The Big C Closes Out With Optimistic Final Words

By Kelly West 2013-05-21 09:38:42 discussion comments
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Read and look no further if you haven't seen the series finale The Big C! Spoilers ahead!



The video above features The Big C executive producer Jenny Bicks as she discusses Cathy's last words in The Big C's finale, which aired last night. The series finale focused on a number of topics, among which was the "last words" subject, which Cathy broached as she pondered what her own final words should be. Understandably, that topic was given a lot of thought by Bicks when she was writing the episode.

"I was writing, writing writing, and I'm thinking, I'm coming up to that place, where I'm going to have to think about what her last line is, and I don't know what it should be," Bick said. "Because it has to have all this meaning. And I was writing about her feeling lucky about being around all of her family, and I wrote 'Lucky Me' and I thought, you know, that's kind of great. And there was an optimism to it that I liked. But we also knew we didn't want to play it as the typical last line, where literally she says it and then dies. It's only in retrospect that you realize she has said it."

"Lucky me" seems like a fitting set of final words for Cathy, whose story has had its ups and downs as she and her family came to grips with her diagnosis and accepted that her life was drawing to a close.

Death is a topic frequently addressed in TV dramas, often used as a method of writing out characters, or adding a grievous occasion to the plot. Few dramas have addressed the subject as directly as The Big C. Six Feet Under, Dead Like Me, and - in some ways - The Walking Dead are the other recent series that come to mind when considering shows that have taken a dramatic approach to mortality. For The Big C, the subject was addressed through Laura Linney's character Cathy, a wife, mother and school teacher whose life is turned upside down when she learns she has terminal cancer. It's a dark subject, and one that hits close to home for anyone who has had cancer or lost someone to it.

Thanks to the writing and an outstanding cast of actors - led by the excellent Laura Linney - the series managed to approach the subject of cancer with humor and emotion in a way that often left me torn between laughing and crying and usually settling for someplace in between. We knew it probably wasn't likely that Cathy would survive the series, so her death at the end of last night's finale wasn't a big twist. But the series closer did a beautiful job of taking Cathy's story that final step, as she considered her faith, her final words, her relationship with her estranged father and the family and friends she was leaving behind. In that respect, the series closed out sadly, but nicely.

Goodbye The BIg C. And thank you. ("And you're not a loser.")
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