TUBE TALK - The Girls Are Back In Town
By John T. Forde
The modern TV woman has it all – including the right to be as paranoid, self-obsessed and megalomaniacal as men.
Headlining a Monday night trash TV line-up, Bridezillas (Mondays, 9.30pm, TV2) does for brides what Hannibal Lecter did for faiva beans and a nice Chianti.
Each week, we follow a series of nice upwardly mobile New York girls planning their exorbitantly priced weddings and gradually turning into crazed birds of prey who eat their young.
As frustrated wedding planners rip their bleached-blonde hair out and gay interior designers rearrange table napkins and lisp “fabulous!”, the brides-to-be cuss, chain-smoke and pout their way to the altar, while their overweight financial trader grooms shrug their rounded shoulders and write yet another six-figure cheque.
The moral of the story? Don’t get married in New York unless you’re marrying a millionaire. And be nice to your French cinematographer – if he doesn’t like you, he can punish you with bad close-ups on your wedding video.
Meanwhile, the gals from Sex and the City (Tuesdays, 9.30pm, TV3) are adjusting to life, shoes and blow jobs post-9/11.
The show’s trademark fizzy cocktail mix of snappy dialogue, bizarre fashion and no-holds-barred sexual frankness has launched it to cult status, and elevated star Sarah Jessica Parker to pop-tart fame.
But in these paranoid times, the tone is a less frou-frou and more sober and flat chested. Sarah Jessica still waddles down Fifth Avenue in a tutu in the show’s opening sequence, although the spunky shots of the New York skyline have been strategically re-cut to remove shots of the Twin Towers.
In the good old days of Series One and Two, Carrie (Parker) and her friends would sleep their way through legions of cute hairy-chested Jewish boys, then compare notes over brunch the next day. But with the exception of vampish PR executive Samantha, who still chews and spits out men like martini olives, Sex-post-9/11 is decidedly thin on the ground.
Even singlehood isn’t spared. Part of SATC’s phenomenal was its refreshing, non-judgmental take on being single. Even though Carrie & Co were competing in the marriage race, there was fun to be had along the way, and good friends to give you advice on having anal sex on the first date.
Now, in Series 5, the ladies are looking more like long-timers at Heartbreak Hotel – and it aint pretty.
Carrie is single, short haired, and negotiating the dating freak show again. Park Avenue princess Charlotte is separated, and earnestly ploughing through self-help books to find the answer to her need-a-man blues. Cynical lawyer Miranda is attempting to budget corporate law with breastfeeding her new-born son, and missing the days when she mixed Cosmopolitans, not baby formula.
Even Samantha, who normally spurns relationships like Carrie stubs out cigarettes, took up with a philandering playboy, and spiralled into a constant state of paranoia about his unfaithfulness.
Fortunately, the writing hasn’t quite descended to bunny-boiling Single-is-Sad Syndrome – though last week, Carrie’s hair did look scarily like Glenn Close’s Fatal Attraction perm. Thankfully, Samantha dumped the boyfriend and resumed her workload of casual sex with delivery boys in her office. Atta girl!
But, like Bridezillas, SATC seems to tout the same suspiciously anti-girl power mantra – you’re nothing without a big society wedding and a husband to take you out of the bed- and barhopping loop.
Time for repeats of The Mary Tyler Moore Show – pronto.