It’s twerking week at McKinlay High. Sue’s horrified, so she and Will go through the motions – she fires him, he pleads the First Amendment (yes, really), he ultimately trades his constitutionally-guaranteed Right To Twerk for more compassionate treatment of Unique (yes, really) – but it feels tired. As does much of the rest of the episode: some fairly large topics, such as bullying, gender identity, infidelity, loss, and slut-shaming, are picked up, but generally just to be swiftly dropped again. Still, at least Dan Savage’s excellent It Gets Better project is promoted, so there’s that.
Perhaps it’s all a symptom of the show’s post-Finn grieving process, and this is explicitly referenced in the New York storyline, where Rachel (looking, poor thing, measurably thinner) and Kurt decide to do something radical to shake themselves out of their rut: tattoos and piercings ensue.
Nothing much in the music, either: Unique’s ‘If I Was A Boy’, and Rachel and Ioan Gruffudd’s ‘You Are Woman, I Am Man’ were the pick of a small and uninspired bunch, with Marley’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ and the cast’s ‘On Our Way’ just about OK, and Will’s falsetto-tastic ‘Blurred Lines’ a tiny bit disturbing.
The Big C has undoubtedly managed to rid itself of much of what made the last season, at times, so actively unpleasant. To start with this week, though, it looked as if what was left was melancholy and measured, but also a little boring, and I was wondering whether Cathy’s attempt to pimp her husband out to a dating group for cancer widows and widowers was going to become shrill and charmless, as Cathy’s schemes can often be. I’m still not very interested in Andrea or Sean; and while it seems reasonable for Adam to move on, given that the nice Christian girl he’s been saddlebacking (© Dan Savage) seems to be out of the picture, the apparent predictability of the storyline with his “geisha nerd” tutor had me rolling my eyes.
But round about the time that Paul – still the least plausible inspirational speaker on God’s earth, I’d say, and it’s no coincidence that we’re not actually getting to see any more of his “Flip That Switch” schtick – is being interviewed for breakfast radio in Detroit, and suddenly realises what he’s about to lose, the episode shifts gear. His Cathy-inspired “date” is actually rather sweet, and Cathy’s own reaction to it unexpectedly touching. And, in large measure because Gabriel Basso brings a freshness and likeability to the role of Adam, his part of the episode played out rather nicely. I was moved and amused, and this was the best episode of The Big C for weeks.