Thursday, March 29, 2012

A "Female-Driven" Debate: The Analysis of Culture Phenomena

In a far-from-recent interview with Marc Cherry, he stated that there will be no Desperate Housewives movie, wryly commenting that he will "not be sending these girls to Dubai". This is an obvious jab at the infamous Sex and the City movies, particularly the second one where the four girls, indeed, travel to the Middle East on a fairy-tale getaway. But it was Abu Dhabi. Get it correctly. What I find curious is that Marc Cherry is actually comparing his four girls to Darren Star's four girls. Does Cherry think Lynette and Miranda are based off of one another? Just a little food for thought. And now, the following is my own comparison of the two shows starring four sexy women. A feast for the mind, if you will. Let's begin with each show's overall momentum.

Desperate Housewives - What started out as an incredibly decent, even excellent, show transformed into an unbearably awful mess of junk. Yeah, that's right. The general public, I'm sure, agrees with this description of the show's major downfall from one of the best shows on the air to something desperate for viewers. (Pun.) While my dad an I find ourselves more amused by the ridiculous antics of the show (what we refer to as "Sex and the City torture"), the majority of people do not. So, I bring up the subject of momentum. It started strong, a fresh witty show that combines mystery and comedy. Then, it evolved, or rather degraded, into a beyond-corny, soap opera-status thing of television. This change did not happen overnight, oh no. It occurred during the sixth season, when the plot lost intrigue and they brought in Renee. (That was actually in the seventh season, but it definitely contributed to the show's downfall.) We are now in season eight. Therefore, Marc Cherry had plenty of opportunities to, shall we say, pull the plug on this already-rotting show. However, the show continues. (And they just killed a major character. Score.)

Sex and the City - I just finished watching the entire series a few weeks ago, and I have to say it was a good thing they ended it there. Smart move by the writers. (Cough, Marc Cherry, cough, should learn a thing or two here, cough.) Anyway, by this point, Carrie Bradshaw seems to have run out of those so-called witty insights she's always bragging about--in fact, near the end, she appears to be even more conceited about her "genius" than before, when there may have been something interesting to read. By the last two seasons, she is completely and utterly revolting in her personality, but that's a topic we will cover in just a moment. The fifth season was where the show began to display signs of depreciation and overall awfulness (which delighted my dad and I, of course), but surely it disappointed viewers. In fact, that season was the worst-received one out of the entire show. But that didn't stop Darren Star from extending it to one more season. Unlike Desperate Housewives, however, that final season tied up the loose ends of the show, and they concluded on a high note, so to speak.

Next, the characters.

If you haven't read my colossal post on Desperate Housewives, you really should because I explain and analyze every character there. But, for your sake, I will give you an overview. I will, also, give the character's Sex and the City counterpart, just for kicks. Susan Mayer (Carrie Bradshaw) is a clumsy-but-in-a-cute-way, supposedly-famous children's book illustrator whose relationship with men is domestic yet tiring to watch. Lynette Scavo (Miranda Hobbes) is a lackadaisical mother of five who is "always right" and just loves to insult another person then apologize for it later, expecting it to be accepted. Bree Van De Kamp (Charlotte York) is the ideal mother/wife/woman who has a dark past and can be quite disagreeable when it comes to certain decisions. Gabrielle Solis (Samantha Jones, I suppose) is a selfish, rather dim diva whose wardrobe is packed with designer clothes that are questionable as to how she afforded them. (That is rather Carrie-esque, actually, but we cannot have two Carries. Chaos.) A comparison of the characters of each show is inconsequential, for every show's characters are different from one another. Regardless of whether there is a purpose for this or not, I shall continue.

I would have to say that there is a little bit of Carrie Bradshaw in all these Housewives, especially now in this horrible season, because they all, at one time or another, make ridiculous mistakes that they merely say they're sorry about. Sometimes, they expect an apology from the injured party! Lynette and Miranda are very much alike, in my eyes, for they both dress like they don't care for their image, they are both workaholics (according to the show's story lines), and they are awkward when handling their kids. Yes, despite Lynette's constant self-labeling of "great mother", she can be quite a horrendous one. Why, just recently, when her two eldest sons came home, she blockaded the door with all her might. Some parental affection, that is. Bree and Charlotte are, also, very similar, for obvious reasons of pristine appearance and overall courteousness. They share aggravating qualities, as well, such as when Bree sent her adoring husband, Orson to prison for running over Mike Delfino (that's not how he died, by the way). In a less severe way, Charlotte practically destroyed her perfect marriage with Trey by violating MacDougal traditions and wanting to adopt a Mandarin baby. Coincidentally, Orson and Trey were both played by Kyle MacLachlan. Gaby and Samantha really are not all that alike, for Gaby is more concerned with material possessions (like Carrie), while Samantha is all about sex. And do not compare that vulgar Samantha with Edie Britt, who was possibly one of the best characters on the show until that damn Marc Cherry went and electrocuted her. Unlike Samantha, Edie had keen sense on life, aside from her delusional experience with Carlos, and she did not go around shagging men as often as Ms. Jones. Oh, and Edie looks much more attractive, at her age. Much better.

Onto the overview of the ladies of Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw. Where does one even begin with this remarkable character? I mean remarkable in the sense that she is so unbelievable, so preposterous, that it's a wonder how women actually idolize her. Women actually purchase and wear, with pride, that ridiculous "Carrie" necklace that she so often fashions. As for her general wardrobe, I hesitate in even calling it that, for it is more like a mess of glitter, fluff, and tutus. Her whole outfit-spectrum is way off, matching gold boots with white capris and a purple striped top. That's just an example, there are many more instances of her awful fashion sense, or rather a lack of one. But enough about her "style".
As a person, if one prefers to call her that, Carrie Bradshaw is an absolutely terrible thing of nature. To immediately support such a bold statement, an anecdote: When the four ladies are at the same cheap cafe they always go to, one of them (that's not Carrie) is in the middle of a story about what happened to them previously in the episode. Then, all of a sudden, Carrie jumps in and starts talking about herself! And her friends don't even call her out for it! Imagine you're with your friends, telling them how your day went, and suddenly one of them says, "Right, well speaking of erotic nightmares..." What would you do in that situation? Your topic of conversation has not been resolved to its own momentum yet, everyone was still listening to you. So, if one of your so-called friends made such an ignorant gesture, wouldn't you respond by saying something? It is just so aggravating that Carrie gets away with such obnoxious audacity every single time she does it. (There was one chance occasion when Carrie brought bagels to Miranda because she was sick just so she could bitch about her relationship issues. Miranda, for a fleeting moment, became my hero by telling Carrie: "You know what, this is bullshit!" Sadly, this was temporary, and Carrie continued her self-absorbed account.) This habit of blatantly interrupting people, her friends no less, really defines Carrie, as that is exactly who she is: conceited, selfish, and an overall bitch. Seriously, every time she pulls these sorts of stunts, I shout at the projector screen, "Bitch!" Juvenile, I'm aware. As I wrap up this lengthy rant, grunting in a frustrated manner as I do so, I'd just like to say that it is truly appalling to know that thousands of women look up to her. Simply appalling.

The other ladies of the show are not all that impressive as the former fine specimen. Miranda Hobbes is your average somewhat-irritating feminist, perking up whenever an inappropriate comment is made towards women and acting as if her appearance isn't everything. At times, I find myself liking her as a character, compared to Carrie and Samantha, of course. Her relationship with Steve Brady is existent throughout the show, starting in the second season. I should say Shteeve Brady because that's how he says it. ("Hey Murandah. It's me, Shteeve.") I must say, considering that I admire Miranda just a tad, my respect really drops when she's with Shteeve. He's so whiny and clingy and obnoxiously childish. And short. Really short. The two of them have an awkward relationship, yet it somehow works, even in my eyes.

Charlotte York is the absolute ideal woman, much like Bree Van De Kamp: polite, classic style (unlike Carrie), traditional in terms of values (unlike her friends), and, most of all, the prettiest one of the group. While I don't usually coin the term "pretty", it certainly fits her as she is absolutely adorable. Of course, as I've said previously, she's made some mistakes, primarily with her first husband, Trey. Perhaps the show's creator wanted Charlotte to break out of her 1950s shell, as well as the housewife standard that goes along with it, and defy tradition that calls for a wife to be eternally obedient and loving of her husband. That's what I believe in anyway. I'm not condoning total enslavement to your husband, but I wouldn't want to completely harness his genitals, so to speak in Samantha-vernacular. Overall, Charlotte is just lovely.

Samantha Jones is, shall we say, a bit of a sex addict. That was a humorous understatement. I hope you enjoyed it. Throughout the show, she's slept with countless masses of men in a wild, pompous manner. (Really? It's that good you have to scream?) In addition to that, she is incredibly tacky in terms of fashion, branding such accessories as huge Chanel-logo earrings. (They took the cake. Meaning they were the highlight which defines Ms. Jones.) She is a supposedly successful publicity agent, as she so often brags about being the fucking best in the business, who represents the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw. (What does she need publicity for? Her column? Okay.) In later seasons, she finally gets a second client, a hot waiter named Smith Jerrod, and brings him to Bradley Cooper-fame. And she sleeps with him as well. Like Carrie, Samantha thinks enormously high of herself, yet somehow it suits her. Perhaps it is because she is such a large lioness of a woman, both physically and socially? Perhaps her socialite accent allows her to do so? Either way, I'm not justifying it, for I find it almost (but not nearly) as annoying as Carrie. Despite my acidic description, I must admit that she may have the most common sense out of all of these brauds. Despite that minor compliment, I still find her utterly repulsive.

To wrap this delusion of a debate up, each female-oriented series has a certain something that makes it unique within itself. Sex and the City did initiate a shock wave in entertainment, bringing amusing and even taboo subjects above the prudish standards owned previously by media, and also lifted women into key roles and allowed them to express themselves freely. At times, that fearless expression can bring horror to the eyes of sane viewers, such as myself. (I really did not need to see Miranda flash her boob. That goes for the rest of the flashers out there.) Regardless of my biased view, the show did make a mark, and is even compared to by other television shows after its time. Shows such as Desperate Housewives. That series, however, was a show all on its own, in the beginning at least. It was a refreshing comedy-mystery that truly intrigued its many viewers, and brought to us, really, a cultural phenomenon. While the show may now be remembered as the show that ended sourly stale, or the show where Nicollette Sheriden valiantly sued against Marc Cherry for wrongful termination (I just had to bring that one up), there is a tiny fragment in my memory of when it was at its best. That's something.

I'd just like to point out something. In a more-recent interview with Marc Cherry, in Entertainment Weekly, the man said, and I quote: [to ABC] "I know that you guys don't like to say goodbye to a show before its time, but I'm telling you that eight seasons of Desperate Housewives is enough." I included the italics, for that one phrase was so amusing to me. The fact that Marc Cherry genuinely believes the show was good up until just now, that's simply baffling to me. What delusion.

What started as a minor comment in an article turned into my own intrinsic analysis of each show, pointing out similarities as well as an overall review for both. That just shows the endless bounds of my curious mind, eternally analyzing the most interesting of observations. That was an attempt to sound insightful. Was it a success?

1 comment:

  1. I watched all of Sex and the City, but I skipped Desperate Housewives this year as it is up against The Good Wife--no choice there. I never really identified with any of the characters, but Bree is my favorite of them all.