The Big C

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
Come Clean
er for a moment, perhaps wondering why he is friends with this woman, and then confesses to her about Cathy's indiscretion. No mention is made of their own indiscretion; he tells her about the divorce and she puts her drink down, on the bar. "Screw Cathy. It's her loss. I say we drink until we get her off your mind," says Tina. "Get who off my mind?" Paulie giggles, and they toast. But the most interesting part of the conversation, the part that seals the deal, the part that turns the embarrassment and shame of a pot-clouded handjob into just another memory, is the part just before:

"It actually feels really good to talk about, you know? To tell someone, and have them listen."

Sean wants to play the game with Rebecca, in her extended-stay, where she tells him all about how bad she is. He can be superior on the sheets, and smell her perfume; she can tell the truth about the terrible things she does for work, and feel unburdened. The topics stand outside the door, tapping feet and rolling eyes, and they bring them in. Eventually they do come in.

But Rebecca doesn't want to pay, she wants more truth than even that. "Cathy has zapped my libido. She hates the fact that I'm seeing you, and I get it. I haven't seen her for twenty years, and I show up and I start doing whatever we're doing, and I've done this kind of thing before..."

The lie compounds, piles up, makes itself into new shapes. Cathy's lies are a butterfly in Brazil, a tornado in rural Minneapolis: "If we could just make this less just about the sex, I'd feel better. We could nurture our friendship, and then maybe I could repair my friendship with her." When sleeping with Sean, she thinks grimly, was her way of trying to do just that. The way the men between them were a form of communication that Cathy never really understood. The way that they were lies.

Sean nearly cries, frustrated and bored and beautiful in agony, but she tries to have a conversation with him. A smart, successful businesswoman speaking to her boyfriend, her whatever-this-is-friend, about the things we talk about.

"I think iPhones are the new diamonds. Guys give women electronics now for romantic occasions, and it's kind of a shame." It's like talking to a tiger, or a caveman, or however Sean is feeling today: "Gift-giving in general is kind of a shame. Can we at least talk about this with our pants off?"

The Jackson house is beautiful, confusing; it is a bright French blue. Her mother's name is Dorothy, a healthy woman with a ready smile and a twinkle in her eyes when Cathy introduces herself. Her daughter's favorite person in the world. Her father's name is Donovan; in a crisp folk-art apron he's preparing steak. A beautiful upright in the living room, a wall full of graduates, knickknacks, a floorplan not unlike Cathy's own. "So you're her stepdad?" Cathy asks, despite all evidence, and he shrugs, confused.

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The Big C




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