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'C' words – cancer, Christians and comedy

'The Big C – the Complete Second Season'

As cancer-stricken Cathy, Golden Globe-winner Laura Linney earns her place among the great actresses of her generation. Her performance in this series effortlessly balances comedy and tragedy, often at the same time.

Surrounded by family and friends, schoolteacher/swim coach/wife/mother/sister Cathy makes her way through her personal war zone with as much grace as she can muster. Over the course of 13 episodes (three discs), Cathy and husband Paul (Oliver Platt) try to be the best parents they can be to son Adam (Gabriel Basso). They provide a temporary home for Cathy’s student Andrea (Gabourey Sidibe), whose parents are overseas serving as missionaries. Paul deals with Cathy’s health insurance dramas and loses his job. Andrea is romanced by Paul’s co-worker Mykail (Boyd Holbrook), while Adam is pursued by the much older Poppy (Parker Posey). Meanwhile, Cathy’s mentally unbalanced brother Sean (out actor John Benjamin Hickey) teeters ever closer to the edge of the abyss. The high point of the season is the introduction of Lee (Hugh Dancey). A fellow cancer patient, Lee meets Cathy as part of a clinical trial run by cancer doc Sherman (Alan Alda). Lee, a gay marathon runner and wine aficionado, proves to be a source of compassion and inspiration to Cathy. Their shared experience is played out with authenticity. Keep a box of tissues at hand, because tears are sure to flow. DVD special features include deleted scenes and outtakes.

'GCB: The Complete First Season'

Campy as “Ugly Betty” with a Southern drawl and as silly as Texas is big, “GCB” (which stands for good Christian bitches) is a goofy, crazy blast. Liberally making fun of the Lone Star State, this live-action cartoon begins with the return of recovering mean girl Amanda (Leslie Bibb). Newly widowed and with two teens, she returns to the sprawling Dallas home of her gun-toting mama Gigi (Annie Potts), following the sudden death of her philandering husband. Before you can say “Texas toast,” the gossip mill is spinning and Amanda comes face to face with four women whose lives she made a living hell in high school.The vengeful quartet includes pint-sized powerhouse Carleen (the over-animated Kristin Chenoweth), tough as acrylic nails Cricket (Miriam Shor of “Hedwig” fame), ditzy but determined Sharon (Jennifer Aspen) and real estate climber Heather (Marisol Nichols). Their combined wrath is greater than their God’s. Their endless array of schemes to turn the tables on Amanda – as opposed to turning the other cheek – don’t always go as planned and hilarity ensues.

The men in these women’s lives are mostly buffoons. Cricket’s husband Blake (the hot Mark Deklin) is gay, and Cricket is not only aware of this but approves. Blake spends almost as much time with his ranch hands as he does strutting around shirtless. It’s a nice touch for comedic and dramatic purposes, but it also reminds viewers that not every metropolis is a welcoming place for the gay community. Bonus features on the three-disc, 10-episode set include a variety of featurettes, bloopers, deleted and extended scenes and more.

'Pants Off and Tired Hooker'

The single-disc double feature “Pants Off and Tired Hooker” consists of Kathy Griffin’s Bravo TV specials, as well as unaired bonus footage described as “comedy unfit for TV.”

“Pants Off” opens with the D-List diva’s mother, the notorious 91-year-old lush Maggie, introducing Griffin to the Costa Mesa crowd. It’s funnier and more focused than the distracting, Atlantic City-shot “Tired Hooker.”

Fit and trim in black for both specials, Griffin shares her pop culture obsessions, including the Kardashians, Casey Anthony, Nancy Grace, Michele and Marcus Bachmann, the Real Housewives, the newly out Anderson Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Lindsay Lohan, Grindr and, of course, her gays. Cher figures prominently in the bonus material.

'The Sarah Silverman Program – the Complete Series'

You know her, you love her, you’re shocked and appalled by her. Sarah Silverman might be the only female comedian who could make Kathy Griffin blush. Nothing is sacred or off limits in the irreverent world of her TV series “The Sarah Silverman Program,” which ran for three seasons, from 2007-2010, on Comedy Central. Over the course of more than 30 episodes, Silverman applies her unique perspective to a variety of subjects, including gays and lesbians, racial stereotypes, abortion, homelessness, AIDS, pedophilia, the disabled, bedwetting, drug use, sibling relationships and rivalries, often in a manner that includes toilet humor and a taboo perspective. Not for the faint of heart, Silverman has a way of making people laugh at things that are cringe-worthy and better avoided.The multi-disc set includes an abundance of bonus features.

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