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Laura Linney's The Big C gets Showtime pickup

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 8th 2010 1:15PM
the_big_c_laura_linneyWhen I first heard the title of Laura Linney's new show for Showtime, I thought it was going to be something salacious. Well, I was wrong. It's about cancer. And now Showtime has greenlit The Big C, placing an order for 13 episodes.

The title, actually, is altered from the original announcement. Instead of The C-Word, it's now The Big C. Linney's character is a wife and mother who is diagnosed with cancer and her life is dramatically altered.

That sounds like a simple -- perhaps obvious -- situation. However, cancer is something that has touched nearly everybody's life in some way and The Big C should have instant universal appeal.

It will also have Laura Linney, one of the best actresses in the business, a three time Emmy winner. She's going to be producing this series, as well, her co-star is Oliver Platt, and Oscar-winner Bill Condon (for Gods and Monsters) directed the pilot.

According to Showtime prez Robert Greenblatt, "The character and her journey are complex, requiring layered nuances of comedy and drama which I believe no one else could do better than Laura."

I'm really curious to see if The Big C breaks new ground in the depiction of cancer from the patient's point of view. Even a show like Brothers and Sisters has leaned on familiar patterns in storytelling to dramatize Kitty's bout with lymphoma. What do I mean by familiar? She shaved her head because she was losing it after starting chemotherapy (then wore a skin-cap to show baldness); the chemotherapy was shown in one session that was not particularly clinical or tedious, which it is; the after-effects were the usual vomiting; the bounce back was pretty quick. All of these scenes are now tropes, as is the way Kitty has had a bone marrow transplant and appears to be on the road to recovery.

My point is not to knock Brothers and Sisters. I like the show. It's just that every cancer journey is different and not typical. Hopefully, The Big C will capture that truth and not just serve up a too-familiar variation.

The Big C will debut in the fall.

Oh, one last thought: Showtime has some of the industry's best actresses working for them right now. Have you noticed? Think about it: Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Toni Collette (United States of Tara), Mary Louise Parker (Weeds), Tracey Ullman and the ladies on The L Word.

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I think it should be called The C-Card.

January 09 2010 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Argus's comment

That makes no sense.

January 10 2010 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe, just maybe, it does... and you simply don't understand the reference? Don't be so quick to judge.

"The C-Card" is a term which many cancer patients use when describing how they used their cancer to gain some sort of advantage. For instance, not having to wait in line at the movies. It's a term of empowerment and would suit the vibe of the show from what I've read of it so far.

January 10 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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