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’”

“The Caste System” By: Laura Daniel

Aired: 8 August 1999
Summary
The women are faced with common social issues. Samantha dates a rich man named Harvey who has a maid, but quickly finds the maid Sum isn’t too fond of Sam. Charlotte dates a celebrity actor named Wylie Ford who is her dream man but soon finds out that she is less of his girlfriend and more of a groupie when she doesn’t want to do the things he does. Miranda takes Steve shopping for a new suite for Miranda’s work party and pays for it but finds out that he is upset because he can’t foot the bill himself, and he breaks up with her. Carrie is insecure yet again with her relationship with Mr. Big when he takes her to a party and isn’t able to express the way he feels about her. She leaves Big for a waiter there who she used to flirt with before he came into the picture.

The Future Holds Change
Television shows often show us the issues that have to be dealt with in society. A woman making more money than a man is turning into a large issue in this episode. It isn’t rare now-a-days for women to out earn men, women are getting more education, better jobs, and in the end… more money. This isn’t the only issue that goes on in today’s society, there is a lot more going on in the world than people seem to think. In class we discussed LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) in television. Sex and the City is great at bringing these issues to light. In a few episodes there are LGBT, and a serial element of this show has two gay men who appear frequently in issues.
Issues in today’s society don’t just go away. If someone gets upset about an issue and tries to day something about it there are usually large consequences and issues will get blown up.
The Caste System exists!!

 The Caste System is a type of social structure which divides people on the basis of inherited social status. Although many societies could be described in this way, within a caste system, people are rigidly expected to marry and interact with people of the same social class. India has a well known example of a caste system, although various forms of caste systems can be found in many other cultures as well.
Television is a great way to bring important issues to light, but do they stop there?
I think that its one thing to present the issue on television and a completely different situation when people actually act on the important issues.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Meeting of the Minds (November 4th- November 10th) By: Faryn Wegler

 In this week’s meeting, we discussed some major recurring themes that were touched upon in our episodes. We also tried to relate the representation of women in the Sex and the City to our readings and class lectures, and talked a lot about they way the show is structured. We decided to use Lotz’s chapter Sex, Careers and Mr. Right in Comedic Drama and Newman's Form Beats to Arcs: Toward a Poetics of Television Narrative to make some key observations on the series.

Structure of Sex and the City

1.) Serial/ Episodic Elements: Sex and the City can be considered a serial series that contains episodic elements (it mixes episodic and serial plots)

Serial Aspects: By discussing each of our episodes, we notices that there are always underlying plots that affect the actions and attitudes of the characters. For example, Carrie’s desire to be with Big and Charlotte’s search for Prince Charming recur through the various episode and seasons.

Episodic Aspects: In each episode, there is a different “story” being told about the characters. For example, Samantha is usually sleeping with a different man from the previous episode, and Carrie is writing a new topic for her column. Although many of the story lines are continuous (such as the Carrie-Big relationship), the writers create different events for the characters to encounter and new obstacles to overcome.

2.) The Blending of Humor and Drama: The mixing of humor and drama is crucial to developing the stories of the characters. Instead of just an emphasis on plot (which is usually the case in situation comedies or pure drams), the format of Sex and the City allows audiences to see character development. We see the personalities of the characters come through in the ways they use humor in dramatic situations (often involving their relationships with men or the “curse” of being single)

3.) The Use of First- Person Narrative: Through first-person narration, the show develops an intimate relationship with the audience. We are able to get an exclusive view into Carrie’s “thoughts” and how she perceives her friends actions through her narrative voice-overs (in writing her column). However, the program still allows the other characters to have important story lines that allow for rich character development

Overall, our group has been communicating well each week in discussing important elements of our program. Stay tuned for future posts!

Old Dogs New Dicks By: Faryn Wegler


In the episode Old Dogs, New Dicks Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha all question whether or not they can change a man. Carrie is fed up with Big seeing other woman, and says, “I’m not looking for perfection, just slight alterations.” Miranda is annoyed that her bartender boyfriend Steve expects them to have sex and “cuddle” in the mornings, making her late for work. Charlotte is dating a man who is uncircumcised, and wonders if she can deal with this imperfection. Samantha rejects all of the other ladies criticisms about their significant others stating, “no man is perfect.”

According to Amanda Lotz in her chapter Sex, Careers and Mr. Right in Comedic Drama, “Although it is possible to understand the characters’ pursuit of male companionship as regressive and comparable to stories told about single women thirty years ago, it is also possible to see these stories as explorations of the challenges this generation of women faces in rewriting social scripts of dating and marriage because of the gains of the past thirty years.” Unlike women of the past whose main goal in life was to find a husband, the Sex and the City women believe they have the option to be picky with their choices. Not only do the ladies want to find a man, but they want to find the “perfect” man; they see it as their job to turn the man they are dating into the ideal “Prince Charming”. Being hardworking, independent women, Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda, believe they should put forth the same effort into relationships as they do to their careers.

Realizing that changing Big may be impossible Carrie asks, “Was I banging my head against the wall thinking that I could get him to stop and notice me? Did I have to change my expectations?” The fact that Carrie begins to question whether it is the woman’s expectations that have to change represents a more regressive view of femininity. At lunch Miranda asks the ladies, “why is it the woman that has to change and never the guy,” and Charlotte responds, “Because we are more adaptable.” The women have trouble embracing all of the gains made possible by second wave feminism, as they decide to keep dating the men despite them falling short of their expectations. After accidently knocking Carrie out of bed, Carrie finally lashes out at Big stating “I know you cant change a man but I still want something to change…for me” and he ends up spending the night at her place for once. This proves that although men can’t be changed, the woman must alter her expectations so that the man can be slightly adjusted. The episode ends with Miranda and Steve having sex again in the morning, with Miranda being an hour late for work and not even caring. Carrie then states in narration, “maybe you can’t change a man…but once in a blue moon you can change a woman.” Although the idea of the women lowering their expectations may seem counteractive to feminism, the Sex and the City characters are progressive in their ability to construct and alter their own rules of love and dating.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Man, The Myth, The Viagara: By Jennifer Marie Stranges

A Plot-
Carrie & Mr. Big's relationship is put to the test when she asks him to get to know her friends better. She wonders if the change in their relationship is real when she bails on her last minute. When she is about to admit to the girls that he's not coming, he shows up in a very "Price Charming" kind of way. She decides that their relationship isn't a myth and that it's true.


B Plot-
Miranda sleeps with a bartender she meets while alone (because Carrie ditched her to be with big). She assumes that he's just like every other guy and refuses to believe him when he tells her that he likes her and that she should give him a chance. When he meets the girls and Miranda for a drink, she is extremely rude to him. She chases after him when he storms out of the restaurant, ironically named Denial, and tells him that maybe she can believe him after all. Miranda, the most unlikely of the characters, has the happy-ever-after type kiss in the rain that the girls debate existing.


C Plot-
Samantha is dating a 70 year old millionaire. She sees him as good fun and company. When they are about to have sex, she is surprised how youthful his touch is. When he excuses himself to go to the washroom, she sees his buttocks in the light and is extremely turned off and decides to leave.

“The Chicken Dance” By: Jami McGuigan

Summary: This episode is about a love story between Miranda’s friend Jeremy and her interior decorator Madeline and how the wedding negatively affects the women of the show. Throughout this episode all the women are also upset about the men in their lives. Miranda is upset about Jeremy, Samantha is upset about having no men left to sleep with, Carrie is upset about her slowly progressing relationship with big, and Charlotte is upset about her mini relationship with a groomsman. Throughout the course of the wedding nothing really goes well for the girls…

Thematic Parallelism:
·                                House guests
o   Miranda having houseguest Jeremy stay over
o   Carrie being Big’s houseguest
o   Samantha having a reoccurring house guest
·                               Time comparisons and relationships
o   Carrie compares celebrating the baby steps of her long-term relationship with Madeline and Jeremy’s short-term relationship with big steps
o   Miranda: “It’s amazing, it took her six months to find me an end table, but she can plan a wedding at the Plaza in four weeks”
o   Charlotte goes through all the steps of a relationship with a man throughout the course of the wedding “Technically it wasn’t a third date but they had already had dinner, been dancing [and met the parents]”
o   Samantha analyzes the amount of short term sexual escapades she has had with various men
·                              Men making women upset
o   Big upsetting Carrie, Jeremy upsetting Miranda, The groomsmen upsetting charlotte, and the “re-run” upsetting Samantha

Plots:
·       A Plot: Madeline and Jeremy’s Developing Relationship
o   They meet, fall in love, Jeremy
      proposes, Madeline plans the wedding and they get married
·      B Plot: Carrie and Big’s relationship progressing/regressing
o   Big gives Carrie one of his toothbrush heads, and comes to the wedding as Carrie’s date. He then refuses to sign the card and then leaves the wedding in the middle of Carrie reciting her poem
·      C Plot: Miranda is bitter about various series of events that occur
o   Miranda is bitter towards the events that occur throughout the episode having to do with Jeremy and Madeline
·      D Plot: Charlotte has a mini relationship
o   Charlotte meets a man and starts/ends an accelerated relationship at the wedding

Non-Stereotypical Gender Roles
o   None of the women care about catching the bouquet at the end of the wedding
o   Carrie does not know what to say about love in her poem
o   Samantha sleeps with a man that she had already slept with 15 years prior and did not remember him “I’m officially out of men to fuck, I have to get married or move”

Stereotypical Gender Roles
o   Miranda has her who whole apartment redone just to impress a man
o   Miranda is upset and bitter once she is abandoned by Jeremy
o   Carrie is excited about Big giving her a pink toothbrush head “it was the single most encouraging moment so far in our relationship”
o   Miranda goes to so much trouble for a man who overlooks her
o   Big is uncomfortable about being on the card with Carrie
o   Charlotte: “Well I think [Madeline and Jeremy] are encouraging… it means that even if you are not dating anybody, you could be engaged in a couple of weeks!”


"The Cheating Curve" By: Laura Daniel

Aired: July 11, 1999
Season 2 Episode 6

Plot Summary:

The "Power Lesbians" at Charlottes gallery
Charlotte meets the power lesbian and has a great sell in the gallery. She then goes on an anti man binge and focuses her attention on the female spirit. Samantha starts dating her personal trainer Thor and he ends up enjoying shaving her legs and her pubic hair into a lightning bolt, but she quickly found out that she wasn’t the only flash in Thors life. Miranda is dating a man who is more interested in turning on the porn to get in the mood than focusing on Miranda. Carrie sneaks away from her friends for a date with Mr. Big.




Sex and the City thus far:

Through out Sex and the City thus far we have seen common themes where the girls are always there for each other. There is no issue in their lives that they go through themselves with out the help of their friends. They have created a network within each episode that carries through each season. Most of the episodes are episodic but you still need to know what is going on through out each season to know what’s going on.


Is this all we really need?

I am finding with the more of Sex and the City that I watch the more it feels like it wants to show women as independent and fine on their own when really the whole feel of Sex and the City shows women who just want men. They want men, sex, and to not be alone.

Women – I think – need to be seen as independent and not craving constant attention from men, which, is the main focus of the women of Sex and the City. This is why I like this episode inparticualar where Charlotte proposes that she doesn't need men and that she really enjoys the connection that she feels that women should have together.

Is girl power the thing we really need to prove that we - as women - can do anything and don't need a man? Isn't this what Sex and the City was all about when it first began? Miranda was shown as the one who didn't need a man, Samantha just used men for sex... maybe the show has changed from independent women of the 90's to the needy women of the 2000's?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Four Women and a Funeral" By:Faryn Wegler


In this episode Miranda displays a sense of pride in purchasing her first apartment for herself. Despite how content she originally feels about her decision, everyone around her can’t help but point out her single woman status. When touring the apartment her realtor asks, “Its just you? Such a big apartment for just you…maybe the boyfriend will move it?” Miranda replies, “No its just me…I have a lot of shoes.” The realtor clearly can’t wrap her head around the fact that a woman would purchase such a large home without having a husband or a family. When Miranda goes to her mortgage company to sign papers, they tell her to check off the single woman box for payments. Miranda feels as though she is being defined by her “single woman” status, and does not understand why others can’t accept her independence. She represents the modern day, career-oriented woman who doesn’t mind living on her own. The next day at lunch with the ladies she says, “I’m telling you, if I were a single man, none of this would be happening.” Miranda believes that women face more pressures than men to get married and start a family once they approach a certain age.

Carrie points out to Miranda that “Buying a place alone means you don’t need a man”, causing Miranda to respond, “I don’t.” Miranda displays a new-age philosophy that she does not need a man to be happy, and views having a partner as a nice bonus, equal in value to having a prestigious career and great friends. Charlotte, with her conservative values displays an oppositional view to Miranda’s independent-woman status. She states, “Everyone needs a man. That’s why I rent. If you own and he rents the power structure is all off, it’s emasculating. Men don’t want a woman who’s too self-sufficient.” Charlotte represents a more regressive view of femininity in the sense that she does not believe men and women should have equal status in a relationship. To her, being the woman means allowing the man to have more control, even if it means renting an apartment you can afford instead of owning it.

When Miranda meets one of her new neighbors, she learns that the women who lived in the apartment before her died alone. The neighbor claims, “Ruthie kept to herself, never married. She died in there you know. It was a week before anyone realized she passed. Rumor has it her cat ate half her face…so just you?” To Miranda, the story of Ruthie demonstrates what happens to a woman if she never marries and does not have a man to protect her. She becomes emotionally distraught over the fear of dying alone in her apartment, and finally sees why everyone keeps asking if it is really “just her” moving in. Miranda’s progressive story line of purchasing an apartment all on her own is later counteracted by her succumbing to this fear. She ends up having a panic attack, and calls Carrie to take her to the hospital. Miranda cries, “I’m going to die alone Carrie.” Carrie tells her that she won’t die alone, unsure herself whether any of them would really end up alone. In this way the show portrays being “alone” as symbolic of failure, an end in and of itself. The entire premise of the show is for the women to seek relationships with men so that they do not wind up as lonely old maids who will die alone in their apartments.

At the end of the episode, Miranda reclaims her feminist attitude when she receives a letter from her mortgage company that lists her as “separated.” Asserting her status as a single women, she writes back to them claiming that she is in fact “single.” Although it is difficult for her to write those words, Miranda knows in her heart that being single is not the end of the world, and that she can find validation in her life without having a man. She then puts a photo of her and her girlfriends above her fireplace, suggesting that friendship is much more important to her than being single in the city. 

They Shoot Single People, Don't They?: By Jennifer Marie Stranges

"Here's to us without men," says Carrie at the start of the episode. The girls, who all find themselves single at the same time, are enjoying themselves at a Salsa club. One more drink turns into a few ...


The next morning Carrie has to be photographed for New York Magazine's editorial titled "Single and Fabulous. While going to buy cigarettes, Carrie sees the cover of the magazine which was spinned without her knowledge. An awful photo of her hungover is splashed on the cover reading "Single and Fabulous?" The girls become upset with the obvious fact that they are all single, and begin to whether if they are really fabulous.


While taking a "power walk", the girls bump into a past fling of Miranda's. She admits that they broke up after Miranda, the most honest of the characters, faked orgasms while having sex with him. She begins sleeping (and faking) with him again after the "Single and Fabulous?" fiasco. Samantha meets with William, the Salsa club owner, even though she had initially rejected him because it was just a girl's night. Charlotte begins to become attracted to her friend Tom rather suspiciously after he says he's moving out of town. The women are all extremely effected by the perspectives of outsiders (and the media) and let their fear of being alone momentarily get the best of them. Carrie poses the question in her column, "Is it better to fake it, then be alone?" The episode includes the fear of being alone as thematic parallelism between the four characters.


Carrie stays in hiding while the magazine is on the news stands. When the man at the news stand looks at Carrie with pity, she decided to come out of hiding and that she should not be ashamed of being alone. She meets a new guy and is about to sleep with him but realizes she would only be with him to validate her life.  Carrie goes out for a meal with no armour, no man, no friends just to prove to herself she can be content with being alone.

“The Freak Show” By: Jami McGuigan

There are several ideologies presented in this episode that would be considered wrong from a feminist standpoint. In this episode, the various stories imply that if people are single there must be something wrong with them. It is bad to think that being dependent on somebody else should classify a person as normal. Due to three different scenarios in this particular show, single people are ultimately depicted as freaky thieves with duel personalities that have no soul. It is a shame that most popular shows on television often fail to mention all the great qualities that a single person can possess. Usually, all that is hilighted in the life of a single person on television is #1 where they are going wrong, and #2 how they can find another human being (which is exactly what this episode demonstrates through the ladies’ lives).


Women are rarely shown on television without some kind of attachment to a man, search to meet a man, or desire to be married etc. Although the women of Sex and the City set a great example for career driven and independent women, there always seems to be the force of a man weighing them down. If Miranda is right about men being freaks if they are over 30 and single, then why do all the women in the show feel the need to be with them? If Amanda Lotz were to analyze the representations of the women in this episode, I believe she would be disappointed. Not only are the women dependent on men, the women are dependent on men that they do not even believe to be worthy of their time. 

Although there are usually so many great aspects of a single woman’s life, television producers seem to draw out the worst parts to make shows appealing. In terms of Sex and the City, women are the ones who are targeted to watch this show, and therefore desperate, sad, single women are the ones who are expected to be drawn to the plot of this particular episode. There is definitely a need for producers to draw upon the great parts of a single woman’s life to prove to women around the world watching these shows that they do not need a partner to have a great life.