24 February 2004
sex and the real city
so here it is, on the cusp of wednesday morning, and i still have not talked about the last episode of Sex and the City. some of you may have remembered my well-documented disdain for this show. well, in the last two years or so i've done a complete 180 and it is now Appointment Television for me. or was. i can't say what happened, exactly. maybe i'm more willing to suspend my sense of reality than i was two or three years ago.
but finally, finally, FINALLY, one of my favorite tv shows has given me a final episode that has satisfied me completely. it was everything i could hope it to be, and more. you don't know what a relief this has been after the disappointment of Seinfeld and season-long downward spiral of the X-files.
i'm not sure why i liked it so much. maybe because it was so neatly wrapped up, everyone ended up with someone, everyone got what they wanted, we even got to find out Big's real name. maybe it is some weird part of me that wanted to see everyone happy and settled and the search for the perfect man finally over. and then there's another, nagging part of me that wonders if that really was the point of the show. i think i'm smart enough (or maybe jaded enough) to realize that shit doesn't work out like that all the time. in fact, it rarely does. and even though the episode ends with Carrie's narration that "the most important relationship you have is with yourself", it feels like lip service when Big proclaims that she's "The One" and moves back to New York City to be with her.
so do many single women feel betrayed by the ending of show? if there are, i haven't met one yet. as my friend MT once said, Carrie is the quintessential single girl, if they do it right, she won't end up with anyone. Sex and the City made it fabulous to be single. it was okay not to want the husband and the baby and the perfect house, you weren't abnormal or pathetic or unable to catch a man, that was just the way you wanted it to be. all those women who basked in that revelation were the same ones crying into their cosmopolitans as all four girls ended up happily attached. myself included.
it's a weird, dual message, one i'm finding hard to shake. maybe it's the Hollywood blinders - we just can't bear the thought of the characters we've loved for the last six years ending up alone. but Sex and the City had an inherent dual message as well - we don't need relationships with men to live happy, fulfilled lives, but at the same time, we will devote endless amounts of time and energy to making them happen.
when asked what character they most resemble, everyone says they're just like Carrie. but the thing that always annoyed me about her was her indecisiveness and her frequent inability to assert herself. she rarely spoke aloud what she typed on her laptop every week, but when she did, it was golden. i think i am really more Miranda and perhaps just a touch of Samantha (Charlotte and i aren't even on the same continent). Like Miranda, career-driven and cynical to a fault, occasionally obsessed with sex, though i don't have near the self confidence that Samantha has (which was her best trait, in my opinion. how many women do you know today that can say "my ass is perfection" with a straight face?).
so what has this show given me? it made me feel more okay to want what i've always wanted, even before Carrie Bradshaw was a glimmer in Candance Bushnell's eye, i knew i didn't want the husband and the baby and the house. i didn't know what i wanted when i was 12, but i knew i definitely didn't want that. and all the single women i saw around me weren't anything i ever wanted to aspire to: lacking self-confidence, usually beaten down (literally and figuratively) by the men who came in and out of their lives. it made me think that maybe i am enough, all on my own. maybe i can make it and be happy without that perfect other half. i just wish it had been enough for the ladies on Sex and the City.
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