So, word on E 73rd St is that there will be a third installment of the Sex and the City movie franchise after all. And I, for one, am really excited to hear this news and would pre-order my ticket right now if I could.
The naysayers and critics of the show and the movies really surprise me. Among the top of the list of “Issues with the Show” is that Carrie is not a great role model and that women should not aspire to be like her. Well yeah, they shouldn’t, because she’s a character. And on a comedy at that. If TV comedies are where you look for your role models, then that says more about you than the show.
If you’re as much of a fan as I am (or is it ‘as much of a geek as I am’?) then you’ve probably also re-watched the entire series via the directors commentary. And in those commentaries, it is acknowledged that Carrie is not always like-able, but that’s what makes her even easier in which to relate. Should we throw her to the wolves because she is not well nuanced in her finances and not good with computers? I’m sorry, are all women everywhere financial gurus and tech savants? I don’t see how having her be less inclined in these areas is setting women back. I didn’t look to Carrie Bradshaw as the pinnacle of a feminist Everywoman, and I also don’t begrudge the character or the show just because she isn’t. But I would still bet that every woman can see something of themselves in her, just as we can also probably all recognize within ourselves a bit of Miranda’s stubbornness, some of Charlotte’s naivete, and (deny it all you want) a touch of of Samantha’s lasciviousness (even if only hidden deep within the recesses of our minds).
Many times over Carrie does not always make the smartest decision when it comes to men and love. How does this equal a reason to lambaste her? Judging from our national divorce rates and even in reviewing our own personal relationship track records, I would venture to say the same is true of just about everyone!
That the show focused too much on sex? This one might be the most ridiculous to even consider, but whatever, I’m already all in. Hello, its called Sex and the City. What would you suggest it be about? Yet even with such a title, I still don’t see the show as being all about sex. SATC premiered on HBO when I was a sophomore in high school, and (although I’m sure my mother would have preferred that I hadn’t) I watched it all from the very beginning. Maybe it was the provocative title or maybe it was all the surrounding media buzz that drew me in, but it was only the writing and stories that made me stay. It was never about the sex, which upon re-watching years later and again being clued in by the directors commentary, were never highly stylized, gratuitous scenes. They were actually always awkward and comical, which made the characters even more endearing and pertaining. But that was never what I remembered anyway. Even as a teen I recognized and appreciated the smart and funny observations from such on-point writing exploring the overall themes of romance and friendship. As I moved into college and the first half of my twenties, that’s when the love aspect of it actually did hit home more for me. Entering this stage at the cusp of the arrival of “hookup culture”, dating at this time was not always pretty and certainly not for the faint of heart. My friends and I may have had almost a decades age difference between the central characters of the show, but the types of men we were meeting and the dating situations we found ourselves in was apparently universal for single women of all ages everywhere. There was always some truth, some element of “OMG, I know just that guy!” that we always experienced when watching. It helped us laugh, it helped us analyze, and it helped us realize we could move on and do better. The show was fun. It was funny. It was fantasy and escapism in that the clothes, fashion, and glamour did not truly correlate but were nevertheless a delight to behold and admire. And it was realism in its depiction of longtime friends for whom one could more accurately describe as family.
Because above it all, beyond any man or romance or Manolo Blahnik stiletto featured on the show, my biggest takeaway was always the enduring love the ladies had for one another. When Carrie impulsively leaves her seat and takes Miranda’s hand to join her during her mother’s funeral procession; when a devastated Carrie flings herself into Charlotte’s arms after being left at the altar and the typically demure Charlotte fiercely halts Big in his tracks from coming any closer; when the girls literally spoon feed life into Carrie as she wilts in bed from a broken heart; when Carrie, without being asked, traverses a biting cold and snowy NYC landscape to Miranda’s house on New Year’s Eve because she knew instinctively that her friend needed her….these are but a few scenes that have continued to bring tears to my eyes and resonate with me years and years later as a true depiction of what it looks like to have the love, loyalty, and support of other women in your circle.
I have friendships that I have maintained since the first grade. There are a handful of friends that I am closest to that I see the most often and by “most often”, I mean “still not that much”. Our lives are in such varying stages of career, marriage, and kids that it can sometimes be months before we actually physically spend time with one another. But phone calls, texts, and emails continue to permeate throughout. Together, we have seen one another through the similar trials of losing a parent, marriages, births of children, moving to different cities, and the pain of divorce and endings of relationships. It may not be feasible for us to meet up every week for brunch but without question, when its important, and even when its not, we will always be there for one another.
I am sure we will find the time to get together and go to the movies again when this one is released, just as we have done twice already. The first we definitely enjoyed. And yes, with the sequel Sex and the City 2, we did think it was convoluted and over the top. The whole Abu Dhabi trip as a background was a bit distracting and I do wish it had just centered more on their every day lives in New York, but that’s still hardly a reason to give a thumbs down on there being a third movie. In an era saturated with the plot gimmicks of these “reality” shows where every two seconds some woman is backstabbing and throwing drinks at another woman, I am all too excited at the prospect of watching a story line in which women value other women just as much as I do. They could travel again to Timbuktu with some brand new ridiculous back plot for all I care, so long as those warm and evoking themes of women, loyalty, friendship, love, and support are once again front and center. The fact that they will be “older” is icing on the cake for me. I’m in the coveted 18-34 female demographic (albeit the tail end of it) and even I think its absurd the lack of television shows and movies that explore women beyond this range. I watch Golden Girls now and think “this show is great, why isn’t there more of this?!” I am eager to see a portrayal of women in their 40s/50s that have only appreciated in value and an illustration of what their everyday life and love may look like at this stage. Like fine wine and cheese, I hope its even better.