Sex and the City should be a comic book.
Posted: May 26, 2010 Filed under: Commentary, Linking, Performance Fashion | Tags: girl power, sex and the city
Yesterday was “International Geek Pride Day” and I celebrated by window-shopping 5th Avenue and going to a press screening of Sex and the City 2. None of which sounds “mainstream geeky” but maybe the following suggestion will make up for it.
It was mid-way through the movie; the gals change into camel-riding-ready outfits (from Dior and Vuitton, of course) and they strut across the sand, a fearsome foursome if there ever was one. The wind made their outfits billow and Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda suddenly had a full-on cape. Later on Samantha makes an absolute spectacle of herself as only Samantha can. Shouting at a disapproving Middle Eastern crowd that she has sex and likes sex thank you very much she made it very clear that she will not be covered up or contained and she became a superhero for the covered up and contained women watching. Women who then took all four of our heroines behind closed doors and revealed their own secret identities (and designer outfits, of course). This is just begging to be a comic book.
When Marvel Divas came out it was marketed as a Sex and the City comic book. But it was marketed to comic book readers, not Sex and the City viewers — and while, contrary to popular belief, there is some overlap there, it was not the best marketing campaign. And it was far from the best comic. I don’t think they should try to recreate Sex and the City within the rigid structure of established comic book superhero characters. I think they should recreate Sex and the City AS a comic book. Carrie’s narration, the one-liners, the flashy and flashier outfits (a mask is part of more than one of Carrie’s get-ups in the film!) — all of this would translate easily and well to the medium. Think about it. Do you even know Big’s real name? It’s John, but where are people known by a catchy made-up name first and foremost? Comic books.
Sarah Jessica Parker described Sex and the City 2 as “a romp…a fun story that is also about something” and she is exactly right. The plot hinges on nearly unbelievable circumstances and the movie swings from somewhat serious to over-the-top camp but it works if you let go of any preconceived notions about how things “should” be. And that sentence could describe most, if not all, comic book films, as well as fantasy, science-fiction, and even straight action films. This is not real life. It’s not supposed to be.
Toward the end of the film there is an important scene between Carrie and Big. While I watched my eyes were drawn to their coffee table full of books including a hefty one by Lewis Carroll which I assume to be the Alice books. And from that my mind decided that the journey to the Middle East was Carrie and her friends’ trip down rabbit hole — and the film was the audience’s. It is whimsical, bright and colourful, nonsensical and magical. Playful. And then, underneath the parade of fashion, the dancing and the quips, and the sex and the city, there is a quiet and heartfelt message: there are many ways to be married, there are many ways to be happy, there are many ways to be pretty, there are many ways to be free, there are many ways to be heard, and there are many ways to be a woman. And all of them are valid. So let go of “should” and embrace who you are.
Sex and the City is not geeky the way Iron Man is not about girl power. But I dressed up as Black Widow to see Iron Man and I wore platform heels to see Sex and the City 2 despite knowing I’d be walking 26 city blocks twice to do it. I can and do engage with both. Why shouldn’t the female fantasy get a graphic novel, too?
For a more in depth review, Melissa Silverstein has posted her thoughts here. I agree with the sentiments of her review and I would like to thank her again for taking me along!