The Big C

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!

"No thank you, Cathy!"

Cathy weighs her protégé Andrea, who has gained two pounds despite, as she says, starving herself all week. "Fuck that," she spits, and Cathy smiles. "Don't say fuck. And don't starve yourself. That always backfires." Andrea chuckles, sitting down, that binge eating tends to backfire too, but it's at least enjoyable. Cathy weighs herself.

"Do you do any exercise?" Andrea points a toe. "I'm training for a triathlon right now. These are my running shoes," she says, waggling a bedazzled flip-flop. Cathy nods, and tells her walking's just as healthy as jogging; Andrea snarks that she read the same issue of Glamour. Cathy begs her to walk, just anywhere, up and down the street, or at the track, or in place; Andrea agrees because of their deal -- $100 a pound -- but she's fairly sure another bikini season will pass her by. Cathy smiles.

"Bikinis are cruel to almost everyone," Cathy admits, and Andrea's eyebrow shoots up, with a funny grin. "Guess that's why Naked Nancy lets it all hang out." It would seem that, from the school roof, you can see a woman who sunbathes next door, in the nude.

Cathy grabs her cigarettes and heads up there to marvel at Naked Nancy. That beautiful body, unafraid. Mr. Adelman, a fellow teacher, is also enjoying the view. With his pants around his ankles. Cathy is shocked, but smiles to herself. She considers Naked Nancy and how happy her body is, out there in the sun. How lovely she is, down there.

Dr. Miller can't tell her just how long she's got. "Ballpark it," she snorts. "I need to plan my clothing allowance." But melanoma is tricky, it tends to act up. At least a year, possible eighteen months, three to five years is a dim hope. Cathy makes him promise to call her right away if they come up with a cure in the next week: "You call me right away if they did. Don't give that job to a lazy nurse!" (No such thing.)

Cathy says at least her wrinkles won't be getting deeper, so she doesn't have to worry about eye cream, but the fact is -- she never could have known this -- she was looking forward to wrinkles. To the privilege of aging. To gratitude. When he asks her to open her robe she giggles as usual: "Somehow I feel like I'm cheating on my husband. He's actually never seen me naked under fluorescents. I don't think he's ever seen me in direct light of any kind."

Dr. Miller's seen her from the inside out; there's literally no part of her he hasn't seen. It's why she likes him so much: That's not really supposed to be comforting, although he says it to make her comfortable, and she appreciates that. Being seen:

"I saw someone sunbathing naked today. She was in her backyard, but still." All the people that might see you, there in your nakedness, the gas guy checking the meter or a little kid looking for his ball. Or a high school teacher, masturbating. You get so used to your body being everybody else's.

"I hope she was wearing sunscreen," Dr. Miller says, and she turns on him with a moue. "It's probably just a body to you..." Touching and looking at them all day, he probably doesn't even care anymore. It's a cliché and she knows it's a cliché and it's not what she's after, anyway. He falls into her trap immediately; he knows what she's after too. You get so used to your body being everybody else's. Being the doctor's job. Being seen:

"I don't know, I like to think I still have some healthy subjectivity," he says, and she pops her robe open immediately. "What do you think? Compared to the thousands you've seen." He stammers and she laughs at him; he begs her not to do this to him. As a man, as a doctor. "You can't hurt my feelings. Bring it!" She knows. She has to know. Nobody wants to live in a world where women don't know how beautiful they are.

"Cathy, you're... Well above average." For her age? No, he says, greedily, suddenly not stammering at all, for just a second. "Believe me. Because you know, I've seen, and... And you have... Well, you have an awesome rack." He turns away, blushing, and she pokes at his ass with one lovely toe. "I have an 'awesome' 'rack'? You say rack? Really?" Young Dr. Miller. Todd. Teases her about malpractice suits, appropriate boundaries. No such thing. We're all too close, and too far apart.

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The Big C




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