Thursday, April 26, 2012

SATC vs Girls

Are both of these shows just an effort to chase the high of the Golden Girls? I was a huge Golden Girls fan; I remember spending months at home watching the show in reruns twice a day; I was off school recovering from surgery and I distinctly remember my father saying to me "You can't live your life according to when the Golden Girls are on!". (Other TV obsessions included "Twin Peaks", "Thirtysomething", "Murder She Wrote" and "Northern Exposure"--clearly it was a simpler time).
For me, Golden Girls, SATC and Girls exist in some hazy guilty-type pleasure zone. Part of it is, I think, the sheer pleasure of watching women act like women on TV. By that I mean: within the context of intimate relationships with other women. Otherwise known as "friendship". The shows are all different, clearly. And all amazing, also clearly. All are products of a particular time and place, and reflect a certain aspect of a white, upper middle class life.

(I'm still a little bummed about the criticisms of Girls--and I guess SATC too to some degree--for it's lack of characters of colour. I'm more bummed about the criticism than I am about the lack of POCs in the show. I think it's bs that shows reflecting or catering to a modern female audience are expected to be all things to all marginalized demographics. This seems like a clear product of not having enough fucking female-focussed or feminist shows to begin with.)

There have not been a tonne of great shows pitched to women over the past 50 years. In 10 seconds off the top of my head I can think of MTM, Rhoda, My So Called Life, Maude, Kate and Allie, One Day at a Time: 'my' shows are the aforementioned. For whatever reason, I like and relate to them. I think all three are feminist; if you don't agree I'd probably think you're just wrong. I think there is some quality of the interaction that felt real to me; or that felt familiar to me in a way that felt good.

I was raised in a home culture that was sort of a matriarchy. Outside of my nuclear family we had relatives in Ottawa and Montreal; all older women (my mom's mother and aunts primarily); and all super funny. From age 5 until my 20s I was exposed to women talking, women laughing, women sitting at the kitchen table whenever time permitted; smoking and drinking coffee and talking about everything from politics to gossip. Basically when I think about having a really good conversation with someone; in my life that person has been a woman; often a relative/sister/mom/cousin/aunt; often a friend, but usually a woman. I just feel like the quality of the conversation and humour are different with women. Of course there are rare male exceptions and I have had very affecting and important (to me) friendships with men. It just hasn't been the norm. I guess in some way; GG felt like home to me. Not sure how else to explain my obsession with in from age 15-through....well, now. It's also fucking funny. It's well written. Even the dumb stuff is awesome (the fashion; some of the silly premises etc). 

Ok, SATC. I hate that I feel a little sheepish about loving this show so much. There is truly, so much to love here! The writing was amazing, it blazed a trail in it's portrayal of women talking about sex; engaging in sex and; oh yeah relationships! The friendship between the women is written beautifully. THIS bunch of cosmo swilling, funny women is exactly what you and your friends feel like when you're shooting the shit on a night out (or in or whatever). The clothes are the fucking bomb, so shut up if you have some problem with the show sartorially. I feel like maybe the second film jumped the shark on this show and retroactively caused the show to stink or something? Don't get me wrong, I loved the second film too! I will probably agree with every criticism that could be levelled against it; and still love it. My partner cemented our bond by buying me every season and both films on dvd. He's never seen the show; I know he would hate it. It might be one of those shows that heterosexual men just don't get the decoder ring for. Or else it's straight up misogyny that prevents men from liking it. Just kidding! It strikes me as maybe the MOST quintessentially "women's" shows (well, say 'scripted' women's shows); and with that in mind I'm just really stoked that it's also so likeable. I may have to go watch all the episodes again soon. 
Oh where was I? Yes, it's RELATABLE. It's funny. It makes promiscuous sex! adventurous! Not lousy and regrettable; and allows watchers to reframe their own (lousy, regrettable) sex that way. Thanks SATC, I love you. I don't give a shit about all the haters who say GG and SATC became the same show, I say GOOD because they're both fucking awesome! 

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