Luke: Is this even safe?
Reid: Look, I’m not crazy about the idea of working with a new staff in a backwards operating room, but a brain is a brain.

— Luke and Reid

Eric Sheffer Stevens on The Big C: The Ecstasy and the Agony

Eric Sheffer Stevens appeared last night (18th October) on Showtime’s The Big C. As suggested by how little press it got, it was a small guest spot. Viewing information and episode review follow below the jump…

The ESS Crew sum it up well: “ESS looks quite yummy in glasses…the guy who plays his hubby…No Van…” And over at LRO, the thread on this episode features quite a lot squeeing about Andy’s wardrobe: thick glasses, plaid shirt, skinny tie. And oh yeah, while it’s a dinner, we don’t see Eric eating (!) though he does raise a glass for several toasts!

A brief bit of background. The Big C stars Laura Linney as Cathy, a suburban schoolteacher who has been diagnosed with cancer. She has not yet told her estranged husband, Paul or teenaged son, Adam. She also happens to have a cute, caring doctor (oncologist?).

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In this episode, Eric plays a character named Andy, who is the gay partner of one of Paul’s colleagues. Though he is on-screen for several minutes, as a guest player, (and an apparently shy character) he only has 1-1/2 lines ("does “thank you” count as a line? that’s the half), and most of the line is delivered when the camera is on Paul’s reaction.

Where to Watch The Big C: The Ecstasy and the Agony

The video has apparently been posted and removed from YouTube multiple times already, so I don’t think I can embed it here, but it is definitely available for viewing online via episode streaming sites.

 CastTV (thanks to ilovereid on LRO) and seems to be a better option than either SideReel or TVDuck which have much more obnoxious pop-up ads or click-through links. I was able to watch the full episode this morning from outside the US, so it should work for all of you.

If you want to FF to Eric’s part, it’ begins about at 13:30 and plays over about 4-5 minutes (thought there are other scenes spliced in between). As the scene starts, the back of Eric’s head is in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Alternatively you can download just Eric’s scene from: thanks to the ESS Crew’s orangecrush.


Episode Summary

In this episode, Cathy finds a student’s ecstasy and decides to experiment, getting hot and heavy with Lenny, a colleague from work. After catching Cathy mid-grope with Lenny, hubby Paul gets plastered at a business dinner celebrating his promotion and that of a colleague named Nick.

To finish off the episode, Paul and Cathy’s son Adam has snuck off to an adult-less party with drinking and sex in the bedrooms. The apparently smartest and best-adjusted character on the show (well at least what I can tell from viewing just this episode), Adam wises up and decides that the party sucks he calls for a ride home.  Unfortunately, mom Cathy is too busy…um, doing what hetero couples do on soaps….(not to mention high on the confiscated X) and Adam ends up calling drunk dad Paul, who tells the under-aged Adam drive home as his “punishment.”

Not surprisingly, Adam drives into a tree sending them to the emergency room (no one seriously injured) where Cathy’s hot doc figures out she hasn’t told her husband anything. She finally musters up the courage to tell him and before she has a chance to do so, Paul announces that he wants a divorce and leaves.

There is a particularly poignant moment when poor Adam, in his hospital bed, apologizes (presumably for lying about adult supervision at the party, and then being there such that he needed a ride home which set of the chain of events leading to his crashing the car). Cathy looks like she is overcome with guilt, which she should be.

Eric’s Part

During Paul’s business dinner, Nick happily announces that he and Eric’s character, Andy have just tied the knot. Andy’s one complete line is: "Yeah, we drove down to Mason City, Iowa, and we tied the old rainbow knot.”

Eric was described on the LRO thread as looking “uncomfortable.” I didn’t pick that up. Rather, I got that he played a quiet, unassuming guy who was not front and center. In other words, a guy who was clearly NOT REID, though he did happen to be gay. But otherwise, Eric seemed to me to be nicely in character – it just wasn’t as interesting or engaging a character as we’ve come to expect. From the show’s perspective, that makes sense – Andy and Nick were (happy) props to provoke Paul’s drunken and racist outburst about how marriage sucks.

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I gotta say – it’s weird seeing Eric play the devoted partner of some guy who’s not Luke! But he gets to smile a LOT and makes one of the trademark goo-goo eyes (see screencap above) from the Eyeflirting episode where he has his head tilted slightly down, but his eyes are looking up and it looks like he’s doing something with his tongue against his teeth. If you need to refresh your memory of what it looks like when the guy he’s ogling is Luke, who eyesexes back, check out 0:58 below:

[tubepress video=Hi31WUD8TTM title=false description=false]

I didn’t see a lot of Reid in Eric’s portrayal, and as much as I love Reid, I’m glad. The more diverse Eric’s roles, the more in-demand I think he’ll be.

This is one reason I actually hope Van’s next big role has him playing a straight guy – if he’s pigeon-holed in gay leading man roles, it could be a LONG time before we see him in anything major again. 🙁


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