Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Aspects in the City

You know what my first episode was of Sex & the City? The movie. I kid you not.

I went to see it by myself, because none of my friends who watched the show actually live around here. Though they had often told me about it, I thought, "Nah...not my kinda show."

Well, after the movie I was hooked. I've now blown through the first two seasons, and the next one is up in the queue on Netflix. The thing I've discovered is that many of my friends identify with a character on the show. You know how it goes, "Oh, I'm so much like Miranda," etc. Not so many of them say they are like Samantha. I think it's hard to nail down just one character we're like. I think we all have aspects of them all rolled into ourselves, especially as we grow older.

Charlotte is like the naive part of me who took an idealistic view of life and thought I would marry a celebrity and live happily ever after. She's clean, neat, and prim, all things that could be used to describe me, at least in my teens, and she's likable. Charlotte wants to always find the silver lining in a situation. She is hope incarnate.

Miranda is jaded, disillusioned, and smart. She's a high-powered career woman who nevertheless is subject to the same gut-wrenching emotions as the rest of us. Miranda is who I was during my 20s. I'd been hurt enough times to want to be the one to draw first blood. I focused more on my career than my fledgling family, while deep down I wanted what I had always wanted - love and security. While Miranda tries to put on a tough exterior (think of her running from Steve on the street), she is as soft inside as a cream puff (caving in when Steve shows up at her apartment). I was glad to see them work everything out in the movie.

Samantha gives as good as she gets. Pre-emptively controlling her sex life with men is the metaphor for how she lives her life. It isn't just about getting what she wants in bed; it's about being up for the big challenges in life. She wants what she perceives every man has, power, unbridled lust, and fun! As she said in a recent episode (or at least recent to me), "Girls are for friendship and men are for ..." well, you know. I spent some time acting like Samantha, particularly during the early 80s on the club scene. The bad part is that there is a tremendous emptiness left when you realize you know nothing about the person you just slept with. You just want them out of your bed, or you want to be out of their bed. In my experience, nothing meaningful ever came of that. It was just...empty.

Carrie is the observer. Happily chronicling her adventures (and her friends' adventures) in the city, she tries to take a new lesson from each experience. It's interesting to watch her grow up, realizing that she wouldn't be 20-something again if she could. I feel that way, too. There is a reason that people say, "If I knew then what I know now!" We are smarter and sexier and wiser in our 30s and beyond than we ever were in our 20s. My daughter, I know, thinks she has the world figured out. Far from it. The world is still having its way with her. Carrie is beyond that. Carrie and I have a lot in common. We know when we're in love, and we don't ever, ever want to give up on that. And likewise, we won't give up on ourselves and sacrifice our integrity to get what we want.

Whether you like the show or not, you have to give credit to its writers for getting it right. They managed to find the baser aspects of womanhood and prismatically refract those aspects into four separate but related characters. They had the audacity to make a show about strong, capable women aging (if you can call the 30s aging) while still looking for love, a thing which everyone wants in life. I love that they don't have the characters yearning to be younger, wishing they were something other than they are. How empowering is that?

A show that I initially thought of (before I knew better) as 100% fluff and superficial turned out to be insightful and complex. I'm hooked.

Do you identify with one of the characters or are you, like me, a composite of them all?

Peace - D


MamaGeek said...

I'm with ya. A definite composite!

Employee No. 3699 said...

Hey there. Found you through Confessions of A Coalminer's Granddaughter.

Haven't seen the movie yet, but I've seen the majority of the tv episodes.

I don't think I'm like just one character, maybe a combination.

Anyhoo, good post.

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

I've seen just a few of the episodes of this show. I never got hooked. I found the episodes I watched quite ....formulaic and repetitive? Like watching the same episode all over again...and anyway, it bothered me that all they ever did was eat huge portions and never gain an ounce. Ha! Anyway, I still found your post interesting and fun to read.

RiverPoet said...

Thanks, all, for your comments! I'm just doing a quick perusal and trying to stop typing for the night!