Amy Sohn's new novel Prospect Park West is set for big things - even a possible TV show. Think, "Momosphere in the City," complete with an SJP producer's credit. And public breastfeeding:
Sohn's novel lampoons a specific neighborhood - the ultra-yuppie, ultra-P.C, ultra-stroller-mobbed-out, beyond-parody Brooklyn neighborhood that's a byword for "smugness" and nice houses in the tri-State area. But she could just as easily be talking about parent populations all across the country - and online. These are the women who populate the "momopshere," those fabled helicopter parents who assume everyone shares the same level of fascination with their children's diets and can afford to worry about the provenance of a cloth diaper.
It's a population that's an easy target, and PPW won't be the first time: since the 80s we've seen the overly-involved parent lampooned, and everyone from SATC to Desperate Housewives. If this is different, it's because these moms, for once, will be the protagonists - something we haven't really seen since Thirtysomething, and not in the age of modern helicopter parenting. According to the New York Times, Park Slope's denizens are already bridling at their fictional portrayal at Sohn's hands. One mother sniffs that she's in fact a "non-frumpy, non-cargo-wearing mom who actually has a good marriage, unlike PPW would have us believe."
Indeed, Prospect Park West isn't that far a cry from Candace Bushnell's "social anthropology." The "mix of social satire, interpersonal drama and urban glamour - there's a movie star character, Melora Leigh, based in part on the actress Jennifer Connelly, who lived in a mansion on Prospect Park West until last year" doesn't sound that different from a slew of shows we've seen - and waved goodbye to - in the past few years. But this has The Mommy Wars - an always fraught subject that's as contentious right now as it's ever been. From Women Obsessed with their Kids to Moms Paranoid About Nannies to Feminists Hating Babies to Feminists Loving Babies to I Secretly Hate My Kids, if this does become a show there's fertile ground here for discussion - and very fertile ground for simplistic misrepresentation of the kind that keeps these wars going. Potentially, a show about moms - and the Great Conversation - could be a chance for something really engaging. Or it could be Sex and The (Nursing) Titty.