Monday, May 31, 2010

One Day I will See "Sex and the City 2"

Around 2000 or 2001, Jamie and I splurged and got HBO. At the time, we were watching "Six Feet Under", and I believe "Sex and the City" came on directly after "Six Feet Under". At the time, people were nutso for the show. On the promise that there might be some nudity, what with the title, and because 3/4's of the stars had appeared in other stuff I'd liked*, I gave it a whirl a few times. I realized immediately that the show was clearly not aimed at me or my demographic. Let's make this clear, because I really want to acknowledge that I know this show is not for me. Because it was new, supposedly frankly discussed sex from a woman's point of view (I have no idea), and catered to a certain, mostly untapped demographic's fantasy world the way Star Trek catered to my own, the show had taken off like wildfire. At the time the show had some how galvanized critics to support what, to my 20's-self, felt like a bizarre black-comedy celebrating a mirror opposite of everything I'd just spent 5 years of RTF school learning was no longer acceptable in mass media in a post-ERA world. But I got it then and I get it now. The show was a trailblazer for an audience that felt underrepresented, that reflected attitudes and lifestyles which either didn't make it to the small screen, or were not portrayed as something upheld by protagonists. Add a cyborg, an ape and a flying tank, and I'm still not sure I'd think this was for me. I don't even remember which show I used to watch, but once "SATC" hit syndication, it used to come on after that program, sometime around 10:30pm. I'd be blogging or surfing the internets, and realize I had just sort of watched a whole episode of "SATC". Mostly, honestly, the show rolls off me like an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond". I can follow the plot without really watching, the characters are sort of preprogrammed enough that nothing ever seemed too complicated, and it all played out like a very expensive show where the characters seemed to continually learn new life lessons that it would seem brighter people would have figured out at a younger age or would have been able to intuit without the adventure of the episode. But, again, the show was never aimed at me. It featured no robots, spaceships or anything called a "Gorn". I'll never forget that episode where Samantha had sex with William Shatner This post is my very long way of explaining that, somehow, I've seen an inordinate amount of "SATC", don't particularly love it, but seem to know an amazing amount about the show whether I like it or not, even though I've never seen two episodes in order. Frankly, having watched enough of the show, I don't buy that criticism of "SATC" is automatically misogynistic, or that pointing out that the characters seem a bit immature is somehow attacking women's enjoyment of sex at any age. It's that the dithering of the characters is the point of show, and at some point, when its all you see of the characters rather than them actually doing anything, it becomes annoying. How seriously are we supposed to find a protagonist whose primary preoccupation is stated to be designer shoes and who keeps coming back romantically to a guy whose primary feature seems to be his ability to pay for those shoes? Obviously as of this writing, I have not yet seen "Sex and the City 2". The movie has taken some lumps from critics (I'll eat my hat if that effects box office). Mostly, the movie is being attacked for what sounds like its insistence that the characters haven't matured beyond the characters the audience watched for several years of the show. Or from the last movie (a movie whose denouement was found when our lead's romantic misgivings were resolved when she received an email from her wealthy admirer that said "I know I screwed up" and nothing else). Anyhow, I'm just wondering if whatever doors SATC opened have been ajar long enough that the rest of trappings of the show, and the characters themselves, haven't begun to grate a bit. If we can retroactively condemn the western genre for its sexism, racism, etc... then I think we get a second look at "SATC" through several years of better roles and different mores. But I still doubt we'll agree that is behavior A = misogyny, then behavior A = misandry, or that cosmos + expensive shoes + locker room talk ≠ third wave feminism.** I'd be remiss if I did not mention I watched the first movie in a hotel room in Minneapolis. While flipping channels I came upon the start of the wedding scene, which, in most narratives, happens at the end of the film, and so I left the TV on that channel to witness the nuptials for "SATC" and perhaps watch the narrative of the show draw to a close. However, that turned out to be the beginning of the movie, which I watched while writing the now infamous Chuck E. Cheese post. No, no, no... its only empowering if you do this in your living room in a rumpled t-shirt and lip-synching or singing into a hairbrush. Preferably to Gloria Gaynor. As long as I'm blogging, it seems that I will wind up watching "Sex and the City". So, this weekend that Jamie and Steanso were a bit surprised to hear me state, factually, that sooner or later I would watch this movie. I won't try to see it, but eventually I'll end up goofing around on a computer, maybe in a hotel room, and on will come those fabulous four women and their plotlines and concerns that are more alien to me than Pon Farr. *Samantha was played by Kim Cattrall of "Police Academy", "Mannequin" and "Big Trouble in Little China" fame. Cynthia Nixon had played the love interest in "The Manhattan Project". Sarah Jessica Parker had been in "Mars Attacks", "Ed Wood", "Honeymoon in Vegas" and several other projects. **Did you know that after the age of, say, 19, most guys are actually a little put off by their friends who try to talk about their sex lives? Let alone over lunch? (and we usually ask them to stop)


J.S. said...

Give all of the stuff out there that's infinitely better than SATC that you'll probably never watch, it still makes me sad to know you're resigned to watching these movies. Unless you actually secretly like them. In which case you ought to just roll with it.

The League said...

I am resigned, only because the fates so often seem to intertwine my destiny with that of local affiliate programming and HBO-in-hotel selection.

I do watch some TV I'm not ashamed of. Its just less interesting to talk about "I watched this great episode of 'The American Experience' last night!".