6.19.2008

Let's Talk About Sex...and the City


I was prepared to hate the Sex and the City movie.

I already had the beginning of the ranting blog post composed in my head as I purchased my ticket. It had something to do with how I rolled my eyes along with Nate as he described the increase in cosmos he's been serving at work lately, and his stories of fifty-something New Jersey housewives giggling about "how Carrie" they were. Um, yeah, wearing a big flower brooch doesn't make you "Carrie."

I just knew I was going to write about how that movie just sucked the big one and how every critic was right and what a freaking waste of $12 and two hours of my life it was and...

and then, as the opening credits started to roll, I cried.

Don't tell Nate.

(Don't tell anyone I know. Because I think it's supposed to be cool to hate Sex and the City these days.)

Sure, I could talk about the forced plot twists, the dialogue which sounds mostly like it was written by gay men, the fact that no one sleeps in pearls. But then I'd have missed the point entirely.

What people like Nate misunderstand is that the series was not just some annoying show that made thousands of women think that they were ohmygod JUST LIKE Carrie/Miranda/Charlotte/Samantha. Well okay, it was that. But it was more. If you read between the Manolos, it wasn't about fashion or dating or love or even sex. What it was was a strikingly dimensional homage to the importance of adult female friendships.

And I watched it every single week, every episode, without fail. And I loved it.

It's hard to remember of course. The years since the series has been off the air, I slowly joined the cynics, forgetting my fondness for the show, the characters, the relationships, the writing before it crossed the line from clever to punny to yeouch. I've told myself that it was a moment captured, and that its time had passed, sort of like when you listen to your favorite song from high school for the first time in ages and for the first time, you realize how absolutely terrible it is.

But that's not what happened at all. Sitting in that theater, the subway rumbling beneath me and my arm elbow-deep in popcorn made me remember exactly what I loved about the show then. More than that, it reminded me what I liked about myself then.

When SATC originally aired, I was a perpetually single writer who wrote a lot about dating. And no, I wasn't ohmygod JUST LIKE Carrie, but I did have a lot of shoes and no mortgage payment, and I did have my share of one-night-stands with bold-faced names and I certainly could walk into Jeffrey and drop a week's paycheck on a cashmere tank top without having looked at the price tag first.

Sigh.

And no, I wasn't ohmygod JUST LIKE Miranda, but as the series was drawing to a close and Miranda the high-powered attorney, was moving to Brooklyn to raise a kid with Steve the bartender, I, the high-powered ad exec, was moving to Brooklyn to raise a kid with Nate the waiter.

Let's just say there were some similarities. (And they were pointed out to me more frequently than I would have liked.)

New York women loved that show, dammit. It was our show. It was our city. It was our lives, even if it wasn't really our lives. Even if we'd never ever actually stepped foot onto the cobblestones of the meatpacking district after a velvet-roped party at Spice Market, or even knew what that meant. That's why the show worked.

I think it's every city chick's prerogative to swoon over the Vivienne Westwood dress, identify the shooting locations (Hey! That's La Focaccia on Bleecker!), recognize the extras, envy SJP's ability to look awesome in lingerie at 40+, and reminisce about when Patricia Field's on 8th Street was your favorite shop in high school, where the drag queen sales clerks urged you to try on bondage skirts behind dressing room doors that were neither high enough nor low enough to really afford any privacy.

It's our prerogative to enjoy the happy ending.

It's our prerogative to forget what we know about film criticism or relative coolness and just enjoy the ride for a couple of hours.

And I think it's every out-of-towner's prerogative to order the fucking cosmopolitans if it makes her happy.


35 Comments:

Blogger Grammye said...

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6/19/08, 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

I loved it too -- it was just perfect in its mix of humour and drama, and in capturing the spirit of the original series while offering enough meat to make a good movie.

I wondered on my own blog just yesterday whether women in NYC actually DO spend that kind of money on things like handbags and shoes. I'm secretly thrilled to find out the answer is yes! Now I can justify my own little shopping spree :).

6/19/08, 9:18 AM  
Blogger Feener said...

i saw it and i was concerned i would hate it as well and be disappointed, but i loved it. i thought the friendships and relationships were so real. the break up and dealing - so real. i didn't know it was the IN thing to hate it, but my super cool sis in law who lives in the city still and works for a super cool mag. of course said "oh i am so over it, it was 8 years ago"
i just about wanted to punch her out.

6/19/08, 9:25 AM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

NO, NO, NO! Don't encourage the cosmo-drinking tourist cougars who roam the meatpacking district wearing too much makeup while looking up at the sky and saying, "Gosh, Betty Sue. You ARE Carrie!"

Ugh...I find those women to be the most shallow misrepresentations of the females in my fair city. I get angry just thinking about it.

Oh well...don't tell anyone but I was watching Spiderman 2 the other day. Nobody else was at home. I teared up during the subway scene.

6/19/08, 9:40 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

I saw it, and loved it, but didn't realize WHY I loved it so much until you pointed it out.

Makes me want to go home and start watching the seasons all over again. Too bad I have this thing called a job. Stupid jobs.

6/19/08, 9:48 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Feener: I have said the same. (Sorry.)

And oh MD, you and Nate are two peas in a pod. I do stay out of the meatpacking district for that very reason these days.

I think the SATC writers put it best when the characters said of the cosmos, "Why did we ever stop drinking these?"

"Because everyone else started."

Zactly.

6/19/08, 9:53 AM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

This was brilliantly written as usual but, nope, still didn't love it. It felt dated and forced to me. I just felt like real women, me and my friends, have changed over the years while the characters seemed stuck in this time warp that made them seem (even more) unrealistic and kinda pathetic...

6/19/08, 9:57 AM  
Blogger KayleighJeanne said...

Cosmos are alright. Asking for a straw to drink it with is not.

6/19/08, 10:30 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

I loved SATC when it was on HBO. My closest girlfriend and I would make a date of it and order take-out and just stay at home to watch...every Sunday. Like you, I was incredibly skeptical about how they were going to pull off a movie.

But I loved it. Just listening to the Fergie-ized rendition of the opening theme was enough to make a few tears well in my eyes. I also laughed harder than I have at a movie in years!


And I agree. Who the hell sleeps in pearls?

6/19/08, 10:33 AM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

My husband orders Cosmos and pretends they're mine. True story.

6/19/08, 10:39 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Toyfoto:

My former boss orders Cosmos and pretends it's 1998 and he still has his hair. True story.

6/19/08, 10:51 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Love that last comment zinger!

The only SATC I've seen is in your old apt if I remember correctly. In fact, I think I've called it "Sex IN the City" for years. I'm a dork like that.

6/19/08, 10:57 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I loved it as well and cried repeatedly (eeek! That scene where Charlotte scream that gutteral scream at big just got to me) Having recently left my Miranda, Carrie, Charlotte and Samantha behind to move away it reminded me more than ever of the power of female friendship to get you through everything. We all grew up a lot both during the series and afterwards and it was wonderful to be reminded of how far we've come and what we have to show for it.

6/19/08, 12:46 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Hey, my gay friends STILL serve me cosmos over brunch. When we have time for such things, now that I've left Manhattan to raise a kid...

6/19/08, 1:03 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

I? Have never had a cosmo. Have never owned Manolos. Will never look fabulous in lingerie, and certainly do not get big old care packages from high end designers.

But I have been emotionally crippled and if NOTHING ELSE in that WHOLE movie won my heart (which it did, in spades), Carrie's despondency certainly would have gotten the job done.

I left wishing there were more. And went shoe shopping.

6/19/08, 1:27 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

Carrie marrying Big is not a happy ending. dude left her at the altar. a big closet doesn't always mean happy ending.

just saying.

6/19/08, 2:51 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

*Spoiler Alert*

Aha Ali, but the happy ending was realizing that the altar didn't represent their relationship in the first place, that the wedding had nothing to do with them as a couple, and that sometimes, a designer dress can cause more problems than it's worth. It was a fairly mature epiphany and I thought marked the total transformation of her character.

She chose the relationship over the wedding.

6/19/08, 3:31 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

I suspect I'm not even going to get a chance to see SATC unless it hits tv real soon. Sigh.

6/19/08, 4:50 PM  
Blogger AnotherMomCreation said...

I have my expectations very low on this movie....

But of course I'll be spending 10.50 to go see it.

6/19/08, 7:25 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

I loved the movie. And I watched the show.

Or maybe i loved a big huge girls' night out for my friend's birthday when we went to watch the movie, all ages.

Anyway, wrap it up in a box with a bow and I'm a happy camper. It might be I'm easy to please (read: out without kids and with friends) but I enjoyed it!

6/19/08, 7:33 PM  
OpenID Downtown said...

I agree. It was like a cross between visiting an old friend and a reflection of who you were in 2004 & seeing how far you've come.

6/19/08, 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Isabel Kallman said...

ahhh, Patricia Fields on 8th street was my go-to store when a in highschool. I loved my bandage halter bras. How about the baseball caps with the mirrored letters!?!

Yet another reason why i love you. You, too, can bring back those NY memories.

6/19/08, 8:12 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Downtown, you just summed it up perfectly. In 1 sentence no less.

6/19/08, 8:15 PM  
Blogger zellmer said...

I loved it, too, but it totally depressed me because I moved from NY 2 1/2 years ago, to a town where I don't have any girlfriends who would run downtown to be with me at midnight if I was lonely. Sigh.
Yes, it was a movie about girlfriends and it really made me miss mine in the worst way. I wrote a post about it, too.
And I also cried during the opening credits, out of sheer glee.

6/19/08, 9:36 PM  
Anonymous supertiff said...

i haven't seen it yet, but i am 100% sure that i will start to cry as soon as it starts, too.

i've never understood the backlash.
it reminds me of when i was in high school, and all of the kids who liked nirvana or pearl jam 'first' decided to hate them when they became popular.

that show moved me.
sure, it did get a bit 'punny' sometimes, but it moved me.
the end.
that's all that matters.

the only reason i haven't seen it yet is because i'm waiting until i can see it with all of my favorite girls...sadly, as we all know, that gets harder to do all that time. and it just makes this movie more special, really.

6/20/08, 12:10 AM  
Anonymous djadul said...

Wonderfully written. Appreciate Sex more than ever. Don't tell my husband.

6/20/08, 1:59 AM  
Blogger Mahlers On Safari said...

I'm so glad to hear that you loved it because I have been sitting and waiting paitiently in Dar for the fucking movie to get here! I was so excited last week when I found a bootleg version on the street. But the copy was so bad, and I want to see this movie so badly, that I returned it without watching more than the first 5 minutes (which was really really hard to do... but somethings do seem to be worth waiting for).

I hate to be so pedestrian, but I have about 20 frustrated and far-from-home girlfriends from all over the world (you have no idea how much SATC means to women from places as far as Pakistan, Sweeden and South Africa) who are all ready to run out to our one movie theater to see it as soon as it arrives! Unfortunately, one of your commenters just spoiled the end for me. Bummer.

6/20/08, 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

I cried during the opening credits for "The Breakup." I don't know why, exactly, but maybe it was just seeing Jennifer Aniston and thinking about the breakup of her marriage while she was filming that movie.

6/20/08, 12:04 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

"the dialogue which sounds mostly like it was written by gay men"

You are so smart.

6/21/08, 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Polina said...

I haven't yet seen the movie, but I do know what you're talking about. It's exactly the same feeling I have when I listen to my favorite songs... They are old-fashioned now, but make me feel the same 18-year-old-girl... in love, a bit crazy and very alive:)
the feel is priceless...

6/23/08, 6:31 AM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

I still haven't seen it but your post makes me want to.

6/23/08, 4:35 PM  
Blogger Tracee said...

small towns suck - I have to wait for the video. My cousin called me and told me it was her favorite movie ever.

6/23/08, 6:18 PM  
Blogger Cynthia Samuels said...

I'm with you Liz.. I wrote about it too -- (http://dontgelyet.typepad.com/
dontgeltoosoon/2008/06/indiana-jones
-c.html) especially about the joy of a happy ending earned by returning to the roots of you really are. So glad to hear you say so too.

6/23/08, 6:47 PM  
Blogger modmom said...

i've got a sex and the city giveaway.

do you have the book of the movie yet?

6/28/08, 8:36 PM  
Blogger Assertagirl said...

Um, my eyes welled up during the beginning of the film, too. I thought the series took a step in the right direction in the final season. Many viewers disliked how the show ended, but I loved some of the more thoughtful moments.

I thought I'd hate the film, but was pleasantly surprised.

7/10/08, 12:37 PM  

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