12 July, 2009

SATC and an implied social commentary

Last Friday night, me and my girls were going to make a ‘night’ of it, and go out for drinks and dinner and go see ‘THE’ movie of the, well, of forever, as far as we are concerned. Babysitters lined up, the date penciled in on calendars, written on dry-erase calendars in our cubes at worked, programmed into Outlook and Blackberry calendars, outfits picked out , discarded and picked out again. The shoes...OMG, the shoes...

Alas, I had a sick child for the majority of the week last week and feeling oh so terribly guilty about going out for a night on the town while she sat at home coughing and whining incessantly (as 4 year olds do), I flaked out on SATC night.
I hear they had a great time, but I’ve forbidden any of them from telling me one shred of anything about it, until such time as I can get my butt into a theatre to watch it, sans first night glitz and glam (I’ll be in my trademark jeans and Converse, thank you very much).

I have a very dear guy friend, bordering on best friend type, whom I also work with, let’s just call him ‘the dirty hippy’ (which is his nickname around the office). Suffice it to say, after hearing us yap, yap, yap about this movie incessantly for weeks on end, he is just over it. His incredible wife also watches the show, but didn’t do the movie thing either. Anyway, yesterday while we were eating lunch, the discussion came up about how guys just don’t ‘get it’, about this movie and he mentioned a blog entry he’d read over the weekend, discussing just that, the lack of understanding from the male perspective. (I’ll include it here, if you’re interested, it’s not a bad read). He forwarded me the link last night, and given that he’s way more of a night owl than I am, I read it this morning.

Not having seen the movie yet, but diligently and thoughtfully watching every single episode spanning the life of the show, I’d say the reviewer is right on in many aspects.
I think the fact that it has such broad based appeal speaks to general frustration level among women. Meaning, it offers a level of escapism that, cross culturally, appeals to all women. It is a seemingly fabulous life, even with all the complications and issues tossed in. But even still, those issues, complications, banalities and trivialities are relatable. We can feel the connection to the post-break up pain, or how he talks about dudes bagging every woman they come across with little or no societal guilt, why can't we? We can relate to feeling used in a sexless relationship that appears to have no purpose, and to the woman who's in an adulterous relationship (on either end of that spectrum).
I think that's the mass appeal. for maybe the first time, frivolities and fluff thrown in around it in the form of purses, shoes and rampant product placement, there is a mass media, broad based appellation of Everywoman.
We feel our issues, needs, and concerns talked about (which, is what we do), discussed and legitimised, right there on the screen. We may or may not have someone at home who either won't listen or who trivializes the issues that these 4 characters discuss, which makes women feel connected to the global "OMG, I'm Carrie/Miranda/Samantha/Charlotte" phenomenon.
Do i want to have a life like this? Uh.. no. not even close.
Do certain escapist features come across as appealing? Uh.. hell yeah.
Does the fact that this show, these characters legitimise and give voice to things that many women can't ever find another way to discuss make it appealing? Most definitely.
It can be trite, for sure. but in the day to day trudging of laundry, diapers, bottles, potty training, housecleaning, work, traffic, bills, etc., etc., ad nauseum, a little escapist fluff appeals to all of us.

Which of us wouldn’t trade, even for a day, to have fabulous and fluff, to feel fabulous and fluffy, just for a bit. To have the daily burdens of reality released.. To have that relationship with our girlfriends that we’ve always wanted... To be able to become that woman that we want to be, or maybe just to taste what life could have been if we’d taken a different path.

We all have our own reasons for watching and becoming enthralled by ‘our girls’. At the heart of it is, maybe not so much for the guys to ‘get it’, but maybe for us to get each other, and ourselves, a little better.

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