Sex and the Critic

Well, the word on the street* seems to be that the latest Sex and the City film is atrocious. This makes me sad. The first film was disappointing enough. I’m sad that the next one is reportedly even worse.** And apparently, there isn’t even much of beautiful Manhattan to perve at.

The good thing about a sequel is that it helps keep my thesis research topical. Thanks Carrie! Unfortunately, the films are such a reversal of the first season of the television series***, that the argument I made about the way SatC reflects (some) feminist themes is made kinda redundant. Well, not completely redundant. It’s just that now, whenever I mention that part of my PhD research was about Sex and the City, I’m going to get people rolling their eyes and telling me how awful it became.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Sex and the City, but I grew to like it after researching it. The first season was relatively progressive television. And it was funny. It first screened in the late-1990s. Television with four strong, assertive, wise-cracking female characters had not been seen before. They talked about sex. They discussed topics that had previously been absolutely taboo on the small screen (vibrators, bisexuality, anal sex, female friendship? Whoah, watch out America). Hell, the title even had the word “sex” in it. That in itself was somehow a bit of a breakthrough.

And while I don’t particularly want to see the sequel, as someone who spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking and writing about the TV series, I feel somewhat obliged to check it out. I wonder if I can sneak in to a cinema and watch it for free? I don’t really want to pay money because I don’t want to encourage a tre-quel.

I don’t really know where I stand on SatC 2. I think I’m strangely caught somewhere in between these two fantastic Australian commentaries:

* Sex and the City 2: A Letter to Feminism’s Snuff Film (Helen Razer at badhostess)

* Hating on Sex and the City is soooo 2006 (Rachel Hills at musings of an inappropriate woman)

On the one hand I’m furious that the new film is a racist, misogynistic, ageist piece of crap with un-ironic product placement. And on the other, having not seen it yet myself, I’m tempted to wonder how audiences will receive and interpret the flick. Most of the women I spoke to during my fieldwork, whether they were fans or not, were critical of aspects of the TV series. Interestingly, they tended to make the same kinds of criticisms that film reviewers and feminist bloggers are making about the current film!

I’d love to do a quick exit-poll outside cinemas to gauge audiences reactions. Part of me suspects that fandom might still win out here. These four characters – as flawed as they are – have been in some people’s lives for about twelve years now. Twelve years! Even if the film versions have “jumped the shark“, Carrie Bradshaw and Co. will have a place in the hearts of many.

______
disclaimery things:

* The street, in this case, being twitter, facebook and various blogs that I read. :)
** No, I have not seen it yet. But I probably will. Soon. Dendy, want to shout me a ticket? I’ll pay for my own cosmo.
*** For my thesis, I analysed only the first season (of SatC and Desperate Housewives) rather than the every episode ever made, because alongside my interviews and focus groups I’d have had way too much data to work with.

4 Responses to “Sex and the Critic”

  1. Rachel @ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman Says:

    The reviews of Sex and The City 2 have been, on average, more entertaining and interesting than the film itself.

    Here are some of my favourites over the past week (far better than my own):

    The beautiful outfit is empty
    http://www.theawl.com/2010/06/the-beautiful-outfit-is-empty

    Sex and shopping are no worse than gadgets or guns
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/may/31/sex-city-male-female-fantasy

    Sex and the City, Just Wright, Gender Bonding, and RomCom Fantasy Worlds
    http://www.racialicious.com/2010/06/01/sex-and-the-city-just-wright-gender-bonding-and-romcom-fantasy-worlds/

    What Tami Said can save you $8: My review of “Sex and the City 2″
    http://www.racialicious.com/2010/06/01/what-tami-said-can-save-you-8-my-review-of-sex-and-the-city-2/

  2. Lou Says:

    Hey Pen,

    You share my opinion exactly – the TV series was great (in the beginning, not so much towards the end) and the the first movie ruined everything that was original and groundbreaking about the show. Argh! I was so upset – and even worse was that people couldn’t understand why I hated it so much! I felt the movie should have been renamed ‘Monogamous Heterosexual Hollywood Cliches in the City’.

    I kind of hoped the second movie would be different – but, no. Also, Sarah Jessica Parker is fucking terrifying these days. I had the misfortune of paying money to see ‘Did You Hear About the… (Watsons? Harrisons? Who can remember) – because Hugh Grant was in it, but it was just… so… bad…! Oh my GOD!

    Anyway, keep up the good blogging work – you rock :)

    -lou

    • doctorpen Says:

      Aw, thanks Lou. It’s a fun and difficult challenge this blogging thing. Always good to know when people get something out of it.

      I saw the shorts for that “Did you hear about ___?” film and it looked pretty bad. Hugh Grant couldn’t save it? I’m quite partial to Mr Grant every now and again. :)

      I love your re-titling of the first SatC film!

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