The trouble with a life that includes no premium cable channels is that inevitably one is forced to gripe about a TV show ten years after its relevance has ended and it’s finally come out in syndication. Such is the case with “Sex and the City,” a show I’ve just now experienced, thanks to being trapped on an elliptical machine four times a week at a gym that shows only TBS and the Food Channel. (Just a quick aside here – who’s the psychopath who turns on the Food Channel while they’re working out? Is it a cry for help, or a terrible joke that the skinny people play on those of us desperately seeking girth reduction? Either way, it’s troubling.)
Anyway, back to my late-breaking diatribe, which I like to call “Sex and the City: Why, God, Why?” So I’ve seen maybe four or five episodes now, and I don’t understand how any of it is supposed to be entertaining. Watching it, I just feel ashamed, as though I want to turn around to every guy in the gym and say, “Honestly, not all of us are like that.” One episode I saw the other night involved Sarah Jessica Parker’s character getting picked up by a Hollywood agent played by Vince Vaughen. He took her out to lunch and then to his new $3.4 million home. After he told her the price of the property, she pounced on him like a cougar on a pork roast. Later, she gets woken up by an angry Carrie Fisher asking what they’re doing in her bed. Turns out, the guy was just a lowly personal assistant, not a high-powered agent. But the first thing Parker’s character asks him is whether or not lied to her about the money and the house. There’s no indignation that he lied to bed her. There’s only indignation that he lied about being rich.
And that’s my basic problem with much of the show – the way it turns romance into a commercial transaction, i.e., you can have me in exchange for that shiny new toy. All of the “Sex and the City” women seem to be looking for the richest man, the best looking man, the man who can buy her the biggest ring or the most luxurious fur. I’m sure I’m missing important plot points here – I have friends who like this show, so I’m assuming there’s depth here that I’m just not catching. But honestly, how can any self-respecting woman condone the behavior of these characters? Is it supposed to be parody, or am I supposed to feel empathy for these women? If it’s the latter, then I guess this is just another honking huge clue that I’m a black sheep in the American sisterhood flock. I don’t see anything glamorous or exciting or magical about these women’s lives. In fact, if I knew them in real life, I think I’d just feel sorry for them. And also wonder which of them carried a contagion, but that’s neither here nor there.
And so ends my culturally-obsolete fist shaking. Tune in next decade when I share my thoughts on “Deadwood” and why large-thighed men rarely look good in chaps.