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Tv dinners and fat closets. But where is MY show?

Posted in Things We Love, and Women's issues

sex_and_the_city_2_05For someone who professes not to watch much tv, my Sunday nights are now cannibalized by it. Even stranger because usually I watch any show I might be interested in either on demand or via streaming, without worrying about the time and day of broadcast. But there is something appealing about Sunday nights, an evening usually spent at home dreading the Monday alarm clock.

I will make some fancy tv dinner – my last effort was pasta with lobster, very decadent – set it on the coffee table and, at 8 pm, I will inaugurate the proceedings with “True Detective”, a dark police show featuring a still thin and slightly unhinged Matthew McConaughey and a not so sunny Woody Harrelson.

At 9 I will move over to Yorkshire and “Downton Abbey”, which I am still watching because it’s always fun to gawk at real life mansions and be plunged into obnoxiously precise Queen’s English, not because the plot is making any sense. And, finally, before going to bed, I will spend thirty minutes with “Girls”, a show that fascinates me on many levels.

Maggie Smith has all the best lines and many zingers that could be useful in everyday life
Maggie Smith has all the best lines and many zingers that could be useful in everyday life

“I can’t watch it. I just want to slap them all” was sofagirl’s horrified reaction when I confessed my admiration for Lena Dunham. But I think that’s the point of the show: a train wreck of entitled 20 somethings from a certain segment of the population, maybe a touch representative of so many youth who plod along without knowing what to do with their lives. Perhaps the show makes me feel grateful for having left youth behind.

There was a time when all I would watch was  “Sex and the City”, the single reason why I initially subscribed to HBO. Women of my generation navigated from our late 30s to our 40s while watching  “Sex and the City” and I am still upset at Carrie for passing over Mikhail Baryshnikov in favour of slimy Mr. Big.

When I catch the show on reruns on occasion, some of it feels a bit dated but quite a lot of the subject matter is still subject of conversation – from whether to dye one’s pubic hair to the relevance of oral sex. And then there are those impossibly fat closets and all those Manolo Blahniks that the writers never explained how a New York city columnist could possibly afford.

That skirt was adorable (if you have no hips)
That skirt was adorable (if you have no hips)

(Incidentally, Sarah Jessica Parker must have spotted a marketing opportunity and, possibly, a big cash cow, as she has teamed up with one of Manolo Blahnik’s designers to create her own SJP line of shoes which will retail between $200 and $500 at Nordstrom. Not exactly a bargain but in the realm of possibilities.)

As I watch Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa getting naked at the drop of a hat and going through the motions of the 20s’ sweet nothings, I wonder if they are going to graduate into their version of Carrie & co. How differently will they tackle sex, and worry about men and looks and life? The protagonists of Sex and the City mostly took their careers as a fait accompli, meaning they must have devoted some time to it during their 20s.

Where will they be in 30 years?
Where will they be in 30 years?

But last night, as I was washing the dishes after my tv marathon, I was struck by the thought that, as much as it doesn’t make any advertising sense, I would really like to see a show on women who have had a career, a lot of sex, maybe done the family thing and are now swimming in their 50s. How are they faring? How have they put their brains, their accomplishments and their failures to work? What do they wear? Who do they sleep with?

Netflix: are you listening here?

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10 Comments

  1. You got me once again: I am a huge fan of Lena Dunham and have been wanting to write about it for some time now. I will. I share all of your other tv passions.:)

    February 7, 2014
    |Reply
    • Curious to see what you think of Girls. As I said to Jackie, who I think is around your age, I am too far removed from that time of life to feel any empathy or even outrage. I can watch with detachment. But I think Ms. Dunham oozes talent – to be able to write like that at 25.

      February 8, 2014
      |Reply
  2. silvia
    silvia

    Thumbs up for Maggie, even though the show is becoming disappointing.
    Sex and the city … If it’s there I watch it and I have decided to forgive Carrie for choosing mr.big. Misha was too qualified for her likings.
    I can’t help but HAVE to stick to Grey’s anatomy, but we all have our dark sides, don’t we?

    February 6, 2014
    |Reply
    • I am so not judging. But I gave up on the hanky panky of those doctors after season 3!

      February 6, 2014
      |Reply
  3. Can’t help it, I too love the Sunday evening escapism. My line up: 60 Minutes, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Downton Abbey…make of it what you will. I think that mighty triumvirate just about covers all bases! I haven’t yet begun the latest season of Girls because the disfunction last season really did a number on me. Am I ready to go back in? Not sure, it’s like an abusive relationship! So much depressing sex. Some sex in my 20s was great fun!

    February 6, 2014
    |Reply
    • Maybe because I am more at a remove from that age group than you are, I can watch Girls without feeling the least bit connected. It’s just as cringeworthy as the original Office – you are sitting there marveling “Are they really going to do that???”. A bit of a train-wreck. Can’t look away. You have the Housewives in common with sofagirl so I will most certainly refrain from judging. As long as you get your news in…

      February 6, 2014
      |Reply
  4. Good point! I don’t watch much TV but I do love Downton, I watch on amazon prime. Id like if there was a show about someone who I could relate to though. You can only escape so much without seeing yourself reflected until you lose interest. I think we seek to identify with others to make sense of the world around us in a way. I don’t really identify with any tv characters currently. Maybe I would if I got premium cable to watch Girls!

    February 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • Don’t bother. Judging from how you come across on your blog, I think you would have a hard time identifying with Upper West Siders who flit about with no seeming purpose in life!

      February 5, 2014
      |Reply
  5. Jen
    Jen

    This post makes me both nostalgic for my old TV watching habits and happy I’ve let them go. When I moved out of the US, it wasn’t as easy to watch the shows i wanted when i wanted, not on the TV nor on streaming (Internet protocol issues). This led to less TV watching … and before I knew it, I didn’t miss it anymore. I do occasionally miss my old friends, though (the characters I used to love and relate to.)

    February 5, 2014
    |Reply
    • The thing about tv is that if it’s not there, it’s hard to miss. I could never do without books and probably even movies if I had to move somewhere with absolutely no tv. It’s true that it’s fun to connect with some tv shows but, aside from maybe the Sopranos (which I loved as a supreme specimen of writing) there isn’t much else I could live without. I spend entire evenings without even turning it on – but I do confess to bingeing on Netflix from time to time…

      February 5, 2014
      |Reply

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