Lin­ney tack­les ‘The Big C’ afresh as Show­time se­ries re­turns

The Daily Herald - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAY BOB­BIN

“The first sea­son was re­ally about her be­ing in de­nial. This sea­son is about her get­ting an­gry.”

So says Laura Lin­ney in re­sum­ing her Golden Globe Award­win­ning por­trayal of wife, mother, teacher and cancer pa­tient Cathy Jami­son as the Show­time com­edy-drama se­ries “The Big C” launches its sec­ond sea­son Mon­day. In­deed, Cathy is now fight­ing mad as she tack­les her ill­ness by un­der­go­ing the treat­ment she pre­vi­ously re­sisted — re­sult­ing in a sort of “hy­per-Cathy,” with an even stronger will than be­fore.

That also means chal­lenges for those clos­est to her, in­clud­ing hus­band Paul (Oliver Platt), son Adam (Gabriel Basso), brother Sean (John Ben­jamin Hickey, a re­cent Tony Award win­ner for “The Nor­mal Heart”) and stu­dent An­drea (Gabourey Sidibe, “Pre­cious”). Sean has even more to con­sider: Cathy’s friend Re­becca (“Sex and the City” alumna Cyn­thia Nixon) is ex­pect­ing his child, and he has vowed to stick by her, likely mean­ing his al­ter­ing his long-non­com­mit­tal life­style.

“It’s tricky, be­cause ev­ery­body changes with the knowl­edge of her cancer,” Lin­ney con­firms, since many oth­ers be­came aware of Cathy’s sit­u­a­tion only in last sea­son’s fi­nale. “Her be­ing open about it and re­ally deal­ing with it changes her attitude to­ward things, and it changes all of her re­la­tion­ships. As hap­pens when some­one has a disease of this na­ture, ev­ery­one who knows the per­son is af­fected.”

As a re­sult, Lin­ney deems the sec­ond round of “The Big C” to be “fan­tas­ti­cally ripe with op­por­tu­ni­ties for the writers and the ac­tors. There’s noth­ing like hav­ing time with peo­ple, work­ing to­gether on a pro­ject. It’s nice to take a break, then re­assem­ble; ev­ery­body knows ev­ery­body a lit­tle bit more and feels more com­fort­able, and you can go forth and be a lit­tle more am­bi­tious. That’s the gift tele­vi­sion gives you that other medi­ums don’t.”

And Lin­ney should know. Also an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of “The Big C,” she also has main­tained ca­reers in film and on­stage, but her home-screen work has re­warded her with three Em­mys thus far ... for “Wild Iris,” “John Adams” and a guest role on “Frasier.”

Page 19 TV Cross­word an­swer: Wil­liam Shat­ner

Laura Lin­ney

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