Friday, December 10, 2010

Industry By: Laura Daniel

As a group we decided to each take on one question to better discover Sex and the City. My question was: How the show is positioned industrially--Where is the show situated in relation to other programming trends, the contemporary television schedule, and within a larger networking strategy?


HBO is a network that stands for Home Box Office. This is the network that Sex and the City aired and is currently airing on. 
The original airing of Sex and the City took place after 9PM because of the nudity and language in the show. 
Currently the show is airing at noon which is when I enjoy watching it. But it is also airing reruns at night around 11PM for an hour. 


Where a show is situated in a line up can really define its viewability. The difference with Sex and the City than most other shows is the nudity, language, and content that occurs within each episode. It is because of this that it has to be aired later at night when children should be asleep. 
After the 9PM "bedtime" shows that shouldn't be seen by children are allowed to show nudity and have more colourful language than those shown before this time. 


The strategy of this network was to keep people coming back with both serial and episodic elements presenting characters and some plot lines that carry through the entirety of the series. 


As can be seen by the popularity of the show it did very well. So well in fact that two movies were made from it carrying on the Sex and the City tradition, bringing girls around the world together for friends, sex, and cosmos. 

The Final Meeting of the Minds: By Faryn Wegler


In our meeting this week, we decided to talk about our final thoughts on Sex and the City and what we thought of the whole season in relation to how women are represented on TV as a whole.

Major Themes We Have Covered
•    The Value of Female Friendship
•    Female Independence (i.e. career success)
•    Sexual Freedom
•    Materialism
•    Obsession With Men

Course Material We Have Tied In
•    Thematic parallelism
•    Serial and episodic elements
•    Stereotypical vs. non stereotypical gender roles
•    Representation of race
•    Readings by Amanda Lotz and L.S. Kim 
•    Is HBO a women’s network?

Is the Show a Progressive Representation of Women?

Throughout the semester we have provided evidence that supports both a progressive and limiting view of women in the series.

Progressive View
•    Sex and the City took after earlier situation comedies oriented towards representing the “new-age” woman. Shows such as Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970), Kate and Allie (1984), and Designing Women (1986) were about independent women making decisions for themselves.
•    Although the Sex and the City women are often focused on finding the “perfect” man, they each are career-oriented and strive to be successful on their own
•    The show is idealistic about the way that women can get unconditional love from one another; it shows that men are not necessarily needed to feel “loved”
•    The show tackled modern issues faced by many women (i.e. abortion, breastfeeding, STDs, getting dumped by a man)
•    Sex and the City has given women a language with which to talk about their experiences and their friendships. It has become “okay” for women to be open about their sex lives. 

Limiting View
•    The women’s constant obsession with talking about men, finding men and changing men comprised almost every episode we viewed
•    We feel as though this is a limiting view of women as it insinuates that they need a man in order to complete their lives (female friendship may not be enough)
•    In some ways, the show is at odds with how women's lives have changed since the rise of feminism. Their working lives have got longer, and their opportunities to have children have got harder. This makes viewers question whether or not the characters are really embracing feminism or simply dealing with its consequences

Final Thoughts on This Project

Our group has worked exceptionally well together in creating our “Sex and the City” blog this semester. By gathering together each week, we had the opportunity to contribute our personal thoughts on the series and hear each other’s viewpoints. We found that our different perspectives and opinions helped us gain a richer understanding of how the show is perceived by female viewers. We hope you had as much fun reading our blog as we did creating it.

Sex and The City Discourse By: Faryn Wegler


Fan Sites
The plethora of Sex and the City Fan sites on the web demonstrate what a massive phenomenon the series itself has become. The web sites (dedicated primarily to the female-centered audience) contain videos, links, quizzes, star news, episode guides, cast biographies. There are also polls with questions such as “What character are you most like?” and “Who would you rather have as your best friend?” The online stores have SATC merchandise such as books, DVDs, posters and even vibrators available for purchase.

Some popular SATC fan sites:
•    http://satcfan.org/
•    http://www.fanpop.com/spots/sex-and-the-city
•    http://www.carriesdiary.com/

Awards & Reviews
- Over its course of six seasons, "Sex and the City" was nominated for over 50 Emmy Awards, winning seven times
- The show has been both praised and criticized by critics.
- Entertainment named the show #5 on its list of the best shows in the past 25 years, saying, "The clothes from SATC raise your cosmos! A toast to the wonderful wardrobe from Sex and the City, which taught us that no flower is too big, no skirt too short, and no shoe too expensive."
- Others have argued that the show represents a decline in moral values given that the sole purpose of the series is for the characters to boast about their sexual exploits with as many men as possible.
- After the release of the second film, the Washington Post stated that the “lightweight storyline, shameless materialism and unapologetic shallowness provided easy targets for sniffy critics.”

Drama Queens By: Faryn Wegler


The Dating “Rules”

In the episode Drama Queens, Charlotte presses on in her mission to be married by year's end. At lunch she shows the ladies a new book she has purchased, entitled, Book called “Marriage Incorporated: How to Apply Successful Business Strategies to Finding a Husband”. She then says she is going to befriend her married friends husbands in order to get to know their bachelor friends. Charlotte’s belief in following certain dating “rules” is common amongst many modern day women who want to get married; we even saw the appearance of a similar book in the Ally McBeal episode (“The Kiss”) we viewed at the beginning of the semester called “All The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right”. Similar to Ally, Charlotte too has faith that following a guideline of rules could potentially help women land the perfect husband. Being professional businesswomen, both Charlotte and Ally believe that they should approach finding a mate with the same dedication and organization they bring to their careers. This demonstrates the pressure women over the age of thirty often feel to “settle down” and conform to the traditional societal gender roles of being a wife and mother.

Women Complaining About Men

Miranda wonders if her relationship with Steve is becoming too comfortable when she finds "skid marks" in his underwear. She tells Carrie, “We whine when we don’t have a boyfriend and we whine when we do.” Women complaining about the lack of a man in their life or problems with the man they are dating have been seen in practically every episode of SATC we have viewed so far. Despite being a successful lawyer, Miranda too is preoccupied with finding a man, or talking about her boyfriend’s imperfections. The progressive, feminist attitude the women display in their careers is undermined by their constant obsession with talking about men.

Gender Role Reversal

Three weeks into her relationship with Aidan, Carrie begins to freak because everything seems so perfect. When Aidan asks Carrie to meet his parents, she can't deal and finds herself saying no. Carrie realizes that in her relationship with Aidan, she's been behaving like Big, and he's been acting like the sensitive and available guy she always wanted Big to be. The fact that Carrie believes she is behaving like the “man” in the relationship (in that she is anxious to take big steps such as meeting the parents) demonstrates a sort of gender reversal amongst her and Aiden. This can be considered a progressive representation of women in that Carrie has the option of choosing whether or not she is “ready” to take the next step in her relationship. Unlike most episodes where the women are constantly pressuring their men to commit, this episode highlights Carrie’s modern-age womanly independence that permits her to decide whether or not the relationship is “right” for her.

Are We Sluts?: By Jennifer Marie Stranges

This episode of Sex and the City explores the question that many critics of the show pose: Are we sluts?
The female characters of the show, although scattered in their different views of sexual liberation, all participate in and exercise the perks of sexual liberation. "Oh please, if you're a whore what does that make me?" laughs promiscuous Samantha in response to traditional Charlotte. Miranda and Carrie immediately look down in avoidance of the answer. However after several incidents in the episode, Carrie ponders the reality of her and her friends being "sluts" in her latest column.


As per usual Sex and the City fashion, the theme of the episode parallels across several characters:

  • Carrie is eager to sleep with her new boyfriend Aidan.
  • Charlotte fears being a whore after her new boyfriend screams "You fucking bitch, you fucking whore" while he ejaculates.
  • Samantha's neighbors judge her sexual promiscuity when her late-night sexcapade lets an intruder into the building  behind him.
  • Miranda has chlamydia and must contact all the people she might have passed it to - "all" being more than she'd like to admit.
"Don't people date anymore?" asks Aidan. Carrie realizes the lack of expectation for romance these days, and begins to desire a more traditional dating experience with Aidan. 

When Aidan runs a bubble bath for Carrie, she realizes that although that her right to promiscuity as a response to feminism has its perks, the traditional "waiting" experience with Aidan was worth it.

"No If's Ands, or Buts" By: Jami McGuigan

POSITIVE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN STANDING UP TO RACISM
Unlike most episodes of Sex and the City, this episode particularly focuses on racial issues. Sex and the city addresses race in this episode and points out the horrible ideologies that people have towards inter-racial couples. When Samantha is dating an African American man named Siobahn, his sister, Adena, does not approve because Samantha is white. In this episode, racism is shown through Adena’s hatred; luckily Samantha stands up for herself. Regardless of who you are, racism should not be tolerated. I think it is great how the producers of Sex and the City incorporated this topic into the show and how they exemplified Samantha as a woman who who not only stands up for herself, but also for her race:

EXAMPLES
Samantha also says: “I don’t see color, I see conquests...there is no reason to bring race into this, Siobahn is a sweet man, we have the greatest sex… and he has the biggest heart”

NEGATIVE REPRESENTATION OF RACE
On the other hand, this episode also incorporates stereotypes associated with African Americans into the script. It is unfortunate how these women go from standing up for what is right to participating in something that is wrong. 
- Samantha stereotypes "black cooking"--“Martha Stewart meets puff daddy on a plate”
- Carrie: “you gotta love a brother who loves his jewelry”
- The girls “talk black” when discussing Siobah, Charlotte corrects them by saying “It’s not black talk, it’s African American talk”
- The “Black Scene” is portrayed very stereotypically
- When Samantha and Siobahn are in the line for a club hard core rap music is playing and people are yelling swearing and being “gangster” “back of the line mother fucker"
- When they enter the club, they have to go through metal detectors and everyone inside is very gangster and thug-like

DEAL BREAKERS
In relationships, there are certain things that cross the line. In this episode, the characters stand up for themselves when it comes to all of the “deal breakers”. 
- Charlotte cannot continue to date a man because he is a bad kisser
- Aiden cannot date Carrie because she is a smoker
- Stanford cannot be with a man who collects dolls
- Siobahn’s cannot date Samantha because his sister does not approve

"Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl" By: Laura Daniel

Aired: 25 June 2000


Summary:


Charlotte's gallery scores a big hit with the works of the artist Baird Johnson, rare even for New Yorkers' almost un-shockable standards: drag kings, women completely dressed-up as men; Baird, himself a gentleman, even gets conservative WASP lady Charlotte to pose for him, his way. Samantha was looking for an assistant, but one look on sexy stud Matt decided her mind in his favor; his professionally unacceptable arrogant attitude to her PR clients still gets him fired, but both are immediately eager to start jumping each-other's bones now are they no longer ethically barred. Carrie's boyfriend Sean isn't just young enough to be more boy then her others friends, he's also openly bisexual, which starts her wondering if gender is a dying concept. Miranda is back with Steve and gave him a key, but really wrestles with his tendency to 'invade' her apartment territory, such as sleeping with his head touching 'her' pillow.
(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0698620/plotsummary)


My Thoughts: 


This episode was a great summary for me of Sex and the City, it reiterated the basis of Sex and the City bringing up important issues that are occurring in the world today. 
After watching many episodes of Sex and the City in a critical perspective I have come to find that I am not a fan of the way the series is put together. Yes, this is a show directed towards women but the lives of these women isn't actually what we are encountering. Carrie is a free lance writer, living in New York making very minimal money and can still manage to afford an apartment and Manolo Blanic? I think not... Sure the other girls like Samantha who is in PR, Miranda a lawyer, and Charlotte being a trust fund baby. The lives these women lead are ridiculously fantasized. 
Yes the issues that they encounter are important and do need to be discussed but Carries life in particular seem falsified and far fetched. 



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Meeting of the minds By: Jami McGuigan

MEETING:
During our meeting this week we discussed the common themes that ran through the episodes we each analyzed. We also debated ideas for our final posts for next week, and decided how we are going to finish off the blog. After all of the meetings we have had, episodes we have watched, and choices we have collectively made to ensure the success of our blog, we have decided to write a reflection on this  experience as well as all of the episodes as a whole.

A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
For another class I have been making a documentary about my father and his job. Last week, I was fortunate enough to be able to tag along on one of his business trips to New York City. While I was there I managed to do some extra research for this class and go on the Sex and the City tour!!! After watching all the seasons and visiting all the filming locations, I now really feel like an expert on the show! When I got home I shared the pictures with my group-mates.

Laura’s episode pertains to PROBLEMS WITH MEN
- Miranda and Carrie run into Steve and run the other way
- Carrie tries to be friends with Big only to find out that he is engaged to Natasha
- Charlotte tries to get back on the horse (literally) for the first time after a traumatic accident
- Samantha tries to have sex with a man with a penis that is too big

My episode pertains to WOMENS DESIRE FOR FANTASY/ RESCUE
- When Carrie misses the fairy and loses her shoe, Bill pulls up in a BMW to save her
- When Miranda has laser eye surgery, Steve comes to pick her up and take care of her against her wishes
- When a creepy guy is hitting on charlotte at the bar, a handsome man comes to her rescue by punching him to the ground
- Samantha enters a sexual relationship with a fire fighter

Jenny’s episode pertains to POLITICS
- Carrie is dating a politician who wants her to pee on him (bedroom politics)
- Samantha is dating a really short man who is great in bed (social politics)
- Miranda and Steve decide to be exclusive. (relationship politics)

Faryn’s episode pertains to WOMEN FEELING SELF CONSCIOUS/ INADEQUATE IN COMPARISON TO OTHER WOMEN
- Charlotte gets depressed when reading the New York Times wedding announcements
- Carrie spends a fortune on an outfit to outshine Natasha
- Magda makes Miranda feel guilty for having sex toys and for not being a stereotypical woman
- Samantha is insulted when a massage therapist named Kevin performs oral sex on the other Ladies and not her
- Charlotte feels self conscious of her body in the female health spa

THOUGHTS ON THESE THEMES
Overall, these themes raise a lot of issues in terms of women’s thoughts, whether it is comparing themselves to other women, having issues with men, or relying on men to rescue them, the women of Sex and the City negatively present themselves in these four consecutive episodes. When analyzing these themes, it is evident that these women are not the strong, capable, sure of themselves people they claim to be. 

Attack of the 5-foot-10 Woman By: Faryn Wegler


The Rush to Marry (An Anti-Feminist View) vs. The Importance of Career (Feminist Attitude)
•    At Sunday brunch, the ladies flip through the latest New York Times wedding section and Charlotte says, “This is so depressing. The oldest woman on this page is 27.” The entire goal of dating according to Charlotte is to land a husband, and being single past a certain age is considered taboo. Miranda comments, “Now I’m depressed and I haven’t even had my coffee yet,” and Carrie reminds her, “at least you have a boyfriend.” In this scene the women take an anti-feminist stance in their views on marriage. They see getting married as a “race” and feel and immense amount of pressure to beat other women to the finish line.

•    When Charlotte reads about a 24 year old bride who quits her job once she gets engaged, Miranda sarcastically adds, “that’s so retro…I’ve got a rock on my finger now I can stop pretending to care about my career.” Samantha adds, “Until recently the bride had a life of her own.” The anti-feminist attitude the women displayed a few minutes before is counteracted by their disbelief over an unknown woman’s choice to quit her job. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, are all high-powered career women, and have a feminist attitude when it comes to career success.

Women Judging Other Women
Although the show mostly focuses on how women perceive (and believe they are perceived) by men, this particular episode emphasizes the attention women pay to judging one another. Women worrying how other women perceive them can be considered a form of anti-feminism. Instead of empowering one another, women allow their insecurities to get the best of them.

•    Carrie: After seeing a picture of Big and his new wife Natasha in the wedding section of the New York Times, Carrie becomes extremely insecure. When she finds out Natasha will be attending the “Women of the Arts” luncheon, Carrie buys an expensive outfit to impress her. Natasha does not even end up showing, and Carrie feels even more insecure than before. After receiving a thank you note in which Natasha misspells a word, Carrie feels validation that Natasha may not be better than her after all, and calls her an “idiot”

•    Miranda: Miranda hires a housekeeper who disapproves of her lifestyle. Miranda tells Carrie, “I hate when she’s home when I’m home because I should be cleaning or making pies. She says that’s what women do.”

•    Charlotte: Charlotte is insecure at the spa about taking off her towel. Carrie tells her, “sweetie, who cares how you look to other women” (which is a contradiction since she cares how she appears to Natasha.)

Politically Erect By: Jennifer Marie Stranges

SYNOPSIS: Carrie is continuing to date the politican Bill, but things go awry when he has an odd bedroom request. Miranda evaluates whether Steve is the guy for her when he asks her to be exclusive. Samantha is dating a very short man and Charlotte throws a "One Woman's (Man) Trash is another Woman's Treasure" party.


THEMATIC PARALLELISM: POLITICS

  • Carrie: Bedroom politics with Mr. Politician
  • Miranda: Relationship politics with Steve
  • Samantha: Social politics with the short man
Is this episode of Sex and the City (HBO) feminist? Well, like most episodes of the series, it's a bit feminist and bit not. Here are some reasons examples:

YES:
  • Carrie's refusal to pee on her Politican boyfriend
  • Steve wanting to be exclusive with Miranda
NO:
  • The way the women discuss politics makes them seem stupid
    • "I don't believe in the democratic party or the republican party, I just believe in parties." - Samantha
  • Charlotte's interest with politics comes from wanting to settle down with a rich man
As discussed in class, typically women's TV is a melodrama or has elements of it. This episode of SATC is melodramatic in the following ways:
  • the use of music: during Charlotte's "bring a man you're not interested in" party, Cheryl Crow's song Some Change Will Do You Good plays
  • the use of emotion: Miranda finally gives into Steve when after making love, he tells her he loves her
  • exaggeration: Charlotte's desperation for a man in the form of her party

"Where There's Smoke" By: Jami McGuigan

MY THOUGHTS
Out of all episodes I have watched thus far, this episode definitely presents the most anti-feminist forms of thinking yet! With this show I have also noticed a pattern. In several episodes, the story manages to present intense anti-feminist ways of thinking, and then (kind of) corrects itself only to quickly retreat back. For example, in this episode, Charlotte makes the statement “Women just really want to be rescued” (the anti-feminist thinking), which follows up with Miranda wanting to get home from her eye surgery without the help of Steve (the correction). In the end, Steve ends up showing up to help Miranda and she loves him for doing so (canceling out the correction).


RESCUE/FANTASY
While the women in this episode claim they want to be independent and not reliant on a man, they manage to be dependent and reliant on men in the end…
- When Carrie misses the fairy and loses her shoe, Bill pulls up in a BMW to save her
- When Miranda has laser eye surgery, Steve comes to pick her up and take care of her against her wishes
- When a creepy guy is hitting on charlotte at the bar, a handsome man comes to her rescue by punching him to the ground
- Samantha enters a sexual relationship with a fire fighter

INTERESTING QUOTES
Yet again, these women contradict themselves by saying they are independent yet their lives revolve around finding a man...

Carrie: “With no man in sight, I decided to save my ankles from a life of boredom and max out my credit card with too many pairs of Jimmy Choo Shoes”
Miranda: “Well this is good, we’re actually crossing water to meet men”
Charlotte: “Women really just want to be rescued"
Charlotte: “you know what… I’m going to meet the perfect guy and I’m going to get married… you hear that new York I’m getting married this year!”
Carrie: “I got to thinking about fairytales: what if prince charming had never shown up? Would Snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woke up, spit out the apple, gotten a job, a health care package, and a baby from her local neighborhood sperm bank? I couldn’t help but wonder, inside every confident, single, driven woman, is there a delicate fragile, princess just waiting to be saved? Was Charlotte right? Do women just want to be rescued?
Charlotte: “I’ve been dating since I was 15, I’m exhausted, where is he?!” 

"Ex and the City" By: Laura Daniel

Aired: October 3, 1999

Summary

Miranda and Carrie run into Steve on the street and run away. Steve later call Miranda on running away from him in the street and let's her know "what a shitty thing that was." It hurts Miranda to think that she hurt him. Charlotte struggles with an old love for a horse she had when she was 13 named Taddie. On a jog in Central Park Charlotte comes across horses and decides to try riding again. Samantha takes on a man with a penis that is too big for her and can't handle it. Carrie, after her and Miranda's run in with Steve decided to make amends with Big and his new relationship. Carrie thought she could handle it until she went out for lunch and he told her that he was engaged to Natasha (the idiot stick figure - as Carrie refers to her as). By the end of the episode Carrie is able to at least handle the news of the engagement.

My Thoughts

Breaking up with someone is one of the hardest things that a person has to do. For people who have never actually broken up with someone don't understand the hurt that happens and the feelings of loneliness that a break- up deals with.
Forgiving an ex is usually even harder than the break-up. You have to realize one thing... when you forgive the ex you are forgiving the break-up as well, and when the ex has moved on it makes it even harder.
Women in general have a harder time with accepting a break up than men. We get attached to things faster, especially men and even more attached if the relationship involves sexual endeavors.

Today in Class

Today in class we were discussing the important idea of HBO being a women's network. The conclusion was not clear however, we did think (or some people thought) that HBO tailors their shows towards women because they are the primary watcher during the day. Finding shows that appeal to both men and women may be difficult but HBO has managed to make shows that do just this. Mad Men, Big Love, The Sopranos, ets. While Sex and the City is still geared toward women the other mellow-dramatic shows of HBO prove to us that they are trying to appeal to both sexes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How Are We Watching? By: Jami McGuigan




After watching every episode from the Sex and the City series, and both the movies I have now come to realize that audiences ARE reading the text in the way that it is asking to be read; at the same time, audiences ARE NOT reading the text in the way it is asking to be read which is a good thing. 
While watching various episodes, I caught myself a number of times falling into the trance of the amazing shoes, clothes, and “girly” things that are presented, and sometimes failed to realize all the anti-feminist aspects of the show. On the other hand, I also regularly clued into how women were being negatively represented in some instances where that was not necessarily the producer’s intent. There are so many different aspects of Sex and the City that sometimes it is easier to watch the show the way the producers want us to. Sometimes it can be comforting to let lose and live in these girls shoes if only for a while, but if you actually listen to what is going on in most episodes there are a lot of underlying issues.
Some people watch this show, fall in love with the characters and their lives and want to be just like them. Some people also watch the show and realize the problems with these women’s lives and understand that women deserve to be treated better than they often are. Charlotte is portrayed as a stereotypical woman who is not independent, and only wants to be a good housewife and live the “expected” life that a woman should. The producers want us to see how lucky she is for finding love, a family, and ultimately “success”. I have to admit that I often watched the show thinking wow, she has it all with her beautiful home, designer clothes, and family. I had to remind myself at times that she represents almost everything that feminist movements are against. Charlotte definitely portrays herself in a female role that is frowned upon in today’s society.
Throughout the course of this show women are often treated as lesser than a man, dominated by a man, and at the beck and call of a man, as exemplified through Carrie and Big’s relationship. At the same time, the female characters in this show can at times be very independent, career driven, ambitious, and confident. Unfortunately, it is almost as if the two opposite roles that women represent cancel each other out. Because women are represented as both stereotypical and non-stereotypical it is easy to watch the show and not think of the consequences that its ideas are creating.
Not all women’s lives revolve around finding a man, fitting into the perfect pair of shoes or getting married, however this show makes women’s values seem this way. Producers of Sex and the City want their viewers to watch the show for the fashion, and the fantasy of living an upper class New York lifestyle. They also want viewers to realize all the potential the show has for influencing women to be career driven, successful, and independent. Although many people do watch the show for these aspects, I also think that viewers also read into the deeper meanings that surround the themes that are presented. 


RED = How the show is asking to be watched
PURPLE = Additional things viewers are seeing when watching 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meeting of the Minds, Nov 24 By: Jennifer Marie Stranges

This week our group discussed the issue of race in Sex and the City. To be more correct, we discussed the lack of race in Sex and the City.

The brand fails to recognize the diversity of races in a city that prides itself on being home to several cultures. Furthermore, all of the main characters are white upper class females, portraying a poor representation of female diversity.

We noted that although particular episodes deal with the issue of race, the series as a whole does not. For example, the episode with Samantha and her new black boyfriend shows how his sister is not comfortable with her brother dating a white woman. She says it's a "black thing". A more naturalized version of race is shown when Miranda begins to date her black neighbor. Although this is a good start for the series to begin incorporating race, the series either devotes one single episode to it in order to "get it out of the way", or naturalizes it in a way that does not get to the heart of the issue.

In the films that came after the series finale, a black character has a significant role. Jennifer Hudson plays Louise, Carrie's new assistant. Although it's great that the brand has begun to have a more realistic and diverse cast, it is curious to think of the implications that come from positioning the black character in an "assistant" role to the dominant while major character.

Twenty- Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women By: Faryn Wegler


The Importance of Age

In this episode, the women are starkly contrasted against the twenty-something women they encounter:

Samantha
•    Samantha fires her 25-year old assistant Nina, who proceeds to steal Samantha's file of business contacts. She says, “These girls in their twenties are so ungrateful they think they’re it!” Samantha gets jealous when Nina plans "The Hamptons Hoe-Down" and people who have never shown up for her parties show up for Nina's.

Carrie
•    At the hoe-down Carrie runs into Mr. Big, who's back from Paris, with his twenty-something girlfriend whom he met while in France. This makes her feel insecure, and results in her throwing up.

Charlotte
•    After meeting a 26-year old guy, Charlotte feels insecure about her age and tells him she's 27. Charlotte then begins to act like a girl in her twenties. They sleep together and he gives her crabs
•    We see a different dimension to Charlotte’s character in this episode; she is usually the more reserved one that believes in true love and the sacredness of sex. However, Charlotte feels the same struggles many women face regarding coming to terms with their age and feels the need to lie about who she really is

Analysis: The fact that Samantha, Carrie and Charlotte view women in their twenties primarily as a threat demonstrates modern society’s obsession with youth. Men are always looking for the next best thing, and the thirty-something women believe they will always need to work harder beat them.

A Different Perspective on Sex

At a party, Carrie meets a 25 virgin named Laurel, who idolizes her. Laurel tells Carrie, “its not that I don’t want to have sex with men…its just previous generations of women have devalued sex so its not even special anymore.” Carrie is dumfounded by the fact that Laurel is saving herself for marriage. In her world, sex is a major part of how she and her friends relate to one another. What would their conversations be about without men and sex? The appearance of Laurel’s character gives a certain “feminist” tone to the episode; it contrasts the unhealthy obsession the other women have with men. Although Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha’s “sexual freedom” may be considered progressive, the idea of always needing a man to feel complete is not.

Was It Good For You? By: Jennifer Marie Stranges

Plot Summary:
The girls head to a tantric sex class after Charlotte has anxiety about her performance in bed. Samantha's sexual liberation is tested when she's asked by a gay couple to have sex. Carrie meets a movie composer named Patrick who is a recovering alcoholic. Their dating becomes problematic when Carrie realizes he has an addictive personality.


The thematic parallelism in this episode deals with the characters' perspective of how good of a lover they are:
Carrie - dates an addict who becomes addicted to having sex with her
Charlotte - her new boyfriend falls asleep while having sex with her, so she decides to take a tantic sex class
Miranda - buys new bed sheets in hopes that it will attract men to her sex life
Samantha - is asked by a gay couple to have sex with her, but then is upset when they bail




















Stereotypical Gender Roles:
  • Charlotte being extremely emotional
  • Patrick taking Carrie out for coffee after he burns her with his cigarette butt
  • The women being immature in the tantic sex workshop



Non-Stereotypical Gender Roles:
  • Samantha having a threesome with the gay couple
  • Carrie giving Patrick her number
  • Carrie inviting Patrick to "come up"
  • Patrick being the one reluctant to have sex




"Shortcomings" By: Jami McGuigan

Plot Summary:
This episode explores various family dynamics and how they relate to the lives of women. In this episode, Miranda dates a man that is going through a divorce and has a child. Carrie dates a man named Vaughn who ejaculates too quickly, however, she stays with him because she loves his family. Charlotte’s brother Wesley, who is also going through a divorce, comes to New York for a visit; Samantha ends up sleeping with him.

Thematic Parallelism through the theme of “Family”:
This episode is unique for embodying/embracing the different types of families in modern day society. In addition, I consider the women’s roles within/in relation to these families to be broad in comparison to how women are usually seen on television.

·     Women's attraction/lack of attraction to various “families
o   Carrie is attracted to Vaughn’s family more than she is attracted to Vaughn
o   Samantha is attracted to Charlotte’s brother who is going through a divorce
o   Miranda is not attracted to a divorced man with a child
·      Different kinds of families/complications of the nuclear family
o   Wesley (Charlotte’s brother) and Leslie: their relationship sounds perfect but it is not as they are getting divorced
o   Miranda’s date is a single parent
o   Vaughn’s family is very open and honest and close—it seems like they have it all together but in reality they do not
o   Carrie considers her girlfriends her family: “Sometimes it’s the family you are born into and sometimes it’s the family you make for yourself”
· 
Stereotypical Gender Roles:
- Carrie describes women’s worst nightmares as the fact that their birth certificate can never be destroyed, and bathing suit season
- Carrie's Boyfriend cannot contain ejaculation before having sex
- Carrie describes chocolate chip cookies and times spent with Vaughn’s parents as a form of foreplay (female desires of the "perfect" family life)
- Charlotte tries to make her brother feel better by baking him muffins
- Charlotte calls Samantha a slut and then apologizes by baking her muffins

Non-Stereotypical Gender Roles:
- Miranda’s worst nightmare is family hour at her gym because children were allowed to come
- Miranda as very un-mothering with her date’s child
- The man Miranda is dating prefers to be committed to one person than to date “I’m just one of those weird male aberrations that prefers to be married”
- Vaughn becomes very sensitive and emotional when Carrie tries to talk about his "problem"
- Samantha “once fucked a guy because his family had a pool”
- Samantha has "so many notches on her bedpost it is practically whittled down to a toothpick"

Throughout this episode there is a great balance between how women are portrayed in relation to their own families, and how women associate themselves with other people's families. There is also a vast representation of what qualifies as a "family" and the roles that women play in terms of sisters, girlfriends, and mothers. Although Charlotte is portrayed as a classic women who bakes, Carrie, Miranda and Samantha are shown as independent women who change the definition of what it means to be a woman in a family. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“The F*ck Buddy” By: Laura Daniel



Originally Aired: September 5, 1999

Summary

Were we all just dating the same person over and over again?
Miranda is dating a jerk, a man who tells her what to do and she hates it in every place but the bedroom. Charlotte starts juggling men to the extreme and dating multiple men at a time, and even double booking men for supper, an early supper and a late. But the two mix and she is left alone. Samantha has new neighbors who insist on having sex rather loudly and invite Sam to join, but to her dismay the couple is not exactly to her liking. Carrie discovers that she has a between relationship pattern of greasy Chinese food, staying up till two, and sleeping with a random friend named John. He is her fuck buddy the rebound-lover that she uses just for sex. Carrie tries to break the pattern and actually go out for supper but the idea crashes and burns when they can’t connect on more than a sexual level.

The Fuck Buddy

A sex partner with whom one occasionally has sex with without special attachment.

My Thoughts

Each television show we encounter now-a-days announces issues happening in everyday life. A recent episode of Glee has dealt with bully, Will and Grace deals with the issues of LGBT in society, while Sex and the City has and continues (in re-runs) to deal with important issues.
Break-ups are one of the worst things a girl goes through -- at least when they are the breakee... To deal with a break up everyone has their own routine, having the fuck buddy is Carries. Personally I do a makeover. After a break up I will go to the salon and get a new hair colour, style, and potentially a whole new look, which Carrie does do in the first Sex and the City movie.
As for being stuck in a rut dating the same person continuously (and by same person I mean same personality) a lot of people are stuck in the same types of relationships over and over. The best way to combat this is to step out of their comfort zone like Charlotte did when she starts dating Harry in the 3rd season.
This episode overall was a great way to bring up the issue of women and their dating ruts. Being stuck in a rut is one of the hardest things to get out of. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Meeting of the Minds: By Laura Daniel

This week in our group meeting we discussed LGBT in television, which is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community being represented in television. In the beginning of television no one with an altered sexual orientation was presented on T.V. Same sex couples weren't even presented to share the same bed, so the idea of same sex anything on television was a shock. Many shows broke out of this mold and started to show same sex relationships on television.

We found that Sex and the City was great at portraying the LGBT community, Samantha had a stint where she was exploring the lesbian community and Charlotte hung out with the power lesbian crowd. Both Carrie and Charlotte's best friends are gay. Carrie ended up dating a man who was bisexual, where he dated both men and women.

The LGBT community was repressed when it came to television in the beginning and wasn't recognized as an actual community with various sexual orientations. As a group we appreciate how television is not only brining the LGBT community to the attention of viewers but isn't shying away from it.

This past week in another class I was discussing how psychiatrists used to diagnose attraction to the opposite sex as a psychiatric disorder when some of them were gay themselves. They ended up creating an underground club where they could be open about their sexual orientation but never did they try to refute that their sexual orientation wasn't a disorder but a way of life.

There are many people who don't know how to express their sexuality and sexual orientation and we in the Sex and the City group believe that the expressions shown by Sex and the City towards the LGBT community shows that its O.K.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Games People Play By: Faryn Wegler

Throughout our weekly viewings of Sex and the City, we have noticed that a major recurring theme is the preoccupation women have with men. The episode Games People Play clearly illustrates this theme, as Carrie is obsessed with talking about Big after their break up. Her friends convince her to see a therapist to deal with her emotions. There are several questionable themes in this episode that need to be analyzed more critically by the audience:

1.) Is Female Friendship Really “Enough” for These Women?

The entire series of Sex and the City is supposedly based on the idea of  “friendship,” and how all the women really need are each other. At the beginning of the episode, Carrie even states, “the best part of not being in a relationship is you have plenty of time to catch up with your friends.” Ironically, all Carrie can talk about is her ex, and she immediately finds a “rebound” guy at her therapists’ office to sleep with. The episode implies that no matter how many close female friends a woman has, girlfriends can never replace the companionship of a man. Thus, none of these women will ever be truly happy without a man in their lives.

2.) Playing Games with Men

The idea of men and women manipulating one another through strategic moves is central to this episode. Carrie’s column this week asks the question, “do you have to play games to make a relationship work?” The ladies all have opposing feminist or anti-feminist viewpoints when it comes to the “games people play:”

Carrie: Carrie is dismayed after hearing her therapist say she is a “game player” and begins to question how power is really divided in a relationship. She asks herself, “We spent our childhoods playing games…were relationships just a chess match?” Carrie represents the struggles modern day women have in attacking the “wrong” type of guy.

Miranda: According to Miranda, “Relationships are not about games, they are about honest mature communication!” Carrie points out the fact that Miranda has been playing a game of “peekaboo” with her neighbour, in which they expose body parts to each other. Miranda’s conservative view on relationship is contradicted by her actions.

Charlotte: After Carrie says that her therapist labeled her a “game player,” Charlotte responds, “you have to be that the only way to deal with men…If you know what your doing you can totally control the situation.” Charlotte fully believes that relationships are like a chess match, in that carefully controlled actions can put one player “ahead” of the other. She believes that a woman’s power can only be gained by following certain rules that can work to her advantage.

Samantha:
Samantha tells the other ladies “The only way you can control a man is in bed…if we perpetually gave men blow jobs we can rule the world.” Although her sexual freedom and outspokenness may be considered a form of feminism, Samantha’s character is regressive in her belief that a women’s sexuality can be used to manipulate men.

La Douleur Exquise! By: Jennifer Marie Stranges

This episode, translated as The Exquisite Pain, is one of my favourites. Finally, Carrie acknowledges her dependence on and uncontrollable need for Mr. Big.


PLOT SUMMARY
A Plot - Mr. Big tells Carrie he might have to leave to Paris for a year for work. She freaks out that he didn't factor her in or even tell her, but then decides to let it go. When he returns from a business trip, she offers suggestions for the success of their relationship while he is away, one of them being her moving to Paris with him. Big asks Carrie not to move there for him, and she realizes that he'll never let her into his life the way she wants to be. They end their relationship.



B Plot - Miranda meets a new guy who likes to have sex in public spaces. Although she is initially reluctant to participate, she becomes turned on by the idea. When they finally have sex in a bedroom, his parents who are visiting walk in and watch the climax of their intercourse. Needless to say, it's the end of that relationship as well.


C Plot - Stanford goes to a bar to meet a guy he met online. Although he doesn't end up meeting his online friend "Big Tool 4U", he meets another and feels incredibly special.


D Plot - Charlotte is getting deals at the shoe store from the retailer who has a fetish for her feet.


THEMATIC PARALLELISM
FETISHES
Carrie: Addiction to the pain of being in love. 
Charlotte: Shoe Fetish. 
Shoe Salesman: Fetish for feet. 
Miranda: Historical Biography Obsession. 
Miranda's Boyfriend: Public Sex Fetish.
Stanford: Underwear Fetish.

"Evolution" By: Jami McGuigan


Plot Summary: In this episode, Carrie tries to leave her things at Big’s apartment to symbolize a new step in their relationship. Shortly after, Big gives her stuff back; Carrie feels that her and Big’s relationship is at a “standstill”. Charlotte dates a man whose sexuality is undetermined; she spends the whole episode trying to figure him out. Samantha goes back to an ex boyfriend in hopes of trying to hurt him, but ends up hurting herself instead. Miranda finds out that she has a lazy ovary and therefore begins taking hormones to correct the situation.

Power and Control in Relationships
Unfortunately, men often seem to be shown on television as the ones who hold the power in a relationship. Throughout this episode, power dynamics are challenged by both the female and male characters. It is important that there is a balance between the roles of power in a relationship, which is exemplified in this episode. 
·      Carrie thinks she has control in her relationship when she leaves a bunch of her things at Big’s apartment. Big soon gains control when he gives Carrie’s stuff back to her. Carrie stays by Big’s side even though he will not let her leave her stuff at his apartment. Their whole relationship is essentially based on the amount of power that big possesses. 
·      Samantha sees her ex boyfriend, Domenic, and wants to get revenge by sleeping with him and then leaving him the next day. Samantha thinks “I’m the one with the power now, I’ve evolved past him”, until the next morning when her desire for revenge was not as strong as her desire for domenic. Domenic takes back the power by breaking up with her yet again
·      Miranda’s date exercises power and control over her choice to freeze her eggs and calls her desperate for abusing science. Miranda gains control when she stands up for herself and insults him for his fake hair

Gay Versus Straight
In television shows there appears to be an obsession with labels. It is apparent through this episode that there is a need to categorize people as either gay or straight, but why does it matter? In this episode, a heterosexual man is shown for embodying the stereotypical characteristics of a man who is gay. I think it is great that this show demonstrates the diversity of people who are either heterosexual or homosexual. On television men are often portrayed stereotypically depending on how they identify sexually (ex: straight = love sports and manly, gay = love clothes and fashion). Luckily, this show manages to create a wider viewpoint. 
·      What if he is gay and he doesn’t know it? (Charlotte questions about Stephan)
·      Carrie “It’s not that simple anymore, is 
he a gay straight man, or a straight gay man?"
o   The gay straight man is a new strain of heterosexual
 males spawned in Manhattan as a result to over exposure to fashion, exotic cuisine, musical theater, and antique furniture (a straight man with a lot of great gay qualities)
o   The straight gay man is a gay guy who plays
sports and won’t fuck you according to Samantha

Feminine Vs. Masculine
What is most interesting about this series is the way they “Gender Fuck”. Both the women and men in this episode take on both feminine and masculine qualities to deviate away from stereotypical roles. In life, people possess both feminine and masculine qualities, which is why it is important that this is shown on television. 
·      Samantha: “the ego of a man trapped in the body of a woman”
·      Stephan: acts stereotypically feminine however is a man
·      “Charlotte realized that her masculine side was not evolved enough to be with a man whose feminine side was as highly evolved as Stephans’”