Friday, February 25, 2011

I Wish I Had Your Life

Re-watching Sex and the City on DVD had made me realize why I loved the series in the first place - it’s funny.  I laughed out loud more than I remembered doing the first or second time around.  Yes, it’s stuffed with hokey puns, but those are some of my favorite parts.  Of course, for every stellar “paper beats rock,” there’s a cringe-inducing “You take a nap-a, you don’t move to Napa,” but when you love something, you forgive its flaws. 
If you don’t get those references, feel free never to pop in a single SATC DVD.  In fact, why not hate fun the rest of your life?
Sex and the City is artificial, and a lifestyle I would still judge harshly even if I could afford it (and I’m talking about “help” and $500 shoes, not fucking and drinking), but whoosh it’s a good time.  To criticize Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha, and Carrie as being gay men in disguise is to miss the frolicking point of the series.  It’s a comedy, a comedy with occasional pathos that celebrates friendship above all else.  Besides, creator Michael Patrick King is a gay man, but of the 20+ writers, only 5 are men (that 5 includes King and someone named “Ollie,” which I’m assuming is short for Oliver rather than Olivia).   
No one would ever accuse the series of being a feminist beacon, but let’s not confuse the financial power and considerable draw these four women (five, if you include Patricia Field) enjoy in life with the characters they portray.  You might not like the choices and behavior of Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha, and Carrie, but you have to respect the clout of Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Speaking of clout, here’s the news which inspired this post: Kristen Davis read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and liked it so much she decided she wanted to play Gretchen Rubin in a TV series.  So yeah, that’s happening.  I’d love to be able to plot the course of my life with a phone call, wouldn’t you?
So I can continue to love this series, I’m pretending the second movie didn’t happen.  Something needs to be horrifically bad to cancel out the brilliance of its inception, and Sex and the City 2 is exactly that bad.  I laughed once (thanks, Samantha) but only because, as The Editing Room put it, “we had to set the movie in the Middle East because it’s the only place left where we can pretend that being sexually liberated in 2010 is groundbreaking.”
I’d like to see them grow old gracefully.  Enough with the Botox, for fuck’s sake.  If Michael Patrick King really does go ahead with a third movie - and #2 is over $300 million world-wide so they just might - it needs to be clever as hell to end the story of these four characters in a way that honors rather than exploits what has come before, and at the same time erases the shit storm of the second movie from our minds.  It’s impossible, really.  But here’s hoping.
Remember when Sex and the City was a book?  I finally read it last year and mentioned it briefly.  While I still bristle at the “Bicycle Boys” chapter, the book is sexier and darker than the series (another thing re-watching showed me was how many of the sex scenes were played for laughs), and while it’s not as funny, it has a lot more substance.  It’s straightforward and straight up, a shot of vodka to the series Cosmo cocktail.  If you’ve been finding other things to read first, like me, it’s definitely worth your time.
So fair warning, Mrs. Davis.  Have fun with your series, but the book is always better.    

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