Season 3, episode 2: Politically erect

“The country runs better with a good-looking man in the White House. Look what happened with Nixon – no-one wanted to fuck him, so he fucked everyone” – Samantha

satc politicallyMiranda has a great retort to her friends’ shallow dissection of presidents past. “I’m glad you three weren’t around during the original 13 colonies,” she says. “I don’t think our founding fathers were very fuckable.”

My first thought on hearing Samantha’s theory again, days after the Democratic party made Clinton’s candidacy official, was that it assumes a man of some description will always be in charge. My second thought was that if unregistered Americans don’t sort themselves out – I’m looking at you here, Carrie Bradshaw – then the country’s fucked.

This episode really misses a trick:  John Slattery’s Bill Kelley might be a bona fide politician but Samantha’s an expert spin doctor, and it would have been nice to see her flexing those muscles to powerful effect. Instead she makes a mountain out of a mole hill after accepting a date from a man she didn’t realise was unusually short.

As mentioned in my previous post, I remembered why Carrie and Bill didn’t work out. What I didn’t remember was the way in which he slyly dumped her without missing a beat as soon as she ruled out bedroom-based watersports. Not cool – but it was even less cool of Carrie to respond by outing him in the paper. These guys she dates should be demanding non-disclosure agreements before they get naked with the famous Carrie Bradshaw. Also: when people comment that her columns are “funny”, does that mean they contain terrible puns?

Meanwhile, Steve’s talking about his feelings again and I can’t really fault him this time. He wants to be exclusive with Miranda and she’s not sure … until he says he loves her. It doesn’t really ring true for me that this would sway her, given his history of emotional manipulation and her obvious niggling feeling that she probably could do better. Perhaps years from now, around about halfway through the events of Sex and the City: The Movie, Miranda might reflect that yes, she definitely could have done better.

Charlotte’s plotline is too dull to mention apart from the fact that Elizabeth Banks puts in a fresh-faced appearance.

Carrie’s column: Can there be sex without politics?

Fashion: Fashion and politics, says Carrie, are both about recycling shop-worn ideas and making them seem fresh and inspiring.She rises to the occasion with her political-girlfriend wardrobe, and even Miranda manages to score a fashion win with a casual ensemble.

Puns: I think Bill was providing enough cheesy dialogue for both of them. Puns would have tipped everyone over the edge.

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Season 1, Episode 2: Models and Mortals

We should just admit that we live in a culture that promotes impossible standards of beauty” – Miranda

episode2FROM a feminist perspective this is an episode of two halves – one of which is terrible.

The topic of men who only date models is pretty NY-centric, but the notion of men pursuing attractive-but-vacuous women less so.

Miranda’s characterisation is pretty one-note for the first two episodes – twice in a row she takes offence at the idea that she’s a guy’s intelligent as opposed to attractive choice of date. But she eventually softens when one of them calls her luminous.

A friend of Carrie’s shows her videotapes of him having sex with models. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says in her narration. But it’s not the horrible violation of the women’s privacy that’s worthy of comment, or even the discovery that her seemingly wholesome friend is a huge creep – it’s that fact the he’s slept with “half the perfume ads in September’s Vogue”. She titters when asking if they consented, and his answer suggests not. PROBLEMATIC.

The lack of regard for the models as people is reflected as much in the way the women discuss them as the way the men treat them. While there’s some right-on sounding talk about beauty standards, there’s no real critique of the media or fashion industry. Instead, the models themselves are the targets of abuse.

Mr Big pops up a couple of times in this episode, first dating a model (one of two black characters in this episode – interesting given the show’s poor reputation for diversity) and then seeking out Carrie to assure her that for him, sense of humour is more important than model looks. Spoiler alert: he’s lying.

Carrie’s column: “If models could cause otherwise rational individuals to crumble in their presence, exactly how powerful was beauty?”

Fashion: Carrie has a hilariously huge mobile phone at this point in the show. And an underwear model has a hairy chest, suggesting some standards of beauty were actually a good bit more naturally achievable in 1998 than they are today. Also retro: sweet potato puffs with smoked salmon and sour cream are served at a fashionable party.

Puns: Still no puns. Was this pitched as comedy drama or what?