired last summer so I had all 13 episodes to my disposal and I will proudly admit, I finished in three days. The quote you see above is from the very first episode where you find out that a suburban wife and mother is diagnosed with stage 4-melanoma cancer. If you don’t know, stage 4 is the worst stage of cancer and melanoma is what I understand is an intense skin cancer (yes I clarified this information as I am not in the medical field but my sister is so there you go). To get to the point, Cathy gets pretty much 1-year to live and her whole life changes. It’s hilarious. Now it may sound bad of me to call this show, which has its moments of sadness, a funny show about cancer, but that is its exact goal. It shows a great perspective of someone who has cancer and how life changes. I will warn you, after the first episode, she has yet to tell her family and so it is a nice journey to figure out if she ever does (which may explain why I watched it so fast).

The reason I have inserted the quote above (actually watch Linney’s brilliance of the scene here) is because 1. I died of laughter and 2. I think it does a good job of showing how Cathy acts now. After learning about Cathy’s uptight personality as the show progresses, I believe she would not have said this to an obese teenager. After being diagnosed with this life threatening disease, Cathy is more honest, actually speaking her mind. This totally shows how cancer can sometimes wake up a person and gives them a restart in their life. For example, without ruining too much, Cathy does the following in season 1: wants to build a pool in a yard that is too small, she buys a convertible on the spot and in the funniest scene of the season she shoots a school bus with a paintball gun. I recommend through illegal download, illegal websites or if you have access to Showtime OnDemand to watch this very funny show. I have strong predictions that the show and Linney will be up for an Emmy (which are announced July 14) and Linney has a good chance of winning it.

With that, the first episode of the second season aired this past Monday, June 27 and I will say I was pleasantly happy. The show did not lose its gusto or its comedic feel, picking up right where it left off. The supporting characters, like Cathy’s husband, brother and son (who is actually in Super 8 and fantastic in it), are extremely funny and do a good job. But with no hesitation do I say Linney carries and owns this show. I come back every week to watch her and the things that she does. I sometimes wish I myself would be a little more spontaneous or doing something a little more dangerous like Cathy. But that is one reason why we have television because we get to live vicariously through these fictional characters.

And that concludes my first television post, but alas not without a few side notes on summer television.
1. If you are frustrated with the crap that is on network TV in the summer I give you So You Think You Can Dance. It. Is. Awesome. Shout out to J Co who made me watch the top-20 and elimination show. I am now hooked. I will here and now declare Melanie will win. She is by far my favorite. Watch here and you’ll understand why.
2. If you still have downtime after watching awesome dancers, I give you three shows to watch on Netflix instant play (if you don’t have this get it, it’s amazing). So either watch Arrested Development, Friday Night Lights or Parks and Recreation. You’ll scream in rage when you finish all 3 seasons of AD and realize that’s it, you’ll fall in love with Matt Saracen in FNL (the final season is airing now on Friday night’s at 7 p.m. on NBC) and just get past season 1 of Parks (which is only 6 episodes) and then you’ll thank me after you watch season 2.
3. And my finally, a photo was released a couple days ago from the set of Dexter. I don’t know about you, but should I feel bad when I root for this guy that’s killing people? Who cares, can’t wait for season six, the quality of guest actors is great. Check out the guest actors and photo here.

 With that I say…  live long and prosper.

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