In Defense Of Sex And The City

Michael Patrick King, the author and producer of myriad Sex and the City episodes and the writer and director of the forthcoming SatC movie, was interviewed in the April issue of W. The article begins thusly: "It's been said that New York was so essential to Sex and the City that it functioned as the HBO megahit's fifth lead character." And particularly in show's first season, Carrie, Miranda Samantha and Charlotte had the patina of real New Yorkers: Carrie was constantly broke; Miranda ate lunch from dubious-looking deli salad bars and bought cereal at the bodega; Samantha had serious roots and a cheesy haircut; Charlotte went to low-rent fortune tellers in the Bronx. Superficially, they had the trappings of actual people who live in actual New York, but over the years, the glamorous Manolos-and-Cosmo elements took precedence. Which is precisely the problem with the current stable of SatC wannabes, Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia; the lack of depth in the appearance and activities of their characters reveals the lack of depth in their construction.

All the women in Jungle and Mafia are high-powered to the point of absurdity. They're all uber-wealthy, they're all at the tippy-top of their fields. They have assistants to wait on them and they seem fairly unencumbered by the basic functions that weigh the rest of us all down. SatC was built around the little things — they constructed an entire episode around Carrie farting. But in the few glimpses of Jungle and Mafia that I've seen, the women are portrayed in the broadest strokes possible. Say what you will about Sex and the City, but those women, as Michael Patrick King says in the interview with W, "were always alive for me."

It's not really the series' fault that legions of superficial women embraced only the basest parts of the show — the pink drinks, the rich men, the heels worth one month's rent — and ignored its soul, which was marked by clever observations and often-relatable storylines. I'm not claiming that SaTC was Hamlet, but I do think it was something special, and that's why the movie is so hotly anticipated. "The real pressure, for me, is I have these four characters that people care about and know so well," King tells W. "There's a lot of expectation about what these women should be doing." As long as you focus on keeping it real, Mr. King, you're all right with me.

Bed Fellow [W]

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