the opinions of an occasionally sane man

Sex and the City
and the Corruption
by Nicholas Bhasin

"I feel my father’s generational shock creeping into my head."



As a single, twenty-something man living in New York City, I know exactly what women want and need. Before you disagree, keep in mind that I don’t date regularly and I’m still hung up on the first girl I had sex with. Now what do you think?

Well, if you’re like me, and you must be, you think that the women of New York City are in trouble. Not in King Kong kind of trouble. I’m talking about Television Trouble (also known as Tele-Trouble, also known as Teleble, also known as Tuble). It’s like Tuble is some kind of large, hairy animal that’s got a tight grip on New York womanhood and is climbing to the top of the tallest building in the city and then making love to it in a non-threatening way that other people on the ground don’t understand.

It’s easy to say that television sucks and is destroying the country. What’s difficult is narrowing it down to one specific half hour. I wouldn’t recommend that the common philistine on the street attempt this. But I’m a journalist.

" to hardcore pornography..."


I spotted the latest plague on womanhood on HBO and not on the WB, as you might have imagined. No, you have to pay extra to have your mind appropriately numbed these days. I’m talking about Sex and the City, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who was great in… Dudley Doright, I guess, and Kim Catrall, who was great in Mannequin, and two other equally bland women named Heather, or Jenny, or Dumb, I can’t remember. These women talk about everything from sex to hardcore pornography. And my goodness, the complicated relationships they get themselves into! Kim sleeps with the man Jenny’s in love with. Then Heather throws a party and they all show up. And Sarah’s trying to quit smoking. And Dumb gets braces so she can’t give blowjobs anymore! Oh, sex in the new millennium is so complicated!

What’s truly complicated is the fact that the show is, at best, a soul-corrupting sinkhole that lures the emotionally dead and/or unimaginative, and yet manages to suck in an alarming number of women. And if nothing is done, the show will just suck and suck and continue to suck until we’re all idiots.

I don’t think it’s fair to accuse a show of trying to portray and represent the lifestyle of any specific demographic. Stories are stories and they must, as stories do, come from someone’s unique perspective. But the women who told me that they loved Sex in the City said that they liked it so much because they could relate to the characters in some way.

So I would have to guess that Sex in the City owes a great deal of its success to its portrayal of real women. Now, I’m not a woman… probably, but if this show is going to represent women, then it should do a better job of covering its bases. There’s Sarah Jessica Parker, the narrator and conflicted know-it-all who wraps everything up in an irritating, obvious lesson, the brunette, who’s cute and transparent, the lawyer redhead, who’s a lot more pale than the others, but gets the same amount of sex (only in Hollywood!), and Kim Catrall, the slut. I’ve got a problem with labeling each one of the four friends in a different, stereotypical way, because one could definitely make the argument that they’re all sluts. But for the sake of identification (and hilarity), we’ll refer to them differently.

Where are all the other different kinds of New York women that the show leaves out? I’m not talking about the women who weigh more than 90 pounds and don’t dress like fashion models, or the women who don’t have sex every half hour with strangers, or even the women who aren’t as white as rice. I’m talking about hot women truck drivers who kick ass during the day, and haul it at night. Yes, women truck drivers in New York City who operate big rigs in bikinis and shower themselves in beer. You know who I’m talking about. They’re out there, and they feel excluded.

I’m not one of those guys who like to pigeonhole entertainment into gender-restricted categories. As far as I’m concerned, Fried Green Tomatoes isn’t a chick flick, and Con Air isn’t a guy…fly (I’m not aware of the corresponding slang for testosterone fueled action movies). A story is a story. And if it’s well done, how could it be for only one group of people? Why wouldn’t I enjoy a movie like Fried Green Tomatoes if it were good? Why can’t a woman enjoy Con Air? Of course, a woman can’t enjoy Con Air. Neither can a man. Nor should they. It’s stupid. There’s nothing interesting about it and the money to make it should have been used to feed hungry children, and probably the stars of Sex and the City, when you come right down to it. Fried Green Tomatoes is a decent movie, and I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than Con Air. But I’m a man! Oh, no, your world is being turned upside down! The basic principles of life no longer make sense to you! Black is white! White is black! What does it mean to be attractive!?!



The bottom line is that I don’t dislike Sex and the City just because I’m a man. If anything, I would enjoy it even more because it could be exposing me to a world I know nothing about. Except it doesn’t. It reinforces stereotypes and sheds no new light on the dating/relationship experience. One could argue that it realistically portrays the complexities of love and sex. But the most complex issue these women face is which man, of the thousands lined up on Central Park West, to pick to have sex with. I wish I had those kinds of complex problems. In the episode I saw, Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t know whom she should be with. The nice, dirty hippie who takes care of her and loves her. Or the blue-blooded pig that she has sex with on the side. There’s an annoying voice-over to go along with her struggle and if you’ve ever considered killing a man, this would put you over the edge. Her voice-overs are probably the worst thing about the show, besides the fact that there isn’t nearly enough nudity. Here’s an example: "I thought that sleeping with both of these guys, as well as all the guys I slept with on my jog around Washington Square Park this morning, would help me figure things out. But it didn’t. It only confused me more. I don’t know what to do. I’m hiply self-absorbed and ever so rich." Then she has sex with someone and writes her stupid column about it.


"Brilliantly postmodern perhaps..."





I’ve never been considered old-fashioned. Brilliantly postmodern perhaps, but never old fashioned. And yet, when I watch this show, I feel my father’s generational shock creeping into my head. I find myself thinking, "Good Lord, these women are constantly dressed like prostitutes. And they certainly have enough sex. What the hell is going on with the world?"

Who knows? But I know that Sex and the City has something to do with it. Sex and the City and inexplicably trendy scooters.


please email ducts with your comments