A Few Thoughts On Sex And The City

I wanted to post a facebook status update about this, but it turns out I had far too much to say about Sex and the City to make it a facebook status, so it’s a blog post instead.

When I was younger, I loved Sex and the City. I thought the show was entertaining, and I thought Carrie and co. were glamourous and sophisticated. I haven’t seen it in a while, but I recently decided to revisit the show and the first movie. It’s a much different show to me now that I’m older.

I’d like start off by saying that I still find the show entertaining, though in a much different way. Now it’s much more of a “I can’t believe you just did/said that” sort of entertainment. You know that what the characters are doing is ridiculous and kind of stupid, and that fact makes the show entertaining. I’m left thinking the following:

-The writing isn’t all that good. While I appreciate the attempt to be risque in the late ’90s, it still often resorts to being cheesy and cliche. Some of the puns are so ridiculous I can’t believe they made it onto TV.

-Carrie, you’re single throughout the show by your own doing. You are shallow, immature, and kind of selfish. I think I thought you were so glamourous when I was 20 because like most 20-year-old women, I was also a little immature and selfish, and I was very naive. Many of the characters on the show have pretty poor judgement when it comes to men, but you’re the worst. Sure, it works out with Mr. Big in the end, but this is a work of pure fiction. He’s horrible to you in the beginning, often to the extent of being emotionally abusive. You not only take it, but also dole out your own dose of selfish behaviour. In season 4, there’s that meeting in Hollywood with Matthew McConaughey where he basically asks “what’s wrong with Carrie?” We’re meant to be offended by this and to feel that you’ve has been slighted and misunderstood, and are the victim of this story, but throughout the series, I’m continually asking myself “what’s wrong with Carrie?” I keep feeling like screaming at you over the screen to stop playing the victim, gain a bit of patience, stop basing so much of your self-worth on men, manage your money better, employ more discretion when choosing men, and take things a bit slower so you know they aren’t totally wrong for you before you get so caught up in them. Also, from what I can tell, you are a terrible writer, and you seem to not respect your deadlines at all. How you are still employed, I’ll never know.

-I know the show is supposed to exist in some ideal world where money and work aren’t -really- an issue, but career and money problems are brought up often enough that it feels like it should be more of an issue. The characters are all employed and we see glimpses of their professional lives and problems, and sometimes money -is- in issue. In one episode, Carrie’s apartment is going co-op (being occupied by owners as opposed to renters) and she can’t afford to buy it because she’s frittered all of her money on designer clothes and shoes, for example. We’re supposed to laugh at this, but I don’t really find it funny, and I don’t think this is an issue to fluff up and make light of. Shopping addiction is a real, life-ruining problem for some people. But I digress. If you want to paint a picture of some ideal world where money is no object, fine….but maybe then it’s best to leave little snippets of money and work problems out of it all together. Otherwise you risk trivializing issues that are very real to a lot of people.

-I really dislike how often the show makes light of the fact that Carrie (and sometimes the others) can’t cook, clean, or manage bills. Sometimes this is even glamourized, as if Carrie’s inability to cook makes her a sophisticated urbanite. There’s nothing glamourous or sophisticated about being unable to take care of yourself on a basic level. I guess it was the late ’90s/early ’00s and people were still trying to remove cooking and cleaning from their image of being large roles in women’s lives, but now this seems really silly. Cooking and cleaning are necessary parts of -everyone’s- lives, man or woman. Also, Carrie doesn’t want to cook and clean, but is still afraid of mice (and squirrels), and wont get dirty? Way to attempt to break down some women’s stereotypes while completely enforcing others.

-I appreciate the effort to equalize male and female sexuality and break down some of the double-standards that exist around them. I also understand that talking about female sexuality wasn’t so common in 1998, when the show premiered. However, some of the behaviour exhibited (especially by Samantha, but not limited to her) is irresponsible for either gender. Also, while I think talking about sex with your closest friends is fine, and overall a good idea, talking about it loudly in a crowded cafe is not. Ladies, show some tact.

-There’s a certain amount of glamour portrayed on the show, but sometimes it comes off as over-the-top and tacky.

Overall, I enjoy the show to an extent, but mostly because it’s a show about horrible people doing silly things, sort of like Gossip Girl (though Gossip Girl never attempts to pose as anything else). I’ll keep the DVDs in my collection, but overall it isn’t the same to me as it once was.

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5 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts On Sex And The City

  1. I completely agree with you Danielle! As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that the show just is not as appealing to me; it works best as background noise as opposed to something I am actually invested in watching.

  2. Very good post. I only saw a couple episodes of SATC and obviously wasn’t the target audience, but it always struck me as misogynist on some level, contemptuous of women in the same way that, say, Entourage would later be contemptuous of men, by portraying the ideal single lifestyle for each gender as so shallow and materialistic. I see what you mean that it can be viewed with more detachment, though. It’s interesting how many popular shows walk that fine line between just portraying “horrible people doing silly things” and endorsing them…

    1. Exactly. Sometimes I feel like it’s poor storytelling. No one is perfect and everyone does horrible things sometimes. No one is nice and good all the time. I feel like the drama factor exploits that and writers make the characters kind of horrible most of the time.

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