The Big C: Karma Is a Bus

The Big C S03E08: “Killjoy”

Today’s lesson: Don’t mess with the Cancer Lady.

I’ve been hard on Cathy this season, mostly because so many of her actions haven’t made sense and she really HAS acted pretty incredibly selfish and nearsighted. But man, it was nice to see her get a little revenge on those who've ACTUALLY wronged her lately. I’m all for being a crazy-eyed lunatic when the situation calls for it.

Being scammed by a pair of awful human beings with a penchant for lying REALLY well? That’s an appropriate situation.

Cathy drove Maxine and Dave out to the middle of nowhere under the pretense of giving them the Mustang when she randomly pulled over and revealed that she knew they were lying about Maxine being preggers. She forced them to strip down to their skivvies (at gunpoint, no less!) and fired a warning shot into the trees—just to make sure they were taking her seriously—before packing up their discarded clothes and driving home. Bad. Ass.

Paul took a more conventional approach to vengeance and vowed to sue the criminal couple for everything they were worth (which, realistically, probably isn’t very much) and there was some obligatory arguing between Paul and Cathy over the fact that Paul was more upset over having lost a huge chunk of cash than having lost out on being a parent to Maxine and Dave’s baby. Paul argued that they'd actually HAD the money, whereas they'd never actually had the baby, which led to more arguing about how all Paul cared about was his career. Paul and Cathy were both right, in their own way. I’m just glad the baby storyline is finally over. I was never wild about it. You can’t just replace your sullen teenage child with a shiny new baby, Cathy.

In the wake of losing out on the non-existent newborn, Cathy seemed to have a renewed interest in actually parenting the kid she has, which was refreshing and wonderful and oh, Adam has reached new heights of being unbearable, hasn’t he? He gave Cathy a grown-up lecture after walking in on her smoking a joint. It was amusing for about ten seconds before I was reminded of what an obnoxious little ass Adam has morphed into this season.

And Cathy totally called it, “Everything that comes out of your mouth has an air of self-righteousness.”

Thank you, Cathy. Now fix it. That was a good start. I have faith in you. Only a little so far, but it’s there.

I lost faith in Paul as soon as Joy started flirting with him, though, and my lack of faith was totally vindicated when he started flirting back. And by flirting, I mean grabbing her ass, which is actually a few steps above flirting in my opinion and definitely in no way “innocent.” To be fair to Paul, he'd found a matchbook for the Naked Turtle, that bar that Cathy likes to hang out in and pretend to be a widow named Alexis. He met “Alexis’s” friends and found out about her “dead” husband and that had to have been a pretty stunning blow.

Still, the appropriate response was NOT to initiate cheating. Did you learn NOTHING from your past, Paul? NOTHING?

I was pulling for a heart-to-heart chat. I really was. I just want to know how Cathy justifies her behavior. I can theorize to myself all I want: It’s an escape, it’s a game, it's proof that she’s an awful human being, etc. but Cathy really impressed me in “Killjoy” and I’d like to hear her side of the story.

But Paul and Joy’s illicit liaison was never meant to be. After Ababu spilled the beans about Joy and Paul’s weird vibes and Cathy herself stumbled upon a damning email from Joy in Paul’s inbox, she tracked Joy down to confront her about her advances on Paul. Joy laid out some pretty brutal truths: Cathy is a downer. Cathy is selfish. Cathy is driving her family away. While that’s all pretty much true, it doesn't give Joy an excuse to sleep with Cathy's husband. As a result of her not-okay advances and horrible rationalization of the cheating, I officially welcomed Joy into the Everyone on This Show is a Terrible Human Being Club.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even have time to put her welcome package together because in the midst of their heated argument, Joy ignored the cardinal rule of crossing the street and got plowed over by a bus. Marlene (Hi, Marlene! I miss you!) exited the bus and serenely said, “Some people miss the bus. Some people not so much.” Karma, kids, it’ll lay the smackdown on you eventually. So go forth and be nice to children, always tip well, and whatever you do, don’t try to sleep with the Cancer Lady’s husband.

I swear, every week, this show finds a new way to make me scratch my head and ask, “Who DOES that?”

Comments (3)
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Jun 05, 2012
This show has lost me this season. Really do not enjoy the brothers story-lines at all.

The sex stuff is over the top and weird.

I cannot stand Cathy anymore. I liked her the first two seasons.

For me I have to like someone to watch the show. I am not liking anyone on this show anymore, well I like Marlene, but even her appearance is this killjoy episode was not right.

What was she saying? That Joy deserved to get hit by the bus. I consider Cathy at fault on this one. I liked Joy. Yes she should not of come on to Paul, but in the scheme of Cathy's stuff, really you guys, really you think Joy is bad? Wow that is hypocritical for sure.

Her and Paul did not actually do anything. You could see why he was considering it when Joy kept building him up and Cathy is so mean and negative and yes very very selfish.

I never liked Adam, and I really can't stand him now. I stopped watching episode 3 this year, but then all my shows ended so I caught up in a night on 4-8. Confirming my losing interest in the show. I would be surprised if this gets another season. I know they had a 4-5 year plan for the show. Unless they start to pull all these wacky threads together in some kind of cohesive interesting story, it will be toast.
Jun 04, 2012
I hope that Joy speaks to Cathy as Marlene has so many times after her death, because it doesn't seem to me that Cathy has learned from her anything like she has with Marlene and Lee. The creator in an interview mentioned that she enjoyed killing Joy because she felt that her philosophy about pronouncing Cathy as defective just because she was sick was troublesome to say the least. I think that's an interesting perspective. Cathy does have her issues, but I think that she's only human and given how much death and separation she's had to witness throughout the series it's only reasonable that she's gone a little nuts, and what's more, I personally think it's admirable that at least she goes ahead and acts out rather than sitting around feeling sorry for herself.

I personally never thought of it as selfish that Cathy wanted to adopt. The selfish thing--no, just the truly inconsiderate thing--was that she did it without consulting Adam about how he would feel about it. It's understandable how little thought she put into it because she didn't want anyone to lose her motivation because she felt it would give her life so much meaning, and she was probably scared that people would try to sap that away from her, but I don't think she understands how much she probably hurt Adam.

I'm still not sure how to interpret Joy's philosophy concerning "negative energy." I'm more of the belief that every emotion in the human arsenal is natural and useful, and honestly I think the way that Joy said, "Well, okay, Cathy's selfish, so it's okay for me to sex up her husband," was incredibly self-righteous and also pretty b****y. Did she love her life so much because she was honestly onto something, or was she just dealt a better hand than Cathy? I for one kind of hope she was onto something, and that Cathy manages to learn it, because she definitely deserves a little more joy.
Jun 05, 2012
That would be pretty awesome if Joy stuck around for a bit like Marlene. I liked Joy so much, but her justification for cheating with Paul was just...not okay. Something like that is just inexcusable and cruel. She made some good points about Cathy, and honestly, I agreed with a lot of her points, but it still doesn't make it okay for her to sleep with Cathy's freaking husband.

Inconsiderate is definitely a good word to describe Cathy's desire to adopt. It just rubbed me the wrong way on so many levels. Definitely the way it hurt Adam, but also the fate of whatever child she potentially adopted. The brutal truth of Cathy's condition is that she's NOT 100% healthy and I just don't think it would be fair to that child to adopt him or her when there is a very real chance that Cathy wouldn't live to see the child grow to adulthood. I lost a parent when I was a kid and the fact that I had an amazing dad (assuming Cathy would be an amazing mom, and I really do think that she was a great parent to Adam until recently) didn't make losing him at a young age any less of a horrible experience. I just can't fathom how anyone would want to risk putting a child through that to satisfy her own desires. It just seemed really cruel to me.

Joy's energy philosophy was interesting considering the thing that finally killed her was just a random accident. She spent most of their argument talking about how Cathy's negativity was ruining her life (and in some ways, it definitely was) and then held herself up as a shiny example of "doing it right" and having a great life because she surrounded herself with positive energy...only to die by some random happenstance. It definitely vindicated Cathy a little bit...though I do wish she would be a little more positive herself.
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