Sex and the City the tv series was something I only ever heard of in passing. We didn’t have that channel when I grew up and either way I think I was a few years too young to appreciate it when it originally aired. I saw half an episode a few years ago, and then one episode of the Carrie Diaries when it came on Netflix but that is all the exposure I’ve had to the SatC franchise.
And then the Worst Idea of All Time came into season two. I love this podcast a lot and it’s been a matter of personal pride to never watch the movies they review, out of respect for these good good boys and all the good good work they’re doing. If someone warns you about the badness of a movie 52 times, you listen. That said, one night a couple of weeks ago I was lounging in the couch, aimlessly browsing Netflix and realised that the first SatC movie was up. It wasn’t the Abu Dhabi sequel so surely this was fine, right? How terrible could it be?
Really terrible, it turns out. I knew it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea and that’s fine, not everything in the world should be tailored to my specific preferences, but I had no idea what an absolute insult to women this piece of crap is. I’m sure there are plenty of women (and men) out there who define themselves through this franchise and maybe I don’t get it because I wasn’t around for the SatC sexual revolution but from a pure story telling and characterisation standpoint (which is kind of what I do for a job anyway) this was inexcusable. It didn’t seem like the kind of movie where it’s intentional to have no likeable characters, but it was exactly that. Everyone was a bad person. I could never understand why these four women were even friends with each other, unless it’s because no one else wants to be friends with them.
I’m absolutely a feminist (don’t even get me started) and I understand that there’s a huge variety within the group of people labeled as women and some of those people probably are exactly like the gal pal quartet of SatC and that in itself is fine. You do you. What I don’t understand is how a franchise can be this popular when every lead character in it is a stereotype of a needy, emotional, immature middle-aged woman who can’t hold an adult conversation to save her life and throws the biggest dramatic temper tantrum she can get away with – which is a lot because every single person in this movie is an enabler. It didn’t seem like anyone really learned from their mistakes either, instead reverting to who they were at the beginning of it in true Spoiled Rich White New Yorker. They got what they wanted all along while leaving a trail of burning garbage in their wake.
Was this a highly conceptual parody of a genre I didn’t even know existed outside of SatC? Is this actually really clever satire on the portrayal of women in media as immature, self-centered, needy clingbabies, meant to heavy-handedly subvert the genre and make us think more about what representation does to our consumerist society? Or is this just the Pink Adam Sandler: For Women™ ? I don’t know and maybe I will never know. The only thing I’m sure of right now is that I’ve been angry about this movie longer than I’m willing to admit to.
Bless you, Tim and Guy. I don’t know how you do it.