Sunday, June 20, 2010

End of an Era: Confirmed

SPOILER ALERT!  Well, can it actually be a spoiler alert when I’m certain I was part of the last audience on Earth to see Sex and the City 2?  If you haven’t seen it, and don’t care to read anything about it until it quickly and quietly makes its way to DVD, then avert your eyes.  But let it be known that many have spoiled before me – I am not alone in my spoiling!

It was definitely cringe-worthy, just as I suspected.  But truth be told, I expected much worse.  Maybe it was because I had spoiled it for myself by previously reading about the horrid displays of Samantha, dry-humping the Abu Dhabi air in front of an angry mob of Muslim gentlemen; by already knowing that Carrie has never seen anything more hilarious than a woman in a burqa eating french fries. 

Let’s break this down into Lisa’s List of Pros and Cons.  You’ll notice some of these aspects appear on both lists…


The Gay Wedding.  I enjoy when popular media can show a gay or lesbian couple get hitched like it ain’t no thang.  It’s like viewing the utopia our society could be, if only some lawmakers were to either a.) pull the sticks out of their asses, or b.) keel over and die. 

The Motherhood Talk.  Over drinks, Miranda and Charlotte admit all the not-so-happy parts of motherhood.  No, it’s not all goo-goo gaa-gaa Gerber; sometimes Charlotte is so frazzled, she wants to lock herself in a closet while her children scream and cry.  This is reality; this is the shit people forget about when they get all wrapped up in baby fever.  This is a job that lasts a lifetime. 

Just Us Two.  Carrie and Big have mutually decided to not have children (Thank god!  Remember when she lost Aidan’s dog??!).  Seriously though, as they tell others of their wishes to remain childless, they are bombarded with quizzical looks and outright avoidance.  So….just because a married couple doesn’t want to have kids, there’s something wrong with them?  (Well, maybe according to the Christian Coalition).  I say, poo on the naysayers!  Carrie and Big make their marriage (life together) work for them – not simply go though the motions that society expects them to. 

Also, we see Carrie and Big’s marriage hit “the terrible twos”: the span of time where the excitement of being newlyweds is over and forever begins to take shape.  “Mr. and Mrs. Preston, this is your life!”  Especially since kids are out of the picture, the life they have now will be it.  We see Big preferring to order take-out and fall asleep to The Discovery Channel, while Carrie is itching to dress up and have a night out on the town.  These “terrible twos” bring the fear of becoming…(ominous music)…an old boring married couple (OBMC).  This is one of those life experiences many people go through, yet not many talk about publicly (much like Miranda and Charlotte’s motherhood discussion).  I’m going to bet at least 90% of couples don’t want to seclude themselves in their split level suburban home or upper west side apartment as soon as they return from their honeymoon….yet, there’s this expectation floating around (and if I ever find out who started this ugly rumor, I will have them killed) that once you’re married, you’re supposed to do just that.  No more nights out with the girls or boys, no more having one too many cocktails (oops!), no more…fun.  This “expectation” also dictates that if you desire a night out with the girls or boys or otherwise away from your spouse, you must not be happy with your marriage.  Horseshit, I say!  Welcome to 2010, where there is more to a happy marriage than just the act of being married.  Two people with full lives make for a very non-boring partnership.  Try it, I dare you.  And while of course in Hollywood, Carrie and Big magically squash their OBMC fear in 2.5 hours, I’m at least glad SATC stayed a little true to its roots and attempted to shed light on an issue such as this.



The Gay Wedding.  Although it was here and very, very queer, we were constantly reminded that it was a GAY wedding.  A wedding is a wedding – who cares?  Why do we need the adjective?  Also, I really could have done without hearing that fucking Single Ladies song again…uncomfortably done by Liza Minnelli.  And to see Samantha dancing around, singing, “If ya like it, than you shoulda put a ring on it” was quite weird and totally out of character.

The Motherhood Talk.  Sure, Miranda and Charlotte were addressing the less glamorous side of being a mom…but we’re watching two upper-class white women with NANNIES addressing this topic.  Then, they had to throw in, “How do the women without help do it?!”  On one hand, it’s a valid question that shows how hard motherhood is even with hired help – but one can’t argue the asinine element of that conversation.  Oh hello, white privilege, where have you been hiding?

Pointing at the Natives.  I mentioned Carrie making fun of the women in burqas and Samantha refusing to respect the conservative Muslim culture in any way.  It’s really quite horrifying.  Although (and this may be a good aspect), it reignites the debate of what qualifies as being an empowered woman.  Is wearing a sleeveless dress and being highly sexual mean you are any stronger of a female than a woman who wears a burqa?  It’s a drastically different way of life than what we westerners are used to…and of course, anything we deem as different from our way is the “wrong” way. 

What I found somewhat humorous – as well as appalling – was when the women of Abu Dhabi were behind closed doors, they reveal to Carrie ‘n’ friends that they wear the latest Dior fashions under their burqas.  So….deep down, they’re all really slaves to exorbitant western fashion??  Highly unlikely…and a little egocentric, no?   At the same time, it could have been Michael Patrick King’s demented way of showing that women around the world may have more in common than not.  Call me picky, but somehow I think it could have been done more meaningfully than simply wrapping them up in Dolce.

The Sickening Display of Affluence.  Ok, you gals have money.  We get it.  Sometimes we wonder how you manage to make the money you have, with all the lunch dates, late night cocktails, etc.  This international trip happened to be financed by a hotel mogul in exchange for Samantha’s PR expertise.  However, an hour into the movie, I was sick and tired of looking at that fucking $20,000 a night (no lie) hotel room.  Each woman had her own personal servant and car complete with driver.  Oh, and they ride in the middle of the desert on camels and stop for lunch in this oasis cabana their servants set up!  I, for one, was wondering where the hell they put all that stuff.  Some poor camel was probably stuck in the back of the caravan pathetically lugging their bullshit. 

Too much!  I guess what added to it was the ladies’ squealing at each amenity.  Got old real fast.  What set the tone for excess was Samantha’s comment of needing to “go somewhere rich” in this depressing economy.  NYC ain’t swank enough for you no more?

Sigh.  I could go on.  There’s Carrie’s servant, who shares that his wife lives in another country.  We learn that he only sees her once every three months because he needs this job serving rich white tourists in this $20,000 a night hotel.  That’s the end of any cultural or political questions – Carrie (given her tensions with Big) wants to know how they keep their marriage strong with such distance. 

It was one of those movies I had to see, as opposed to want to see.  My, how we have strayed from the series!  If you can accept that this is not Carrie ‘n’ friends circa 1999, and can get past the awfully cliché zingers, Godspeed.  



LMAO on just SO much of this, and I agreed on MOST of it.

Just a few things: The gay thing, didn't bother me, being a gay myself, it's most on what context people say it, who it's coming from, etc. And let's face it, it was very GAY. Even too gay for Anthony, lol.

Liza, I liked it. Personally, I give her a gay two snaps and circle, and a "you go girl" for doing that. After all, she is a very major gay icon. For even looking the way she does at how old? Shoot, I couldn't even pull that off...

the money thing, that didn't bug me either. Yep, they always either had money, or LOOKED like they had money, even if it was someone else's. I think I sort of got used to that from watching the show.

Okay, I'm done. lol.

Holly said...

Yay, I have been waiting for your post on this with bated breath. I soooo agree - I really like the way you broke down the good and the bad of the way the film handled motherhood. I also really, really liked that scene where Miranda and Charlotte talk about how motherhood is, you know, actually hard and stuff - but such a good point that that message is largely undercut by them being like, "Gosh, how do women without full-time paid child caretakers (i.e., 99 percent of mothers) do this? Must suck to be them! Now... let's have another really expensive cocktail, and enjoy our privilege without in any way questioning it!"

I also really liked your take on the Carrie and Big plotline - I also loved that they stood up for not having kids as a legitimate decision (I was sooo afraid they were going to knock Carrie up, which would just have been wrong) - and I think you gave me a much better perspective on watching them grapple with growing into being a married couple. I'd been so annoyed by the stupid, "dragging Aidan in" stuff that I lost sight of the actual, complicated, interesting things they're doing here. So - yay! One point to them!

I also heart your deconstruction of Stanford and Anthony's wedding - both the good and the bad. (And please note that I still don't buy them as a couple, and that I miss Marcus?)

Now I'm actually looking forward to it coming out on DVD, so I can reassess all over again!