I’ve just watched the first episode of ‘The big C’ – a blockbuster series run by Showtime about cancer. It’s clearly written by people who’ve never had terminal cancer or they wouldn’t be around to write the script.
If it was meant to be funny I didn’t get the joke. I think Americans are funniest when in British terms they ‘take the piss’ out of trying to be funny.
It’s about a woman, played by US star Laura Linney, who dominates every scene. It’s in part a beauty and the beast, story. She is beautiful and her husband is the ugliest, least appealing spouse I’ve ever seen on a series. OK, she threw him out, but she touches him during the program which makes me cringe. The most believable moment is the description of him pissing on the lawn drunk and playing video games with his friends.
Her son, beast two, is the quintessential spoiled brat who adds to our stereotype of US children. He thinks it’s funny to pretend to cut off his finger when chopping a carrot. Since he does little else to help out, it’s unrealistic that he would help out with lunch.
Beast three is her brother who eats from trash cans to save the planet.
In the meantime, a handsome young doctor has diagnosed our star with melanoma.
Just like doctors do (sic) he takes her out to lunch and tells her she is the first patient he has told that has cancer.
OK, this is a little unreal, but it’s Hollywood and we know reality stops at their border. But it is supposed to be about the humorous side of cancer. Is this funny?
1. She tells no one about her cancer.
2. She refuses treatment
3. She builds an illegal pool in her backyard. It has to be finished immediately because she will be dead soon.
4. She begins to tell people exactly what she thinks about them.
5. Her major reason for refusing chemo is her love of her long hair.
6. For some reason, she feels inclined to show people her beautiful breast. Perhaps the breast cancer has yet to be revealed.
After 13 years with cancer (on and off) I’ve had those tell no-one moments. They last a few seconds and then it all blurts out. I don’t mean to generalize but the chemo day centre is not full of patients with tape over their mouths and the large number of cancer blogs around indicates the opposite of silent victims.
I have a few friends who refused treatment. Most of them did it at a late stage when they’ve simply had enough. Without being flippant, when you refuse treatment, death follows. A few slip through – possibly due to a faulty diagnosis – but more die without treatment than with it. Most of us with children, at whatever stage of life, or however bratty we have become, do not want to die.
Saving your hair is not a primary reason for refusing chemo. Women are not happy about it but give us a break we are not that narcissistic. Men are feckless; women self-absorbed; children spoiled brats. Maybe no treatment is a smart way out.
Telling people off in a sarcastic nasty way is probably not the best card to play when you are first diagnosed. ‘The Big C’ and Laura Linney will find that they need all the friends they can get, even the fat, flippant ones.
I’m on my way back to London now, without access to ‘The Big C’. I will miss it, my hour to snigger.