I think SATC2 suffers from a bout of ill-timing and age. Accordingly, these make it seem tone-deaf to the mood of the country. It’s not the case that this latest offering was exceptionally bad, it’s just that the scales have fallen from our eyes and the inherent ridiculousness shines through.
A certain someone I know told me that she loves “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” I understand why, Isla Fisher is cute and funny (Exhibit A: Wedding Crashers). The movie failed and failed hard. If there was any message the world didn’t want to hear as the mortgage bubble was bursting, retirements were being be-Madoffed, and venerable banking institutions were requiring infusions of tax dollars, it was “sometimes I buy too much pretty stuff!” So perhaps that movie got an unfair shake owing to the vicissitudes of the release cycle.
Yet “Shopaholic’s” message has always been the message of SATC. In 1998 as we danced at the peak of the tech-bubble, that a newspaper columnist’s primary concerns would be a good lay, a good stiff drink, and fancy shoes on her inexplicably inexhaustible bank account (I can imagine Carrie Bradshaw bankrupt and back in Mom’s basement after her 19 credit lines forced her to file for bankruptcy looking at heaps of shoes going: “What the hell was I thinking?”) seemed to be an avatar of the zeitgeist. And contrary to expectation, as real-world NYC went to hell in a handbasket, her lifestyle aligned with the post-9/11 advice of the buffoon, George W. Bush who encouraged America to, in a time of crisis, “go shopping.” Because the terrorists hate our freedom to buy lo-rise pants and belly tops, slap them on nubile jailbait, apparently.
Roger Ebert hit the nail on the head with:
Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies.
In a time when America is generally tightening its belt, to keep promulgating this message takes their lives and actions from “wouldn’t it be great if…” fantasy to “get a grip you bobblyhead” reality. Most of the criticism I’ve read is from those wondering just how entitled Charlotte is to feel that she barely makes it with hired help or what sort of an ungrateful woman doesn’t like that her husband, reformed skirt-chaser wants to spend time with her in their opulent (of course) home – oh right, Carrie.
Bono once said that if you were successful enough in the music business, you eventually become a parody of that (young, hard charging, awesome, gritty, great band) you once were. Ironically, he said this at the opening of Zoo TV.
Or, as Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle said:
A little background for our younger readers: U2 is a band that was cool throughout the mid-1980s, then it briefly sucked, then it became cool again, then it sucked for a much longer time – and then it got sort of cool for a third time but the band members sold their musical souls in the process. This video was taken right at the beginning of their first period of sucking.
I think this has a lot to bear on the SATC universe. SATC clever:
Miranda Hobbes: The only two choices for women; witch and sexy kitten.
Carrie Bradshaw: Oh you just said a mouthful there sister.
not the dubbing of a certain vigorous male “Lawrence of my Labia. (SATC overwrought)”
Question: Why does Kim Cattrall deliver all her lines like Snagglepuss?
Really. Check it out.
Lauren and I, when encountering a situation which is SATC-like, and which calls for a ham-handed double entendre (see above) often deliver it with a:
Mmmmm, Carrie, you could say that it wasn’t a ham-burger, but a man-burger.
Anecdote: The Gay Vote
I think I knew there was a sea-change afoot on Friday. I went to get a slice of pizza at Marcello’s at Castro and Market and as I walked past the beautiful Castro movie house I overheard three men walking ahead of me one of whom said:
“…God he was like a horse, speaking of horses, we’re all skipping "Sex and the City 2”, right?"