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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Big C: “A Little Death”

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When I saw the previews for tonight’s episode last week, I was expecting a much sillier episode, but for a show about an extravagant funeral for a fetus (you know, that old song and dance), it didn’t make me cringe. Well, okay, the composite photos of Baby Cathy throughout the ages was cringe-inducing. As Myk says, “This child looks like an old man. I am uncomfortable.”

Skipping over a little bit of time from last week’s episode, where we saw Rebecca being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, tonight we picked up with Rebecca shopping for a tiny casket for a bifuneral for Baby Cathy. “When I miscarried, I planted a tree,” Cathy says, which is the first of a handful of times this phrase was repeated over the episode, which makes me wonder if this is a thing that people must actually do a lot in real life. “This fetus deserves to be feted!” says Rebecca, who doesn’t seem at all sad, aside from the fact that she’s wearing a bulky sweater instead of one of her slutty businesslady outfits. I wondered if Rebecca’s approach to the death mirrored Cathy’s denial in season one. In the meantime though, Sean’s gone off his meds in order to fully experience all the grief he’s going through.


In order to work through his issues, Sean publishes an obituary in the paper for Baby Cathy, only it becomes apparent that almost everyone assumes that it’s Cathy herself that’s passed away. “Who died?” Adam asks, noting the flowers filling up the house. “Me,” Cathy says. With death in mind, Cathy decides it’s time to start thinking seriously about a funeral plot, so she and Paul settle on an affordable if uneven plot of land (I love Laura Linney and Oliver Platt so much that I thought they even looked adorable together while on their backs at the cemetery).

Along with several of Cathy’s friends, Tina, AKA “rugby slut,” shows up to the funeral. She assumes that Cathy’s dead and she can finally get her claws into Paul. This was the one part of the episode I had some issues with (aside from the baby composites), because after Paul tells her that Cathy’s still alive, why does Tina stick around? And I understand that Cathy probably hates Tina, but weren’t she and Paul separated when they hooked up (and not like Cathy was perfect herself?) At any rate, Cathy promises Tina that when she dies, “I will haunt you.”

In this episode we finally meet Parkey Posey’s character, a woman named Poppy whom Adam meets on a site for kids whose parents have cancer. He realizes that she’s not the 17-year-old he thought she was and seems weirded out by her odd personality (and scars on her arms), but he decides to bring her along to the funeral for shits and giggles. We’ll see what happens with these two.

Finally, Rebecca has enough with Cathy’s friends taking over her funeral and fires Cathy from delivering the eulogy. Cathy delivers it anyway to keep the party together before it disperses, thanks to Sean displaying his bare ass at the podium. With Cathy’s speech, Rebecca finally seems to find the grief she was squashing throughout the episode. Paul ends up deciding to pony up for a nicer, sunnier plot. Andrea, who hates funerals, also gets a bit of catharsis: She and Myk have sex in his van after he comforts her. I was surprised that when Cathy spoke to Andrea about her impending sexings; she was relatively laid-back (for Cathy), but at least she gave Andrea some practical advice when it came to keeping her expectations low.


And what of Rebecca and Sean? Rebecca realizes, quite late of course, that Cathy’s and her friendship isn’t relevant anymore and takes off. Sean ends the episode at the hospital, cradling one of the premature babies he had ranted about earlier in the episode. It almost—almost!—made my eyes wet. Aside from a few moments this episode, Sean-off-his-meds wasn’t too awful, except for the fact that he was noticeably absent from Rebecca’s side. Even if she wasn’t mourning as hard as he was, didn’t he want to be with her? Weren’t they still engaged? What will happen to him now?

Stray observations:

  • I was a little shocked by how cavalier Paul and Adam were about the miscarriage. Yes, the funeral was over-the-top, but people being sad about miscarriages doesn’t seem like a complicated concept.
  • “Do Ukrainians love bread?” “No idea.” “They do.”
  • I couldn’t believe that Type-A Cathy didn’t have her cemetery plot yet. That seems like something she would have done for Paul’s and her first wedding anniversary.

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