Sunday, February 10, 2008

Life post-SatC

I don't think I'm exactly going out on a limb to say that the Sex and the City movie will be vastly more popular and successful than either of its two follow-ups on TV, Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle. I watched the pilots of both and barely made it through for CM. To my surprise, I vastly enjoyed the Lipstick premiere, but then found myself wondering why -- and kind of judging myself for falling prey to its Knight on a White Jet character (Andrew McCarthy, all growed up).

Both have quite stellar casts featuring people I'm quite fond of from other assorted venues. CM boasts Miranda Otto of LOTR fame and Frances O'Connor, who I liked very much in Mansfield Park (she also played the bitchy girlfriend in Bridget Jones). Also Lucy Liu and Bonnie Somerville, who I had to look up to realize that she played one of Ross's girlfriends on Friends. She's one of those actresses who has been kicking around various projects forever.

So is Lindsay Price on Lipstick, that poor beautiful woman who was part of the train wreck o'crassness that was the American Coupling. She's half Asian, by the way -- interesting, isn't it, that both shows went for a token minority and made it an Asian? (Bonnie Somerville has a black girlfriend, but I don't know if that'll be long-term.) Her costars are much more famous, Kim Raver from 24 and Brooke Shields. McCarthy likewise needs no introduction. Really lots of good acting all around on both shows, with very slight scripts.

They're really identical shows in a lot of ways; lots of pretty clothes, high-powered careers all emphasized heavily this time (no Charlottes), dysfunctional relationships with good-looking men, and feeling put upon. All the time! I think that was why I could barely make it through CM. These women just didn't look like they were having any fun to me, unless they were enjoying strutting around in Patricia Fields' designs.

I don't think either show really has a point right now, which is a serious problem. Ally McBeal, much as I hate it for many reasons, introduced a new modern archetype: the neurotic, high-powered career female, who is still nothing without a man. SatC at least improved this by making it strong career females who were romantics at heart (well, though extremely deep down in Miranda's case). It also celebrated sisterhood as the strongest bond. These two new shows offer nothing new yet; CM could do well by going the deliciously evil route, if they're brave enough. Well, we'll see. The SatC pilot was no prize.

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