Why Sex & The City Is Good For Women: As Written By Someone Who Pretty Much Hates The Show
“I must have hit her pretty close to the mark to get her all riled up like that” – Han Solo
Ah SITC, no series besides the Jersey Shore probably gets more people riled up, opinionated or able to lie about their viewing habits like this one. People actually take time to brag and pride themselves on NOT watching it. Others attempt to emulate it, its most loyal followers are complete addicts and most of us who might catch an ep late night like to deny that we are somewhat intrigued by the lives of these fictional characters, that YES, have NO BASIS in reality. I’ve got my own series to get back to work on tonight, but as I cleaned up after my Memorial Day never-ending backporch High-life-a-thon with fellow local writer Mike Ryan, I thought about the hatred I read last week from Dana Stevens regarding the newest installment of HBO’s controversial commercial golden ticket. Cos-playing math geeks have their Star Wars and BSG and now cheerleaders and heel-wearers have SITC, everybody chill.
Yeah thats right, I said it, Sex & The City is the same as Star Wars. Or Harry Potter, or Twilight or LOST or any other completely fictional commercial product. I say this as an attendee of both runway shows, sporting events and comic book conventions as I’m a bit of a culture junkie, and I also say this staring at my stuffed Storm Trooper beanie baby that sits perched next to my Dwight Shrude bobble head. So don’t go thinkin’ I’m some huge fan or that I know everything about the show, because I don’t. What intrigues me is how sexist it is to criticize this series and the films for being anti-feminist just because they are superficial, self-indulgent or pointless.
Why isn’t women’s entertainment allowed to be just as dumb and pointless as men’s? Why are we supposed to raise the intellectual bar every time we open our mouths or walk on screen? I love me some Kate Hepburn, Tina Fey or Whoopie but really? Its Kim Cattrall for God’s sake, her last hit was Mannequin (ironically enough) and you would think she is supposed to win the peace prize for curing Cancer with her role as Samantha rather than just make us laugh. The sexpot is an ancient archetype, and deny it all you want, she’s pretty funny.
As I picked up empties, or in my case, “floaters” and cleaned out my grill, I thought about the hatred for SITC and how its mere existence marks the apocalypse and the decline of western civilization. Whew. As I finished up a few art projects and did the laundry I chuckled thinking of how many, HOW MANY, main stream tv shows or box office films are so remarkably superficial and moronic. I mean Avatar, really? Men blow shit up while hot women try to play mother protector and this is considered innovative just because its pretty to look at? Jim Cameron meets Jim Henson for “Terminator: Escape From Muppet Island in 3-D”!
I mean “The Man Show” had a cheerleaders jumping on a trampoline for its opening credits, but was considered satirical as is Howard Stern, another NY pop culture icon. Hell part of why the chicks on that show are the way they are is because they live in New York, where everyone’s crazy anyways. Most network sitcoms still revolve around the “hot wife dumpy husband” Honeymooners construct and generate no press, but make a show where the only thing elevating the women is their heel height and salaries and we demonize it for being an “abyss of material excess and spiritual loneliness”. No fair.
The best part is journalists and bloggers who give SITC the city hell, which has got to reflect some inner jealousy of Ms. Bradshaw’s career and effortless fame. I myself spent many years quietly rolling my eyes at the hen parties in the break room that inevitably discussing the show, but as the hated has swelled a part of me wonders what the fuss is really all about. I live in DC, where everyone’s going to save the world, or quite literally die trying, so when I decide to gnaw on the comedic cud that is SITC its because its nice to watch people who don’t care about anything but themselves, and its actually kinda liberating.
And oh yeah, not only do we malign the characters, but the actresses who have brought these scripts to life. Like these A-listers are the first to see the virtual end of a photoshop brush or the smudge tool? If the hags in Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones or The E St Band get together and relive their Glory Days its considered “legendary”, but when four women in their late 40s and 50s get touched up and joke about sex its pathetic and shallow?
Now sure, there are basically no roles for minorities on this show. This sucks, period the end and I wish they could have done something to fix it, but its moot and I halfway give them credit for not trying to bandage this up in the movies. SITC is not intended to be some existential journey into Jungian self-actualization either. Nor is it John Adams or Band of Brothers. Getting mad at this show and its motion picture offspring is like getting upset that your Us Weekly isn’t The Atlantic Monthly.
Is there a part of me that wishes that shows like Its Always Sunny or Treme or Freaks & Geeks or even My Life As Liz (which is a great show) had the fanship that Sex does? Sure. But I don’t blame it for its success, and neither should Trekkies, Twihards, UFC/WWE Fans, MSN Fans or dorks like me who wish they’d bring back Firefly. If you have ever dressed up like, bought anything related to or watched anything more than two times (on purpose), you need to cut these women, and their fans a break. And go hide your light saber.
Must all tv shows, especially those involving female leads, supposed to reveal something deep about reality and change the world? Is that still our job or can we goof off and pull an ostrich just like men do? America, the reason I’m able to handle an episode of Treme is because I will probably watch a full hour of Jersey Housewives right after!
I deal with “reality” all the time in my own life, I don’t need every show to be some tear jerker drama sponsored by Celexa. Life for most of us is pretty damn hard and it’s relatively easy for the ladies on Sex, but apparently a show featuring an all-female cast is completely useless if SOMEONE isn’t trying to be the evolutionary role model nature intended and men yearn for.
Apparently women can’t be selfish, we can’t be greedy, gross, selfish, vain or materialistic. We can’t crave great sex, act like children or mess up a good relationship. We can’t cheat, lie or grovel, and most importantly, we definitely can’t abdicate from our role as the wisdom-goddess Eve. I mean a “National” football league, 32 real teams and a billion dollar high school, collegiate and Canadian industry wasn’t enough, we had to create a “Fantasy League” as well. I dont’ hate football, not in the slightest, I just don’t get why apparently women arent allowed to have their own “Fantasy League”. This show gives women the permission to suck, and we should really celebrate that.
Sex & The City shows just how aloof, caddy and pointless women’s’ lives can be. It’s a show where the intense pressures of womanhood are washed down with pink vodka like a Norms beer on Cheers. I mean even Diane laughed and chased her own Big and lord knows Lillith enjoyed her liquor and had a wild side. My question is, when’s the video game comin’ out?