Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Musings on SAT(Faux-UAE-Capitol-City)2

Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha have been in my life longer than my husband... longer than The Boom.... longer than my high school, college, or law degrees... longer even than the vast majority of my best friends.


While My So-Called Life or Six Feet Under might rank slightly higher on the My Favorite Television Show Ever Ever Ever List, no one beats out Sex & the City on the TV Series I Can Pop In At Any Time And Be Pleased As Punch Watching For Hours List.

Further - silly as it may seem - its safe to say that no other piece of television programming has affected my life as profoundly as SATC.  There's the obvious: Sex & the City made us all more comfortable acknowledging that women enjoy sex.   SHOCKING, I know.  There's the frivolous:  Sex & the City ignited a lust for imaginative fashion deep down in my soul wish-they-were-always-red-leathered soles.  And there's all-encompassing Ah-Ha! Moments: Sex & the City reminded us that confidence is our very best accessory... that we don't all need the man, the 2.3 kids, and the white picket fence by the age of 30 to make us complete... and that friendship can be the most satisfying love of all.***

***ZOMG SO CHEESY.  Must be leftover from the Glee Season Finale Crying Jag 2010.  Apologies.

As you can imagine, I was sad when the series ended, but I did adore the finale.  I found it to be the perfect ending to six refreshingly-unperfect years.  I was not pleased when I heard a movie version was in the works. I didn't need Carrie in the big white dress, but I dutifully bought my ticket anyway... And, while I'm still content with the screen fading to black as Carrie sees the name "John Preston" on her pink bedazzled Razr flip phone, SATC1 was a-okay in my book.

SATC2?  No.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

No. No.

NO.

I simultaneously knew I'd hate it and knew I'd torture myself by sitting through all 147 minutes of it the very moment I saw the preview for the first time.  I had to go home afterwards, pour myself a vinho verde and watch The Real Me and (what I will always refer to as) The Hubble Episode just to remind myself that somewhere, in the midst of my DVD (/VHS, in regards to Seasons 1-3) collection, Carrie & Co were still my favorite fictional gal-pals as opposed to one-dimensional cash-cows trampling over foreign culture in gold lamé (/lame) turbans and $6,000 harem pants.  


Allow me to break it down for you...

Spoiler Alert!


SATC2: Worse Than Being Broken-Up With Via Post-It


(1) Frantic Fashion.  SATC1 was truly a joyous, all-you-can-eat-buffet smörgåsbord of couture - from the wedding gowns to the stilettos, I wanted to sample it all!  Even the most costumey pieces were relevant and fun.  Numero Dos?  No dice.  Simply too many scenes where my brain had to process ensembles such as this:




I love fashion - both for its function and for its artistic value - and perhaps I would have better appreciated such pieces had they been strolling down a runway and not strolling through Middle Eastern MOROCCAN (see #2) sand dunes... but these scenes just seemed ridiculous!  I like my Sex & the City with lots of fashion-whimsy but complete fashion-delusion gives me pause. 

And the majority of the more wearable clothes?  The ones I said "oooo! I'd love that hanging in my closet!"?  Were designed by Halston Heritage.  HH's president and chief creative officer?  None other than SJP.  


Hey, hey Nepotism!  Are you going my way?



In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, major props for the 80s montage!  The wardrobe choices were so fantastic (bonus points for the Hobbs Hairdo) that I was chuckling too hard to notice or care that the faces hadn't time-traveled as well.  


And in the few instances where the Styling Department didn't take E before pulling pieces, there was a bit of movie magic: 


(2) Location, Location, Location.  If you have been living a la Bubble Boy for the last 6 months without access to Go Fug Yourself or US Weekly or the interwebs in general (the terror!), you might just exit this film thinking to yourself "Wow. Abu Dhabi must have a freakin' fantastic publicist."  Which would be annoying in itself because no one wants to sit through a 2.5 hour travel promo... Even more exasperating is the fact that this United Arab Emirate travel agent's wet dream was actually filmed in MOROCCO.  

I know, I know - movies are set in one place yet filmed in another all the damn time... but this little gem practically begs audiences to book their first class ticket to Abu Dhabi rightthissecond.  Abu Dhabi this!  Abu Dhabi that!  Shoes only cost $20 in Abu Dhabi!  You will be reunited with lost loves in Abu Dhabi!  Let's all sing awkward karaoke in Abu Dhabi!  

Poor Morocco (which obviously gorgeous and equally as exotic, btw - so why not just say "let's go to Morocco!"?).  I bet it feels a little like Jan Brady...

Abu Dhabi!  Abu Dhabi!  Abu Dhabi! 

Also? It's Sex and THE city.  THE city is New York.  Period.  Gallivanting off to some OTHER city isn't new and exciting and fun... it's Lamesauce Fest 2010.  

(3) American Arrogance.  One of my greatest pet peeves is a little something I like to call Asshole American Traveler Syndrome.  You know you've fallen victim to AATS when you refuse to embrace - or at least respect - the customs of the culture of the country in which you are traveling.  Living in Spain, I often overhead tourists complain when shops closed for siesta or whine when restaurants weren't serving dinner yet at 8 PM.  In Thailand we saw countless visitors to temples fail to remove their shoes or cover their shoulders. Of course non-American travelers are guilty of such behavior, but I've found Americans tend to think "their" (I guess I should say "our") way is the "right" way.  Newsflash: You are in someone else's home.  Be respectful - even to traditions you don't understand or agree with.  Its the courteous thing to do.  

Maybe I'm being a tad oversensitive, but I just kept thinking Samantha's antics (usually my favorite) smacked of AATS.  I am oh-so-sorry that you cannot have sex in public for SEVEN ENTIRE DAYS, but I think you'll survive.  Put on a fucking cardigan and stop disrespecting one of the largest cultures in the world.  

(4) And the Plot Thickens Thins!  The idea that all marriages / relationships are different, and we can thus make our own rules to create the most satisfying union possible is a theme that would have really hit home with me had it been well-executed.  Carrie's worries that being married now means she's boring?  I TOTALLY GET THAT.    And my favorite scene in the entire shebang was Charlotte and Miranda discussing motherhood and the things women are afraid to admit out loud.  But other than a few shinning moments, the rest of the film was just a string of bad puns and gauche interactions.  

Although... Making the Loss of $8 Somewhat Bearable...

There was a decent amount of Mr. Big!  


I love Mr. Big.  I always have (and Chris Noth will perpetually have a spot in my Five... so long as he's wearing a tie).  Aidan pissed me off - just too sweet and perfect and traditional.  Mr. Big is legit.  Mr. Big is Real Life.  Mr. Big does the same annoying-ass-shit your boyfriend does except he looks better in a suit.  You want to hate Mr. Big but you can't because he's perpetually honest about where he stands and how he feels.  Plus, he brings you red balloons on your birthday.  


Really, I'm not that hard to please.  SATC2 would have been 118% better had it just been raw video footage from SJP and CN's 2008 Vogue shoot. 

ALL TIME FAVORITE!

Le sigh.  


What'd you think of SATC2?

38 comments:

  1. omg Totally agreed with this post! SATC1 was a great way to add a little extra $$ to their pockets and tie up loose story lines, but SATC2 was painful at points.

    I still enjoyed it as far as entertainment goes, but for as much as I was emotionally invested into these characters, I expected more.

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  2. You clearly read my mind! Thanks for putting my thoughts into words :-) In my opinion, SATC2 did a total disservice to the girls (and all of us!)

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  3. I'm probably one of the only 30-something woman that hasn't seen SATC2. When I saw the preview showing sand, gold lame', and camels...I knew it was going to be goofy & unrealistic. Unrealistic is what SATC does best, right? Unrealistic but totally relatable.

    I probably will watch it when it comes on out DVD. Until then, I'll giggle at your funny commentary;-)

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  4. It was terrible, I agree. I found their portrayal of the middle east very offensive. I bet the UAE was none too pleased either. The attempt to address an incredibly complex and sensitive issue like the role of women in Arab cultures through one liners and kumbya kareoke was a silly decision by the producers.

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  5. Best. Vogue Shoot. Ever.

    (as always, i LOVE your commentary, Kate!)

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  6. There is no way in hell I will see this movie. It pains me that it was even made. And while I do agree that there's a vein of sexism in some of the most vicious reviews, this one is still wickedly delightful to read: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/burkas-and-birkins/Content?oid=4132715. Okay, going back to my safe tv world where I pretend that SATC movies don't exist now (confession: not even a real fan of #1 - it was just okay to me).

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  7. OK, so, I haven't seen it yet because a) am broke and b) haven't found anyone to go with. But, that's to say that after the previews wore off, I was kind of "eh" on going anyway. I echo your sentiments about Carrie & Co being in my life longer than most of my friendships and I'll always love them, but, I'm not sure I need to see them on the big screen. Especially in faux UAE!

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  8. completely agree.

    I fell in love with the show and absolutely hated that the movies took the shows perfect ending and ruined what only our imaginations could have done - filled in the gaps.

    I think this is one lesson that every sitcom that is iconic should take. Leave well enough alone. When the show is over, its over.

    If the show did its job, it will leave the viewers happy and not absolutely needing more. I didn't need more. They served it up and unfortunately both courses were unappetizing.

    But...I will always be a fan...no matter what...I guess that is what they bank on.

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  9. grazi for summing up every single thought i had about the movie. i spent the entire time cringing. it was so, so, so god-awful. and i too went home and popped in season three to console myself.

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  10. I loved the big gay wedding with Liza and wished the whole movie could be just that! I laughed throughout and enjoyed myself, but to sum it up, I felt the same way I did about the last one... I wasn't thrilled in the theatre, but loved it on DVD over and over and over. I suppose that could happen with this one...

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  11. I, unlike most, was introduced to SATC via the first film. I hadn't had any exposure to the TV show at all (say hello, sheltered upbringing!) and enjoyed the first film. It made me pick up the TV show. Hooray.

    I was so excited when I heard that a second film was being made because I would get to experience the *thing* as the same time as everybody else. However...

    I opted out of the film after hearing about the Samantha antics in "Abu Dhabi." I, like you, lived overseas and got to experience first hand how completely asinine American travelers are. You may say, oh I bet it's people everywhere... but I truly think that the Asshole American is the worst. And they make it worse for those of us who are able to travel to other countries (THAILAND being the PERFECT example! I had closed shoes and long sleeves on when I went to the temples in Bangkok, but members of our "tour" party didn't and couldn't go in) and respect the cultures and traditions therein.
    I cannot abide by watching or supporting something that perpetuates that "all Americans treat everyone else on the planet like shit" stereotype.

    I'm glad and appreciate that you were honest about the film. I'll catch it on HBO when it comes on in a year or so, but won't bust my ass to make it to the theatre when I know I'll come out as angry as you did.

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  12. I was entertained (please keep in mind... entertained doesn't mean I loved the movie) by SATC2. However, I've only seen two episodes of the show, and I really enjoyed the first SATC movie.

    But overall, this flick was awful. Awkward, forced humor. Ugh. The antics were ridiculous. Samantha's menopause thing was ridiculous. And CARRIE WAS WEARING NIPPLE TASSELS gallivanting through Morrocan sand dunes. EW. That's so... eughhhhhhh!!

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  13. First - the two episodes you mentioned are my two favorite also! Second - I found most of the movie to be extremely un-PC and was super-irritated almost the whole way through. Your post hit the nail on the head - in all aspects. I didn't go in with high hopes so I wasn't too disappointed but I was just so shocked that modern day writers/directors and even the 4 girls would be ok with that script. PLEASE tell me this is the last one!

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  14. Amen to everything.

    I was so ashamed to admit that I was NOT a fan of this moive at all, and I'm glad I'm not the only SATC fan who hated it. While I was watching, I just kept hoping it was going to be over quickly.

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  15. I'm a big fan of seasons 1-3 and then I think it went downhill. What used to be a funny and smart show turned snark worthy.

    The movie was bad just as I thought the first one was.

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  16. I agree with you 100%. I couldn't have said it better myself!

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  17. I refuse to see the movie. Everytime I see that preview, and she pops out in tux and Big thinks it's hot, I want to bang my head against the wall. Repeatedly.

    Ugh! The show was about friendship NOT shoes and buying shit!!! (at least in the first seasons).

    That being said I love the series ESPECIALLY the Hubble episode. Such a great one.

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  18. I. Couldn't. Agree. More.

    I saw it on opening day and everyone kept asking me whether I loved it...I felt like a terrible fan by saying "Absolutely not!" It was dreadful. No way around it. They made the girls into the worst kind of cliche. Awful.

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  19. You are right on! I love this post. I love the fashion from the shoot. You are right why did they have to go so weird and crazy this movie. Please GOD I hope they just stop now.

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  20. I couldn't agree more with every single thing you said. The biggest disappointment to me was that they have said for years that the fifth character is NYC and we hardly saw NYC in this film. I thought the beginning that took place in the city and the wedding with Liza were so funny and it just went completely downhill from there. So disappointed.

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  21. I could not agree more! I was appalled by the lack of respect they showed in Abu Dhabi. I am usually not a Miranda fan, but in this film she seemed to be the only one with any sense during their trip. I was also incredibly annoyed during the first 15 minutes of the movie (that's when I knew it was a bad idea). They cracked mediocre to awful jokes non-stop. I loved the 80s flashback but had higher hopes that it would be longer. Finally, I think I just hit my breaking point with Carrie. You have Big as your husband, your gorgeous home, and insane closet. Stop complaining already! Okay my rant is finally over. I may need to revisit some older seasons to rediscover my love of SATC!

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  22. *sigh* What a disappointment. They could've made it SO much better. They just barely touched on SO many potentially great topics: what a marriage is like when you choose not to have kids; feeling like your marriage is stagnant; women aging (which, in our society, is pretty much not allowed); difficulties of motherhood; gay marriage (I wish it hadn't been such a stereotype of a gay wedding, though); feminism & oppression (real or perceived) of women; infidelity. But they took such a shallow approach on everything! And they tried to resolve everything so simply with a pretty bow on top. I think that just made it even worse.

    I totally agree about the Ugly American part. I cringed every time Samantha was on the screen. (Miranda, though, I kind of loved in "Abu Dhabi.") And even though the costume department is always over-the-top on SATC, this was TOO over-the-top. Absurd, really. I felt like the clothes & shoes were more the focus than the sad plots they came up with. And don't get me started on the scripting.

    It had a couple chuckle-worthy moments, but other than that, it was pretty much a waste of time. I didn't think the first movie was all that great, but this one was tragic.

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  23. Agreed. Though, the wedding chorus was spectacular.

    By the way, True Blood premiere Sunday. I NEED to know where you stand, Eric or Bill??

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  24. I've been scared to see it since I saw the trailer for the first time. All reviews I have read have confirmed my fears. I think I'll wait until it's at Red Box.

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  25. 金銀愈加磨鍊,愈加光亮,人生愈加考驗,生命愈加光輝。 ............................................................

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  26. I havent seen it yet... but you have me thinking, maybe I shall just rent... what a bummer.

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  27. I agree completely. I was BORED during the movie! Such a tragedy considering what a huge fan I am. There was no character development and the whole Abu Dhabi trip was ridiculous.

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  28. I have yet to see movie and I am a HUGE fan of SATC. I also, will pop in DVDs of my favorite episodes, (I LOVE the Hubble Episode, I'm a Katie girl!) I liked Mr. Big UP UNTIL the affair with Carrie/Natasha/Aiden. It was horrible, the way he treated her. I guess it was a few episodes that hit too close to home at the time, me being the Carrie in the whole equation. But anyhoodle, still in no rush to go see this movie but I know I will eventually.

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  29. agree! we liked the same things! i loved the scene with charlotte and miranda and was actually sobbing through the thing. anytime charlotte cries i cry. weird reaction there!

    ahhhh the hubble episode. the whole series. love. didn't have cable for two years and only watched SATC and Friends DVDs.

    I love Big. hated that Aiden was even in this movie..

    Hated Abu Dhabi and missed NYC.

    I am not a Samantha fan. In the first few seasons she was tolerable, but I found myself rolling her eyes more and more because I think Kim Cattrall is not a great actress. But I was just angry with Samantha in SATC2!

    There were some funny moments and I was entertained enough for my $5. But I wish they had never made the first movie. I'm especially disappointed that Jennifer Hudson was even in it. How weird was that?

    Also- this is the longest comment ever- but how about these people that go see the movie that have never seen an episode?! That's why they made a second movie! Stupid!

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  30. Couldn't agree with you more on all fronts, except that I didn't really like the first movie either. The series finale was perfection for me. I didn't need any more. Now, of course that hasn't stopped me from seeing both movies on opening weekend, but... no. Just no. The UAE insensitivity was just wrong. I did love the Charlotte & Miranda scene though - that was a glimmer of the old SATC.

    And I always thought Big got a needlessly bad rap. He was always honest about who he was. Then he'd tell Carrie and she wouldn't listen!

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  31. long time lurker, first time commenter here - nothing like some SATC to get me out of my shell. I only have two things to say -
    #1 - AMEN. I agree with everything you said. Well written and executed. It was absolutely horrible.
    #2 - man! I spent $11 on that terrible movie. At least you got out $3 cheaper!

    I'll be around! I miss your photos from the bathroom, though!

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  32. Ummmmmmmmm... i loved the first one. this one got SUCH bad reviews that i went in with a low expectation that i ended up thinking hey... it's not that bad! but a few days after seeing it, i was like,you know... this really wasn't good. your description had me cracking up though. love it.

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  33. I actually haven't dragged myself to see the movie yet and this is why. I am a huge, huge fan of my girls. Like you said, they've been in my life longer than most of the relationships I currently have. I LOVE these ladies. But... I was over it after the first movie. I was dying to see that one because I wanted a "catch-up", I was dying to know what they were up to.

    Not anymore. I want them to be forever as they are on my already owned dvd's.

    Enough is enough. Samantha is just beyond vulgar now and Carrie complains too much. Let's let these ladies fade in syndication and quit shoving them in our faces!

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  35. I purposely skipped this entry because I hadn't seen the movie yet - I just did and now I wished I'd read your post earlier. I thought all of the same things and for someone who actually LIVES in the Middle East, I was completely appalled by how it was portrayed - there is no "new" or "old" Middle East, there will always be culture and tradition here. And the Samantha antic? hi, that actually happened to a couple and they were thrown in jail, so good job with that script writers. I was so disappointed in this movie, as I thought I might be, and will only stick to the original seasons from now. If they make a 3rd one, I'll cry and boycott.

    Well said, btw.

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  36. Just now catching up on the blog reading after my days in the woods. After reading your awesomely written post and readers' comments, I definitely will not see this movie. Couldn't agree more with your #3 American Arrogance paragraphs. Very well stated!

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happy little comments!