I’ve never seen the TV show “The Big C.” That’s because it’s on Showtime, and we have el-cheapo cable at our house. I’d tune in if we did get it, because I really like to analyze how cancer is depicted when it’s unraveled on television and in movies.
That’s what “The Big C” is about — cancer. Since I can’t comment on it, though, how about I share someone else’s take?
OK. I’ll do that.
Writer Mary Valle’s “That’s Cancertainment” reveals that she’s not all that happy about media portrayals of cancer. She, herself a breast cancer survivor, believes shows like “The Big C,” and other outlets for communicating with the public, glamorize the disease, when really, it’s not all that pretty.
Ads for “The Big C” have actress Laura Linney “in the top part of an hourglass, in a come-hither pose, high heels kicked up behind her, lookin’ all smug and sexy with a beach ball,” writes Valle. “The sand is, of course, running into the bottom of the glass. Because she has cancer, get it? Time is running out! But the look on her face says ‘Oh my God, you guys, the cancer? Is totally scary? But now that I might die sooner rather than later? I am having a total blast! It’s weirdly kinda fun (and sexy!)’”
Valle understands that disease can be a great opportunity for personal growth and liberation. What she doesn’t get: the suggestion that it’s actually fun, and sexy.
“Cancer is bad enough without feeling exploited on top of it,” she declares.
Shame on Showtime — not because I have personally experienced their inaccuracies, but because Valle has. And I think her concerns are right on!