(Originally written in 2010)
I have never seen a full episode of Sex and the City, which puts me in the minority among my female and some of my gay male friends and peers. I don’t watch much television, and that show has never given me a desire to make an exception. Well, yesterday I came home from work and collapsed into a chair in front of the TV, which was left on for the cats. (Yes, we are those pet owners.) Some crime show was on- I don’t remember which one, because the only difference between them is the differing levels of v-necks on the women’s shirts- and I neither watched it, nor turned it off. I sat in the chair and played Words With Friends and unwound from my work day.
Eventually the crime show ended, and they announced the start of a movie presentation: the Sex and the City movie. My knee jerk reaction was to turn off the TV and throw the remote control out the window. But instead, I decided to watch some of it to see what I’ve been missing. I made it through an entire 15 minutes.
I feel like, without knowing (or caring about) any history of the TV show, that its roots are in satire. I feel like a group of intelligent, straight men came up with a pilot of a show that was intentionally exploiting rich, self absorbed, spoiled bitches who sit around and talk about how hard their lives are. Then, their show picked up an unforeseen popularity from a female demographic that did not see it as a satire. They saw it as a witty repartee between women about relationships, owning $40,000 worth of shoes, and using your boobs to get men to buy you things.
No one I know lives like that. That might be the fascination: watching other people live the lives that we never will. I feel like the writers now write just to spur the jealousy of the women and men who watch the show. We perceive that we have connections with the show’s characters, we become interested in the nonsense that moves their plots along, we sympathize with their issues, and then we realize that our own lives will never be as glamorous as theirs. The show is fiction, I know this. The beauty of fiction is that we can enter in to worlds completely unlike our own, and still learn about life through the stories it tells. Sex and the City is no exception.
I just hunger for a well written popular television show with a female cast whose plots do not revolve around men, or relationships, or not working for a living. Sex and the City, regardless of its popularity or enjoyability, is not doing women any favors. It’s like candy- artificial nutrition that always leaves you wanting more, even when your teeth are rotting out of your head. This show is artificial and satisfying, not challenging or threatening, and it is not productive in the least. I understand that people don’t watch TV to be socially enlightened or challenged, but it sure wouldn’t hurt anyone to have shows that feature women in a more productive light. Or at least less self-absorbed, come on! Women have had to fight with their lives to achieve legal rights to be counted as human beings! And we have Sex and the City to show for it. Thanks, foremothers!
That stance may seem extreme, but Sex and the City is its own extreme of ridiculous entertainment. This is another reason I don’t watch much television. If I did, I might reach a point where there would not be any more blog posts like this one, due to a brain-cndy-induced diabetic coma, and that would be disgraceful.