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Sex and the City & Genre Bending

Wow, I totally forgot that I transcribed this sitcom dialogue a year ago.

Manohla Dargis on the movie:

I guess size does matter after all, if not in the way that the sex-addled Samantha might assume. On television and in tasty 30-minute bites, the show “Sex and the City” managed to entertain and sometimes even enthrall with self-consciously glib morality stories about love and desire in the modern world. Everything scaled nicely to television’s modest dimensions, from Ms. Parker’s Cubistic face to Patricia Field’s costumes. Kooky and at times insanely unflattering, the clothes caught your eye instantly, directing your attention to the itty-bitty figures, exactly what they were supposed to do. But those same loud outfits, mugging faces and picayune dramas just don’t translate when blown up on a movie screen, which makes all that small-screen stuff seem even punier.

There was something seductive about the bubble world that the show created back in 1998, in the fantasy that all you needed to make it through the rough patches were good friends and throwdown heels. That was a beautiful lie, as the show acknowledged in its gently melancholic return in the wake of Sept. 11. Back in Season 3 Carrie asked, “Are we getting wiser, or just older?” The ideal, of course, is to do both. There is something depressingly stunted about this movie; something desperate too. It isn’t that Carrie has grown older or overly familiar. It’s that awash in materialism and narcissism, a cloth flower pinned to her dress where cool chicks wear their Obama buttons, this It Girl has become totally Ick.

I realize that Dargis is just showing off her talents here, but what is wrong with genre bending every so often? Occasionally it’s good to see 30 minute episodes go to 90. Last year they had a one hour episode of Office (actually 46 minutes), and I realized how different it felt to watch it. It felt more serious and more character-centered, whereas for the 23 minute episodes it’s just a lot of Office gossip humor.

Jumping to the silver screen is of course a way to cash in on a trend from elsewhere, and more power for people to try it (at least someone is making money these days). Perhaps this move was motivated purely out of greed, but I’d like to think the writers want to try something different — even if it fails.

For other shows that do a lot of genre-bending, try the Drew Carey Show and (surprisingly)….King of the Hill.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • BillyB 6/5/2008, 3:43 pm

    “I realized how different it felt to watch it. It felt more serious and more character-centered” – you know i get the same feeling when I watch those TV shows they put to disc. Very concentrated and no interruption’s – its like a movie, Case in point Seinfeld / Arrested Development

  • Alexander 8/16/2008, 4:14 am

    The TV serial was much better! I have slept most part of the movie 🙂

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