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We’ll Miss ‘Sex,’ But Not That Much

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Whenever I hear people talk about the social or political importance of some TV show or movie, I reflexively sneer. If I had a nickel for every time some sycophantic reviewer declared a show to have had a revolutionary effect on society, I could afford that incredible looking 50-inch plasma TV I saw at Best Buy this weekend.

So it goes with Sex and the City. Some of the current love fest is obligatory with the series coming to an end, but even a critic as august as the late Pauline Kael felt there was something special about it. If I recall, Kael said the interesting thing about Sex and the City is that it portrays women talking about men the way men usually talk about women. (I’m paraphrasing, I couldn’t find the exact cite.)

Kael was, I believe, only half right. Men don’t actually talk about women like that — at least not after their late teens/early twenties (technically, still boys), and the ladies of Sex and the City are coming up fast on the big four-oh. I have spent my share of time in sports bars and locker rooms and other areas where men congregate and I have never heard women spoken of the way men are spoken of on Sex and the City.

I can verify, however, that women of that age do talk like that. You can find yourself in a mixed group of 30-40 year-olds having an active conversation and, invariably, the ones talking bluntly and crudely about sex are the women. Often it gets so bad that the men have to go off to watch Sportscenter. Women are pigs.

So when I read that Sex and the City has been a cornerstone in the empowerment of women, I can only think, “Empowerment to do what, shamelessly converse like pubescent boys?” You’ve come a long way, baby.

Given all that, it might surprise you that I like Sex and the City. Stripped of the hype, Sex and the City is — or was — a good quality half-hour sitcom. Since it’s HBO, they can turn up the nudity, sex and profanity which can make it seem like something out of the ordinary, but that’s about what it is. They have done a good job over the years of growing the main characters out of their original superficialities. Fine acting performances, including the ones from the guest stars, are de rigueur. There has been a good balance of comic contrivance with soap-opera storylines. And they are getting out before everything goes stale (although I hear there is a full-length movie planned, which is worrisome).

Not actually revolutionary, but still a very good job. That’s nothing to sneer at.

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About David Mazzotta

  • Eric Olsen

    Aargh, I have tried to watch this show about once a season over the years and it has never failed to irritate me with its faux urban hipness, its unnatural-sounding vulgarity (like you said, this is liberating how?), its general unfunniness, the desperation of the characters, and ickyness of the main actresses, of whom only one is actually very attractive (Kristin Davis, Kim is 47 and looks it). You don’t have to have a show about female sexuality with only smoking hot, youngish actresses, but it doesn’t hurt, and the redhead is just flat out unattractive. Ew.

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    I really enjoyed the first two seasons of this show, but soon I lost interest. I thought it was a good show, but once it became the most acclaimed thing ever (maybe riding the coattails of the Sopranos on the “IT” network,) it became OVER-rated. Once that happens, my perception changes. It became bastardized by the press and people making outlandish claims, etc. That has a tendency to ruin anything for me.

    As an aside, I heard there are shirts out now that say “I am a Carrie” or “I am a Miranda,” etc. Blech. I can’t think of anything worse. These are the “Frankie Says” T-Shirts of the future.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    I keep watching “Sex and the City” despite the fact I don’t like any of the characters, Carrie in particular has been nothing but a hateful bitch for the past three years.

    As for Miranda, her treatment of Steve was just cunty to the max. Her biggest worry this season? Moving to Brooklyn. Here she has a decent, caring guy and she stresses about moving somewhere affordable and better for her kid?

    I just know that tonight’s final ep will be some sort of wank-fest (in ny ideal ep, Big will tell Carrie to go fuck herself).

  • Eric Olsen

    In my ideal episode the screen goes blank – oh wait, that’s going to happen.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    RE: “Sex & The City T-shirts.Last night there was a joke on SNL regarding this.
    Loosely “If you buy an “I am Carrie,I am
    a Miranda” T-shirt etc.for each of the 4
    characters you get a fifth T free that
    says:”I am a Moron”.Must agree.

  • http://damsite.blogspot.com David Mazzotta

    The best suumary I can offer is this.

    Tonight I watched the 45 minutes finale. It was well crafted, not overwrought, and for the most part didn’t fall into any of the traps series finales often do. It held my interest.

    Immediately after “Sex and the City”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” came on and I was on the freakin’ floor laughing for a half-hour straight.

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