Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Sex and the Slutty
Or, 4 Hos in Manolos

Although it was a good time while it lasted, I have to say that I’m not going to miss Sex in the City, the HBO show about the big city adventures of four fashionably dressed sexual predators, all that much. It was always fun to see what venereal escapades and imbroglios the girls had gotten themselves into, as well as what they were wearing, although Carrie definitely drifted into fashion victim territory often enough for some critic to accuse the show's stylists of intentionally dressing her to look like an organ grinder’s monkey. Although I desperately wished the girls would talk about something, anything besides men or themselves (it was especially annoying to see the way each girl would seize onto the most tenuous segue to wrest the conversation back to her favorite topic, herself), their friendships did seem genuine and the writing clever and witty.

The HBO show was inspired by Candace Bushnell’s column in the New York Observer, and let me advise you that if you liked the show, under no circumstances should you read one word she has written. Please trust me when I tell you that theHBO writers turned a real sow’s ear into a silk purse. The TV writers are to be congratulated for pulling off that amazing feat of alchemy, because not only is Bushnell’s writing inept and dissonant, her characters are vicious, shallow gold diggers, unredeemable in almost any way. The ‘Carrie’ in Bushnell’s column is almost unrecognizable from that of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character. She is extremely unlikable, much like Candace Bushnell herself, I suspect, based on interviews I’ve seen of her. The first time I saw her I thought she was this amazingly beautiful woman, impeccably groomed, her wonderfully maintained highlights shimmering expensively under the studio lights. She seemed like this perfect little blue eyed china doll until she opened her mouth, when her affected Long Island Lockjaw, her simpering smugness, and the inane platitudes she spewed collectively ruined all of her allure. Recently I saw her interviewed on Oprah, and the pearl of wisdom she bestowed to single girls looking for a husband was ‘to think outside the box.’ Well, if that means marrying an obviously homosexual ballet dancer 9 years your junior after knowing him just 8 weeks, well then, good for you, Candace, following your own advice like that, because that definitely was thinking outside the box.

Lately Carrie’s puns on the show were getting especially grating, and the girls seemed obscene and hardened instead of daring and sexually liberated.
Like when Carrie was talking about going to visit Big over breakfast with the girls, and she started doing this dancy, pot stirring motion with her hands and says crassly,

“Ah-I’m going to get laiiiiiid.”

Carrie, you’re all class, babe.

Samantha was always outrageous, but announcing your suspicions about your maid using your vibrator is not appropriate dinner party conversation, especially when it's apparent that you're repulsing your elegant, Old World (if a little creepy Hannibal Lector-ish) host. Have at least a little bit of courtesy and respect.

Carrie's flailing in Paris experience proves that she may be a New Yorker, but she’s also provincial and shallow.

The perfect antidote to the show was a recent Daily Show segment. In one of their 'set up' interviews Lauren Weidman sat down with 3 Carrie wannabes, all drinking Cosmopolitans. They’re all ready to dish about what fun it is to be a young single girl in New York because they’re naive enough to think that this is an actual interview. At one point, they’re all nattering on and talking over each other in this very annoying way when Lauren interrupts them by blurting out, “So, who likes to take it in the back door?”

The way those girls recoil in shock and horror is something to see, and Lauren succeeds in finally shutting them up.

To see the segment, scroll down on the right hand side of this link to "The Real Sex and the City."

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