The Big C

Season 1 Episode 8

Happy Birthday, Cancer

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Oct 11, 2010 on Showtime
out of 10
User Rating
63 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

For her birthday, Paul surprises Cathy with a party just when Lenny has invited her to an art opening on the Bahamas. At the party, Cathy's brother begins a fling with Cathy's eccentric college friend Rebecca. Meanwhile, Adam picks up Marlene who is wandering around in the backyard.moreless

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  • Best Episode so Far!

    I'm a big fan of your reviews JackBauer, but I do not agree with you on that one.

    I think the show does a pretty good job by not going too far on the cancer side.

    It's a half hour dramedy, and the problem with that format: it does not support well the drama parts.

    I think that's why Califonication does so great, and why Hung and Bored to Death did not, by being too serious on their last seasons...

    Half hour shows work best when they're mixing more humor than drama. When things go too seriously (like Breaking Bad) it's only good for one hour shows, where everything is more complicated, with more dramatic repercussions, and more psychological insights.

    Breaking Bad couldn't be a half hour show like this one.

    That's why i think The Big C, despite is high possibility to go into the drama form, should stick with lightness, play with comic situations, and keep the characters far from the pathos, that the cancer will provide.

  • I'm willing to ignore the enormous cop-out of last week, but only because this episode had some strong acting and writing.

    I was furious with the show last week for taking a superb episode and ruining it by hinting at the fact that Kathy would tell Sean about her cancer. If the show continues to do this all the time, I'll lose all hope. However, I must put my frustrations aside and say one thing: this episode was great. There was a great guest star in Cynthia Nixon, some great character interactions and just overall good writing.

    It's Cathy's birthday, and while she's tempted to join Lenny on his trip to the Bahamas as a treat to herself, things take a turn towards the unexpected after Paul throws her a surprise party. To make things more awkward, Lenny shows up to pick up Cathy for the Bahamas and meets Paul. And the icing on the cake is that Cathy's best friend from college arrives and begins drawing out Cathy's more impulsive side.

    The episode was what I call "controlled chaos." There was a lot going on, but Darlene Hunt slowly helped it unfold in a way that wasn't overwhelming. For a character we've never met, Cathy's college friend (played perfectly by Cynthia Nixon) takes on a personality of her own, and with just a few scenes, we feel as if we already know her. And as for Paul and Lenny, we had a great conversation between them, and despite Paul's stupidity at times, he really does seem to love Cathy. However, it may be too little too late. The ending of the episode was superb, and Oliver Platt should seriously be considered for a possible Emmy nomination after this.

    Marlene's decreasing mental functioning seems strange but I have a feeling it'll take the show to interesting places. Also, Sean and Cathy's friends little love tryst in the basement should have some repercussions as well. And I must admit, I didn't know what to think of Lenny at first, but Idris Elba is doing a good job with the role. I must say, the show is going in promising places, but I hope the show will expand on the cancer idea. They did a good job of this starting off the season, but the show's felt a little all over the place lately. More Cathy, more cancer, less fooling with the audience!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Cathy: What's it feel like to be old, Marlene?
      Marlene: Feels like I'm wearing my skin like a sweater.

    • Cathy: (talking about Adam) Is he a good kid, Marlene? I just want him to be a good kid.
      Marlene: He's fine. You're the pain in the ass.

    • Paul: Thank you, Cathy, for being born. Since her birthday is in July, she's a cancer... a crab. And Cathy can be a little crabby at times, especially in the morning and whenever I chew my food. But underneath that sometimes hard exterior shell, there is a soft, warm, incredible person whom this big Taurus bull has been lucky to love and will continue to for the rest of our long lives. Happy birthday, my little cancer.
      Marlene: Well, ain't that a kick in the head.

    • Rebecca: I-I-I am so sorry we haven't been in touch. I-I can't even remember what our falling out was about. I'm... I'm sure it was my fault.
      Cathy: You didn't come to my wedding. You met that guy three days before and went camping. Wouldn't have been so bad if you weren't the maid of honor.

    • Cathy: (to Lenny) You're a bad idea with a good head on your shoulders.

    • Rebecca: You have so many friends here. It makes me feel bad. I don't know the people in your life anymore.
      Cathy: Oh, well, they're not friends the way we were friends. Coworkers of Paul's, a lot of parents of Adam's friends. I mean, Adam's unknowingly been choosing my friends since he was two.

    • Sean: (to Rebecca) Nice red leather shoes you're wearing. Tell me you enjoy thinking about the cow that was skinned to make them, or do you just block that part out for the sake of being fashion-forward?

    • Sean: Curse words were invented by people too stupid to think of an intelligent response.
      Rebecca: You should print that on a t-shirt.

    • Sean: Oh, you're a drug pusher.
      Rebecca: You do know me.
      Sean: Yeah, you're the reason nine-year-old girls are getting boobs.
      Rebecca: And the reason nine-year-old boys are thanking me.

    • Sean: What about you? Just getting old and angry, trying to squeeze into clothes meant for a woman half your age, but not willing to change your style until one of your one-night stands pays off?
      Rebecca: Oh, here's hoping.

    • Lenny: I like Paul.
      Cathy: He's very likable.
      Lenny: Yeah. He's funny, charming.
      Cathy: If you take Paul to the Bahamas, I'm gonna be very jealous.

  • NOTES (3)