*Things will be a little different when Showtime’s “The Big C” returns for its final run on April 29.
First, it will be renamed “The Big C: Hereafter.”
“The purpose of this title was really to speak about how it’s that very Buddhist concept that we’ve explored on the show in the past, that you’re as everybody’s lived, and we’re each dying every day. And as you die, you’ve lived,” explained executive producer Jenny Bicks during interviews for the show in January.
The series, entering its fourth season, follows the actions of high school teacher Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) since she was diagnosed with terminal melanoma in season one. The show, billed as a comedy, is less about the cancer, and more about her struggle to finally live her truth – a journey that began long before her diagnosis.
As she copes with her illness, Cathy finds refreshing honesty in the many quirky relationships in her life – including her brassy former student-turned-live in guest Andrea Jackson, played by Gabourey Sidibe.
“‘The Big C’ was only my third audition ever, and so I didn’t have much experience, but the good thing about it is that I wasn’t spoiled by a lot of things,” Sidibe, 29, said of her entry into the show, fresh from her 2010 Oscar nomination for “Precious” – only her first audition ever. “I was so new when I got [to the show]. Now I’m horrible.”
Below, Sidibe says she viewed her experience on “The Big C” as a master class.
Other changes for season four aside from the title include the length of the four episodes, which increases from a half-hour to an hour. The premiere will pick up from last season’s cliffhanger, with Cathy leaving her family to go sailing with a stranger. The storyline in the four episodes will span September through May, with three months separating each hour.
Guest stars will include Brian Dennehy as Cathy’s father, Isaac Mizrahi as Andrea’s fashion mentor and Kathy Najimy as Cathy’s therapist. Watch a preview of the final season below.