Saturday, April 25, 2015

My third post about Sex and the City

Some actor, my actor friend Diane, and Chris Noth
Since I came down with a cold this weekend I got into binge-watching the first two seasons of Sex and the City. I have lately been pleasantly surprised by aspects of the show, primarily by the friendship of the four main characters and the interplay of their contrasting personalities - Samantha's libertinism vs. Charlotte's traditionalism being the most extreme contrast. And I love the Samantha character since she has so few hang-ups and the gets the best-looking guys.

And there is a pretty high percentage of good one-liners and intelligent dialog. And I was pleased to see that Jenji Kohan (of "Weeds" and "Orange is the New Black") was involved in writing for at least one of the episodes.

It's also interesting to see how things have changed since 1998-1999 when these seasons first aired. The Carrie character does a lot of smoking, for one thing, and people still used answering machines and pay phones. And of course the shots of the World Trade Center in the opening credits.

But what is really starting to bother me is the obsessive focus on romantic relationships in the show. All the women have jobs that could be the source of entertaining TV - Carrie is a sex column writer, Charlotte works for an art gallery, Samantha has her own publicity company, and Miranda, the butchest of the four friends (and played by real-life lesbian Cynthia Nixon) has the most traditionally male career, lawyer. And yet the show does almost nothing with their careers, except showing them, occasionally, as a backdrop to their love-lives. I'm not saying the show should become all about work, but there should at least be some second-tier characters from their working lives that we see occasionally, joining them for their frequent brunches and cocktails. TV Tropes notes this: Lower Deck Episode: Stanford is the only character outside the lead 4 who ever got his own subplots now and then.

So the relentless focus on relationships is becoming tiresome half-way through the second season. And it's not helped by the fact that the big love of Carrie's life is a character known as "Big" who has a horrible, block-like personality and is played by Chris Noth, who I don't think is attractive. And since Carrie is the main character, there are many episodes with this Big character and they're uniformly dreary - Carrie frets about his emotional unavailability, and he acts emotionally unavailable like a traditional boring taciturn middle-aged man. And he's a decade older than her, which annoys me.

And meanwhile Carrie is rejecting guys like the one played by Bradley freaking Cooper for silly reasons - in that case because he pointed out an unflattering photo of Carrie in a magazine.

So I'm starting to feel pretty alienated from this show, and now I'm remembering why I didn't warm up to it in the first place.

But t turns out I have my own tenuous connection to SATC - in an episode in the middle of the first season, my actor friend Diane pops up, playing the girlfriend of a guy that Big sort-of knows - see photo above. The point of the scene is for Carrie to fret about why Big didn't introduce her to these people, and Diane only gets to say "nice to meet you" but it's still kind of cool. I worked with Diane just this past December in a reading of my DARK MARKET play. I don't remember her ever mentioning she was on SATC, but I imagine that in its day it was a little like Law & Order - almost every NYC actor appears on the show at some point.

So I don't know if I'm going to watch the entire series. I guess it depends on how long this cold hangs on.