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Thursday, 18 September 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 37: Sex and the City

I'm heavily into TV shows. It's become ritual for me to set my sights on a series, start watching it from the beginning and move all the way to the end, most often watching episodes over breakfast in the morning, which is the only time I have free. In the past I've worked through Supernatural, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, The A-Team, Friends, Seinfeld, Scrubs, Futurama, Family Guy, Pokemon, Lie to Me and Boston Legal (twice). There have been other shows that I've started because I had a season or two on DVD, but never gotten around to completing. A couple of months ago I finished the most recent season of Supernatural, and since then I've been on a bit of a hiatus. So when I visited my friend Sarah last week and the conversation turned to her all-time favourite show, I was intrigued.

I'm the kind of guy who appreciates good work, whether it's targeted at me or not. So Sex and the City had always been one of those things that I knew I had to get onto some day. I knew it would be an eye-opening experience and something I could certainly learn from. Sarah asked me if I wanted to borrow the first season from her and I knew the answer had to be yes.


I watched the first episode over breakfast the next day. I was instantly shocked at how crude it was. I knew it would be confronting, but to have a sex scene during the opening monologue? Really sets the tone for the rest of the show...

Being a guy who's spent a lot of time around passionate feminists, I wasn't sure how I was meant to react to the show's portrayal of men. They seemed to be treated a bit like the enemy - Bad people who always had to be navigated so that the women could get what they want. But the show was clearly onto something. They unapologetically called attention to a lot of very harsh truths that people were either too afraid or too politically correct to admit. My favourite example was the introduction of Skipper, the show's resident "nice guy". He had none of the traits that women say they find frustrating in men. He always endeavoured to treat them with respect and affection. And the girls found him the most boring person they knew. They had no real respect for him, they just saw him as "the nice guy". Welcome to dating.

I was on Facebook talking to Sarah straight after the show.
'I told you it objectified men a bit,' she said.
'Yeah, not that I really mind. It was just interesting to watch.'
'I think it sorts itself out by season two. Stops being so crude and really starts to identify with its audience.'
'I look forward to it. I didn't expect Mr Big to come into it so soon!'
'Pay attention, because the first and the last episode are linked really closely.'
'Ok then. The two things that stood out to me were that he had absolutely no interest in Samantha and his reaction when Carrie asked him if he'd ever been in love.' (he'd stood up and quite forcefully said "Abso-fuckin'-lutely," and then the episode finished)
'A ha! I knew that would stand out to you!'
'So I was right to take note of that part?'
'Yes. Yes you were.'

After watching the second episode on Friday, I was back onto Sarah again.

'New York City is twelve hundred square kilometers big. How on Earth do Carrie and Mr Big keep bumping into each other? Either it's a ridiculous coincidence or we've got a stalker on our hands.'
'Or it's a genius plot device about destiny ;)' she replied.
'.....I withdraw my statement.'

By the third episode, I was really starting to enjoy it. I could already see the transition into a more observational style of storytelling and it was definitely less crude. The fourth episode came around and I was starting to laugh out loud at some of the jokes. When Carrie woke up in the apartment of a twenty-something guy and realized what a disgusting slob he was, I couldn't stop giggling. The same was true in the fifth episode with that artist who'd developed an intense passion for painting "the cunt". And in the sixth episode I was back to watching the relationship develop between Carrie and Mr Big. I wasn't exactly screaming at the TV for them to fall in love and run away together. I was more just fascinated to see where this relationship would go.

I've definitely gotten on board with this series and I'll carry it out until the end. With only half-hour episodes, it'll be much easier to fit into my day than the hour-long shows I've been watching lately. I get the feeling I'll learn a few things too while I'm at it. And for anyone who's wondering, I'd say I'm probably Carrie.

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Only because I haven't mentioned which one I'd do.

      Charlotte.

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  2. I wonder if the "nice guy" looked like Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling, if they would have still found him boring? Or if Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling were super nice, would that suddenly make them unattractive to women? Perhaps when you are finished watching all 30 season of "Sex in the City" you will have the answer for us.

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  3. I could never get into this TV show and it wasn't just because I'm not interested in straight people's sex lives. It was the contradiction at the heart of the show that turned me off. As far as I'm concerned, if someone wants to pursue sex as a recreational activity, more power to them. That's just fine. But then don't turn around and endlessly moan and whine and bitch and complain about not finding true romantic love. That requires a different set of values and priorities.

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    1. That's a really good point. You've just changed the way I'll watch the show. I'll still enjoy it, but now I'll have a bit of "it serves them right" stuck in the back of my head.

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  4. A very silly show about women in need of vibrators rather than men. The redhead Miranda was possible okay - did you know the actress who played her became a lesbian in real life?

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    Replies
    1. Are you sure she became a lesbian after the show? I thought she was always a lesbian.

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  5. It seems like I would be the type that would love that show, but I just never really got why it was so popular. Mostly the women irritated me. Full disclosure, I've only watched three or four episodes, so maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance, but I'm okay with that :)

    Now Supernatural...there's a great show! One of my favorites (only I wish there was more romance in it, ha ha)

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    1. I love Supernatural, but after the end of season five, it was hard to work out where to go from there. It was still good, it just couldn't reach the heights of those first five seasons :P

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  6. I enjoy watching it for the writing and acting. Both are exceptional. It does stereotype both genders, though, in an annoying way. And what writer amongst us can afford an apartment in Manhattan and closet full of Jimmy Choos shoes for writing a sex column? Yeah, I'm jealous of that sexy, skinny b*tch.

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    Replies
    1. I'm still undecided on the quality of acting :P But I agree on the being a writer thing, what gives?

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  7. PS Nice to meet you. I figured you could use a Jewish disciple so I jumped aboard.

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha nice to meet you too! I added you to my reading list, I'm not sure if it lets people know when that happens :P

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  8. Thanks for your supportive comment on my blog, Michael, and for adding Life by Chocolate to your reading list. Oh, I commented with the site for donations, if you want to look into that.

    You're awesome. Have a great afternoon & week. =)

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    Replies
    1. Yep, I've bookmarked it and I'll donate when my next paycheck comes in. Thanks!

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