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The Last Thing You’ll Ever Have to Read about “Sex and The City”

Posted on Saturday, May 31st 2008

By Richard Laermer, Guest Author

Arthur Harris of the Royal Air Force is often credited as the innovator of carpet bombing during World War Two, which was a tactic used to achieve the complete destruction of a target region and demoralization of its residents. When the head of marketing at New Line Cinema sends out his next batch of thank you cards, he may wish to extend special consideration to the Harris family.

The most wonderful part about “Sex and the City” having just opened is that it won’t be able to open in two weeks. Or three. Or ever again. This ensures that the period between this movie’s premiere and the world’s end is as long as possible, giving us slightly more time to make new friends and begin new hobbies that have absolutely nothing to do with catty puns and Jimmy Choos.

It may be oh so hard to imagine, but there will be a moment next Sunday evening when the weekend’s box office report comes out and brief discussion regarding how well “Sex” performed . . . and it’ll be the last significant press mention of this thing called “Sex and the City: The Movie.” Forever. At some point the DVD will come out and we’ll see a whole wad of be TV spots.

Next winter some hipster doofus comedian will suggest that it deserves Oscar buzz. Down the road Cynthia Nixon will star in a play or do another turn as Eleanor Roosevelt, and an interviewer will ask whether there’s been any talk of the “SATC” sequel (unless, of course, the new film ends with the four leads drowned in the Hudson, which, while unlikely, would certainly prolong the publicity agony), and she’ll parry in a calculated way that possibility has been left open but who knows right.

But the nightmarish blitzkrieg we’ve withstood will be over. It has to be right…

The attention paid to the movie version of a premium cable sitcom whose audience amounted to a flattened speck on “Two and a Half Men”‘s windshield is staggering. It’s gotten to the point where there are now magazine covers devoted not to the movie itself but to the BACKLASH it’s generated. Plenty of flicks arrive with 90% of the public expecting them to suck. “Speed Racer” and the forthcoming second original “Hulk” movie spring to mind. So does virtually every other dusty television program revived by desperate Hollywood producers, from “The Dukes of Hazzard” to . . . well, I guess “Speed Racer” is still on my mind. Yet those usually flop due to indifference. Sex and the City, for whatever reason, does not engender apathy. It polarizes. Its arrival is anticipated either with unfettered joy or unvarnished disgust. It’s like Fahrenheit 9/11 with a different variety of bush jokes.

It’s unbearably tough to understand how it reached this plateau. Chick flicks are, of course, somewhat divisive and enjoyed by I’d say about half of Americans. But not really in a way so different from horror flicks or action movies or teen comedies or any other genre designed specifically for a demographic. And even hugely hyped chick flicks with well-established source material (“The Devil Wears Pravda?,” “The Sisterhood of the Stained Pants?”) tend to be loved by many while ignored by the rest. Alas, something about “Sex/ City,” so it appears, is making people freak out on a scale I’ve never seen before.

Yes, the series was a big hit. It was frank about coitus and had a lot of dick lines and toys and ball-pulling and those men the gals dated were hilarious caricatures. It embodied a certain fantasy version of Manhattan that appealed both to New Yorkers’ narcissism and those widened Kansan eyes. But it was only around a few years—and poof was gone (not meant to be a gay joke). And it’s been gone for a while—except on TBS and horribly edited syndicated blocks. This movie storyline feels better suited or a two-hour block on HB0 on July 4th weekend.

Yet here we are, watching as it gets attention (the good and the bad) that expected big summer blockbuster sequels are handed. It’s spoken about in sentences with Mr. Indiana Jones, who left fans decades ago and wouldn’t deign to work except on the big screen! Credit the film marketers and the celeb publicists and the fabulous stylists who fomented all the negative and positive energy surrounding “Sex and the City” into a promotional campaign that far outpaces its original appeal and subtler sensibility. Then after we give them all this credit let’s agree to stop – starting right now, with this blog post – covering it in our blogs, our articles, our conversations, our minds. It is beginning to feel like the season’s other unrealistic escapist romp with another female lead.

And yep, Hillary is wearing sensible shoes.

–For more likeminded stories, see www.Laermer.com, and buy the new book “2011: Trendspotting” – at yeahwhatever.com!

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