Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why I hate Sex and the City*

(Super Christmassy topic, right?)

There is a common misperception out there that Sex and the City is some sort of amazing feminist achievement.  We've all heard the various arguments--that it depicted female sexuality in a more honest way.  The characters didn't allow men to rule their lives.  The most important relationships were the friendships between the four women.

Blah blah blah.

OK, here's the thing.  I have watched and laughed at Sex and the City.  Who doesn't love a few thousand puns crammed into a single 22-minute episode?

But if you wish to disagree with my assessment, please fill out this simple quiz.

What are the characters' jobs?

Carrie: ___________________
Miranda: _________________
Charlotte: _________________
Samantha: ________________

Let's assume you got it all right.  (Writer, Lawyer ... art-something followed by unpaid volunteer ... and PR person.)  You realize those are the vaguest descriptions of jobs possible, right?

Writer - of bad puns and columns that always end with, "And I couldn't help but wonder."  And who lived in a fantastic apartment and owned couture and piles of Jimmy Choos.   Financial problems?  What financial problems!  Those were resolved in a single episode, thanks to one friend giving her a diamond ring and an ex-boyfriend writing out a fat check.  Because that happens.

Lawyer - at a firm.  Of some kind.  Doing some kind of law.  With books.

Art Gallery Person - was she a buyer?  A manager?  An agent?  A broker?  WHAT?

PR Person - this really is the catch-all pop culture job.  Does anyone really know what someone in PR does?  Or in any case, what someone in TVLand PR does?  I sure don't.

I'm not saying that a woman's career should be her most defining characteristic, but if the entire conceit of your show is that these are four successful, financially independent women just living their lives ... shouldn't we have some sense of how they are successful?  How they are financially independent?

Instead, we are dropped into their lives in medias res, with no reference to how these women became successful, why they are currently successful, and how they are remaining successful in the future.  Nope, we just know that they each do "something" (or ultimately marry someone) that entitles them to spend money without any consequences, because that's what makes the show fun.

Which brings us back to this "feminist achievement" nonsense.  Look.  Sex and the City is mindless, escapist nonsense, and that's fine.  I can usually get behind that.

But when you go further and claim that Sex and the City is intellectual or cutting-edge?  That is just patently ridiculous.

* OK, brief edit.  I just wanted to say I was going to title this post "Sex and the City sucks [inappropriate euphemism]" but I refrained.  Not from using an inappropriate euphemism, because I love those.  I was seriously going to write "[inappropriate euphemism]" and at the last minute thought, "Now, that might be just a tiny bit ridiculous."  

I just wanted you guys to know that I do sometimes show restraint ... but unfortunately it's usually related to whether I think things will be actually funny, or just funny to me.  


  1. I don't think it's intelligent; I just think it's hilarious.

  2. Amen. I'm easily and willingly entertained by SATC. But that is because unlike the women IN SATC I am actually an adult that understands reality, and can therefore suspend my disbelief long enough to laugh.