Sunday, October 10, 2010

I couldn't help but wonder...

As I was watching the Sex and the City movie, I started thinking about Carrie Bradshaw's sex column. I have a lot of issues with SATC, which I'll probably go into more detail at another time. Basically, my main problem is that it's about supposedly smart, sophisticated and independent women but the only thing they find to talk about is men and shoes. It's so superficial, one-dimentional, and poorly written. I'm a fan of the occasional pun, but when that's the extent of your humor and writing prowess, maybe you shouldn't be a writer. It's also one long advertisement for Louis Vitton, Manolo Blahnik, and Mercedes Benz. Despite all this I still watch it frequently and find it immensely satisfying on a very shallow level.

I could rant forever about Sex and the City, but for now I'll just focus on the topic at hand. The whole premise of the show/movie is that Carrie Bradshaw is a writer who uses herself and her friends as the subjects of social and sexual discussion in her columns. Now, I've seen every single episode and the first movie several times (I haven't bothered with the second for obvious reasons). And although the ladies have had drama among themselves (my personal favorite is when Miranda actually points out the fact that their entire lives, not to mention conversation, focus on men), they don't seem to be bothered by Carrie's candid revelations of their most intimate relationships and sexual encounters.

Carrie contemplating how she can use her friends' intimate gossip for profit

There's a joke in the movie that Samantha makes her maid of honor speech. "In our group, we never kiss and tell." It's funny because that's all they do. I have no problem with girl talk among friends. Certainly my friends and I share more details with each other than our own partners would appreciate. But Carrie delves into every instance of lady parts problems, mechanical mishap, secret fetish, and each indiscretion with all of New York as an audience. I can't help but wonder, doesn't this bother Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda? Each of them has a very public image, high power career, relationships to maintain, and in Charlotte's case, a prudish sense of sexual privacy. Are they getting a cut of Carrie's profit from their secrets? Is that why they don't mind the breach of slumber party/cocktail confidence?

The reason it irritates me that it doesn't irritate them is that as a writer myself, I often wonder where to draw the line when drawing from my own experiences and those of my acquaintances. There are some incredible stories I could tell about my friends, but there is no way I would share them with the world. That's the worst kind of gossip, the kind that could actually damage reputations and dissolve friendships. I even quibble about characters I've written that are partially inspired by real people. I'm so afraid of offending people, worse of getting sued by them. Maybe it all comes down to the fact that Carrie is so self-absorbed that she listens to her friends and instantly ponders how she can use the intel for her new book. She doesn't consider that it might hurt Miranda's career as a partner at a law firm, or Samantha's public relations gigs.

In the end I guess it doesn't matter. As much as Sex and the City drives me nuts, I still love it and will probably keep watching it over and over again while drinking cosmos with my girls. Like Twilight, it taps into that primal girl psyche, and overrides any rational realization that it's vapid and ridiculous. Also Patricia Fields' costume choices more often than not make my eyes wish they could vomit. I know she's considered a genius or whatever, but about 95% of the time, the ladies just look absurd. But I love to hate it, even though I secretly love it. Holy guilty pleasure, Batman.

1 comment:

  1. hear, hear! yea, it really doesn't make sense how Carrie's friends are okay with her writing about their live loves, especially since she actually uses their real names and all. but then Matthew McConaughey kind of emotionally bitch slaps her in LA when he shamelessly asks her what's wrong with her character (ouch).

    SATC is def a guilty pleasure of mine ^^;;