Chicks with dick jokes
Okay, time for some serious sociology. Or at least snarky media criticism, which often passes for serious sociology in our particular culture (well, mine, if you happen to not be reading this from the good ole' US of A ).
But first, let me unload my official position on aesthetics: when it comes to art, there are no right answers.
None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Bupkiss.
Art, by definition, is subjective. If it weren't, they'd call it science, and they'd have to peer-review TV Guide
Stating that one particular musical composition is "better" than another is a complete absurdity. Same goes for television, theater, movies, painting, sculpture, and abstract compositions of religious icons composed solely of dung from endangered species found only in and around MOMA.
criteria commonly used to assess art that can be said to be objective is how many people like it. This is a painful realization. It means Britney Spears
comes out ahead of Moby
. It means that Independence Day
is "better" than Vanilla Sky
. It means that Friends
is superior to Buffy
I'm trying to point out unpleasant ideas here, if it isn't getting through.
But that's the way it is. So best not to worry about it. And therefore: best to approach any discussion of art with the idea that, unlike history, politics, and science --- there are no right answers. There's just the noise you're making in your argument, and the noise the other guy is making with his. And the question is: who can shout louder.
And so: On to the shouting.
I will put it simply: I do not understand Sex and the City
Sopranos, I get. (I have issues with it, but I enjoy it, and I wouldn't for a second try to say it's not an extremely well done show --- and my qualms are subject for another post). Six Feet Under, I haven't seen. But Sex and the City, I have, and damnit, it drives me nuts.
So what's the problem? you ask. Don't watch it. Take your own advice, and sleep soundly knowing that there are no objective measures of culture.
Surely you can figure this part out.
Yup. You got it right. My fiancée. A lovely, intelligent woman, with a successful career in a male-dominated field, two degrees from a high-end university, and more smarts than you and I put together. She eats highly intelligent guys for lunch at work, and looks great doing it.
And I think she wants to be Carrie when she grows up.
And so, I am the proud (co-) owner of the first three seasons of Sex and the City on DVD. I know Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte far better than I had ever intended to. I know who Big is. I know who Aidan is. And I can hum that goddamn theme song jingle in my sleep.
How is SatC deeply, fundamentally and morally wrong
? Let me count the ways:
1) Dialogue that makes The Phantom Menace look like Shakespeare. Are the Carrie-while-she's-writing-voiceovers supposed
to be corny? Tell me they are some ironic, post-modern and self-referential in-joke and I'll be happy. But I just am filled with fear that they are not, and that they are meant to be Deeply Important Thoughts on Relationships. (shudder).
2) Fascination with bodily fluids that makes American Pie look like.... well, Shakespeare. (Sorry, low on analogies today). Hence: Chicks With Dick Jokes. (Hey, I just told that line to my mother on the phone and she
laughed, so who the hell do you think you are to not be amused?). It's not that this stuff offends me; far from it. But there is a difference between not being offended, and being amused, and the gulf is a large one in this case. The ha-ha-we're-women-talking-about-semen thing got old around Season 1, Episode 2. Move on, ladies, move on.
3) Utterly predictable plots. Tell me true: in Season 3, was there anyone who for a second didn't think that Carrie would sleep with Big again and screw things up with Aidan? It's Gilligan's Island
with relationships. The Skipper and the gang weren't ever gonna get off that patch of sand, and Carrie ain't never gonna have a peaceful, happy relationship. If they do, there ain't no show.
4) Kim Cattrall. I remember Mannequin
, man. I was like 14, and she was the shit. What I wouldn't have done for that girl! And even in Star Trek VI,
she was kinda hot as a Vulcan. But now? She's just scary
One minor high point: Kyle MacLaughlan in Season 3 is delightfully creepy, in a Stepford Husband kind of way. I keep expecting him to say "My name is Trey, Charlotte. My name has become a killing word.". (Jeer within a cheer: So is Lynch only hiring lesbians these days, and MacLauglan has to actually look for real work?)
Anyway. You get the idea. And so, fearless TTLB readers, I lay down the gauntlet. I throw down my glove. I mix metaphors blatantly to taunt you into responding in some creative fashion to my feeble stab at media criticism:
Somebody, please, explain to me why Sex and the City is still on the air.
You know what to do
PS - Since I'm bashing one program, I feel an obligation to lay my cards on the table and give others the opportunity to malign my
taste. I think Buffy
are fabulous. I think Babylon 5
was the best work of filmed science fiction ever, and one of the best end-to-end works of dramatic fiction to grace the screen, period. I think Vanilla Sky
was amazing; I think The Usual Suspects
was fabulous, and I even thought "V
" was fun in an extremely campy kind of way. So take your best shots, punks.