I used to not be scared of Sex and the City. In fact, I used to be a casual fan. But I now look forward to Carrie Bradshaw's big screen debut about as much as I look forward to the day when I arrive in hell and am told David Spade is my roommate.
Why my lack of enthusiasm? Blame it on repetition. Thanks to TBS, I've now seen every SATC episode at least 43 times -- making it a little hard to overlook the show's flaws. And no, I'm not talking about the whole female-empowerment-through-sexual-promiscuity thing. The idea that a woman might use me as a sex toy then laugh about my physical failings over brunch with her friends just doesn't bother me. If it bothers you, you should get married. Pretty soon neither you nor your girl will have any friends at all. Then she won't have anyone to bitch about your penis size to. Problem solved.
What I'm talking about is the whole female-empowerment-through-buying-tons-of-ugly-crap-
you-don't-need thing. For the uninitiated, SATC is about Carrie Bradshaw, a newspaper columnist who lives in the most expensive city in human history and spends ungodly amounts of money to dress like Jackie Curtis. This bothers me because most of the women I met during my 10 years in newspapers barely earned enough money to buy the vodka they needed to make them forget the horrible life decision they made when they entered the newspaper field. The rest of them were in their 80s.
Crap salary or no, the majority of those women were too sensible to fashion themselves Carrie Bradshaw types. That's what working in a dying industry does to you: It imbues you with practicality (and kills your dreams with a pick-axe).
But there are plenty of men and women out there who want to spend like Carrie, whether they can afford to or not. A recent study by the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos found that the average college graduate humps $20,000 of debt around. The same study also found that earnings for college graduates ages 25 to 34 had risen by only 10 percent among women and remained flat among men between 1975 and 2005. And while only 18 percent of 25-to 34-year olds spent more than 33 percent of their pre-tax income on rent in 1970, that number rose to 43 percent by 2005.
In other words, if you're college educated and under 35, you're screwed. You're also -- assuming you're a woman, or the type of man who goes to movies with a woman because you love her, or the type of man who goes to movies with another man because you love him -- part of the target audience for Sex and the City. And when you find yourself in the theater watching as Carrie marries Big or Samantha gets a spray tan or whatever, do not look up and think, "Why can't I have what she has?" Instead, remember: She is older than you, and doesn't feel your demographic pain. Also, she is made of fiction (like Tinker Bell or Heidi Montag).
I haven't seen the SATC movie yet. That will soon change. And despite serious reservations, my fondness for certain elements in the show (the structure of the three best friends representing three different parts of Carrie's -- or, let's be honest, the viewer's -- personality is one of the best evil-genius strokes in the last 10 years of television) gives me reason to be optimistic. But watching the show recently, the consumerism that used to only mildly annoy me now makes me want to do to all the world's handbag designers what Scarlett Johansson does to Tom Waits songs. We live in different times, shittier times. And if Carrie Bradshaw hasn't changed with those times, there could be plenty of reason to dread her return.