Rag on My Sex and the City, Fine, But Let's Leave Friendship Out of It
As we wade through the shitstorm of negativity about the out-in-theaters-now Sex and the City 2 (Full disclosure, no, we have not seen it yet, but we will, and we will be similarly tortured, we are certain), we just have to say one thing: There is one tried and true principle, one facet of the series and even the first film, that worked in so much as it seemed, however cinematically exaggerated, something we could actually believe in. And we don't mean Carrie's love for Manolos, nor Chris Noth.
No, actually, that facet was female friendship. (Cue sap track.)
But we're serious! If you've ever been a single girl in New York City (and, frankly, who hasn't?) you know there there are certain things you can trust. Going out on Thursdays instead of Fridays, the fact that tequila will make you do bad things, and that you will have your best friends to turn to when everything goes the way it will inevitably go. Through thick and through thin, your Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte-people will be there. Or in an actual human non-fake-persona's case, your Jen, or your Sarah, or your whomever she might be.
Friends -- good, close, female friends; fuck, our "gal pals" -- are a special thing. We have seen them, and they are real. And we love them. Sure, sometimes you fight, and sometimes you grow apart, but if you're true friends, you find your way back together. Which the Sex and the City girls, while annoying, shallow, female New Yorker stereotypes easily picked apart and packaged as desired (which, you have to admit, is kinda why we originally loved them), demonstrated as perhaps their one true charm.
But now, in the wave of oh-this-movie-sucks -- and did anyone really expect it not to? -- we're hearing backlash about even that:
"It's unrealistic," says Shannon Fox, licensed psychotherapist and author of Last One Down the Aisle Wins, per the Daily News. "They're committed to one another the way they've never been committed to a man, and look what a mess most of their romantic relationships with men have been."
Right, but that's exactly the point!
Further, it's unusual to continue with the same kind of relationship that the Sex and the City quartet has maintained through the turbulence of everyday life without some rifts and shifting of roles. "Friendships among women tend to have more permeable boundaries, and typically another woman might have gotten invited into the group by now," Fox says.
Right. Um, have you ever been "invited to join" a close-knit group of women?
"Women tend to bond with people who are in the same stage, so the dynamics change," Fox says. "As they figure out the new stage, there's an adjustment period. But for these women, the dynamics never really shift."
Again, that's the point here, as any single woman who's regretfully lost touch with a friend with kids would tell you. We don't want it to be that way.
Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha don't struggle with balancing their friendship with the pressures of work and family commitments, says Irene Levine, NYU School of medicine professor of psychiatry and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend.
Actually, remember how Miranda had to move to Brooklyn, and Carrie had to think seriously about whether she'd actually visit her?
Fine, whatever, the SATC friendship is idealized; I don't think that was ever a point in question. (More idealized than a spur-of-the-moment jaunt to Abu Dhabi? Probably not.) But honestly, who cares? What in this sort of movie genre is not idealized? At least continuing female friendships are something for people to rightfully aspire to, unlike a closet of silk caftans. We'd go so far as to say that witnessing an idealized portrayal of female friendship may be the one thing that keeps people watching the series, however diluted the message may be at this point.
That's why you can talk shit about Sex and the City all you want (in our opinion it's been on a downward spiral since Carrie started dating Baryshnikov), but do us a favor and leave the friendship part out of it.
Now, let's go shopping or something.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.