'The Big C': Theme of time, the show's shelf-life and Showtime crossovers

laura-linney-the-big-c-showtime.jpg"The Big C" -- Showtime's new cancer comedy -- writer Darlene Hunt compares the concept to "M*A*S*H," which was a comedy about war and showrunner Jenny Bicks says, "If we get to you laugh once and cry once in an episode, then we've done our job."

Star and co-executive producer Laura Linney was attracted to the way "The Big C" deals with the concept of time.

"What hit me the most was the theme of time. What do you do with time? What are the choices we make, how we spend out time? ... More than trying to have a bucket list, [Cathy] is trying to figure out who she wants to be," says Linney.

With Linney's character Cathy being in stage 4 melanoma, the amount of time she has left is not plentiful. Bicks addresses what that means for the shelf-life of the series.

"Every season is a season, so in the pilot episode, it's the first day of summer. So the first season of the show would be summer and the following would be autumn and so on. So six TV seasons only amounts to 18 months of Cathy's life," Bicks explains.

The show isn't going to shy away from Cathy's death either.

"We don't think in terms of when are we or if are we, going to kill her. It's more about the exploration," Bicks continues. "But if it comes time that she goes, she goes. We are not going to be afraid of that. The nice thing with being on Showtime is we don't have to sugar-coat the situation that she's in."

The realness of the show is what attracted star Oliver Platt, who plays Cathy's husband Paul.

"Why do we start to live beautifully when we get a death sentence?" muses Platt. "It has a very health sense of irony, a very healthy sense of the absurd ... And therefore it strikes me as very truthful."

"The Big C" debuts after the Season 6 premiere of "Weeds." Linney is excited about the marijuana lead-in.

"I'm thrilled. I love Mary-Louise, we're friends. It was great fun, we shot some promos together, which was a kick. I'm completely honored to be following 'Weeds.' I think it's a really good pairing," says Linney.

In response to a possible medical marijuana crossover episode, Linney laughs. "I'd love for all of the Showtime shows to crossover. I'd love to go see 'Nurse Jackie.' We could go to the Vatican [to see 'The Borgias'], time-travel. She could have some wild dream ... it would be fun, I would love it."

"The Big C" premieres Monday, Aug. 6 at 10:30 p.m. ET on Showtime but you can watch the first episode early here at Zap2it.

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Photo credit: Showtime

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