Precious star Gabourey Sidibe may be best thing about Showtime's The Big C. (full episode here)
LOS ANGELES -- She’s been nominated for an Oscar, hosted Saturday Night Live and shared a stage with Oprah Winfrey.
But when it came time to trade barbs with Laura Linney in Showtime’s latest twisted suburbanite dramedy, The Big C, Gabourey Sidibe found herself in an unusual position: playing the student.
“I never got the chance to go to acting class and so every scene that I’m in with her…I just watch her like a total freak,” said Sidibe, noting Linney’s status as an Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress herself. “I try to be as good as people say I am and…I know it’s weird, but I try to be good for her, you know? Because she’s, like, an amazing actress and I don’t want to mess up her scene.”
Sidibe needn’t worry. Turns out her character, ascerbic high school student Andrea, gives the show’s first episode one of its best scenes – pushing Linney’s exasperated high school teacher Cathy Jamison into delivering the most devastating put down any instructor ever laid on a wayward pupil. (Check it below, full episode further down)
Only the viewer knows the real reason why Linney’s character is so free with sharp opinions; Jamison’s been told by her doctor that she has an advanced skin cancer and less than two years left to live.
The Big C continues Showtime’s tradition of casting actresses of a certain age in bold dramedies featuring supremely dysfunctional families; from Mary-Louise Parker’s drug-dealing suburban mom in Weeds to Toni Collette’s multiple personality mom in The United States of Tara and Edie Falco’s pill-popping, unfaithful mom in Nurse Jackie.
But the biggest danger in such highwire acts is that the characters may seem so selfish, self-centered and grasping, that viewers don’t really care what happens to them. And that, in a short sentence, is what ails The Big C. See if you agree by watching the full episode below, and catch my full review on the ETC page in Sunday's Times.