Wednesday, August 4

Season One, Episode Nine: The Turtle and the Hare

Or, What, They Couldn’t Have Shot the Sex Shop Scene in a Nice Feminist Joint Like Babeland? No?

The Summary: This is the very first episode in the series where the ladies attend a wedding. The wedding episodes are always entertaining, I think, unlike the bloody awful weddings in the bloody awful movies, which--yikes (see: Carrie wearing a blue bird on her head in one, and Stanford baffledly marrying a guy he doesn’t even like in two.) Said wedding is the wedding of a lass named Brooke, to some nebbishy bloke it quickly becomes apparent she does not love. (Brooke, on why she is settling into a loveless marriage—after losing the illusion of Great Love, she says, you “just want a man who can throw around a Frisbee.” Sweet cracker sandwich, I hope she didn’t say that in their wedding vows!)

This wedding, as weddings are wont to do, stirs up some interesting events and conversations. Carrie, in talking to Big about marriage/why people get married/what marriage means, learns from him that he plans on never getting married again. As in… ever. So, can a lass date a man who’ll never get married? Carrie eventually decides that she can’t, that doing so is pointless, because she thinks she actually does want to get married someday—realizations which she proceeds to share with Big. Upon hearing said realizations, he fobs her off by making vague pronouncements about how “it’s all about the timing” and he “thought we were having fun.” Ah, I can’t see any trouble ahead there at all, what with an evasive gent dodging a lady’s questions about his potential incapacity to make a long-term commitment to her which she clearly desires! What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, Stanford, rejected by yet another bloke (awwww… poor Stanford!) tries to talk Carrie into entering into a marriage of convenience with him, so that he can at least get his hands on the family inheritance he will receive only after getting hitched. (Stanford’s proposal to Carrie: “Who else would keep you in expensive shoes, and encourage you to cheat?”—the words every girl dreams of hearing!) Carrie declines this offer, shockingly, since she is quite capable of keeping herself in expensive shoes and (as we shall see anon) of cheating, even without Stanford’s help!

And what of The Ladies? Miranda is obsessed with a new vibrator she has purchased, the Rabbit. She talks Charlotte into buying one for herself (Charlotte, in the sex toy shop, fingering the Rabbit: “I thought it would be scary and weird, but it’s pink… for girls!”), which quickly turns Charlotte into a recluse who refuses human company. Of course, this clearly happens all the time. They keep putting that on the warning labels (“Caution: May Cause the User to Eschew Human Contact for Long Periods”) but will the silly womenfolk listen? Nooooo. In the end, Carrie and Miranda have to stage a “vibrator intervention” and take the Rabbit away from Charlotte just to get her out of the house. Because if she kept it, you see, she’d never date again! Of course, that seems perfectly logical. A + B = Huh???

Samantha ends up dating an undesirable gentleman she meets at Brooke’s wedding, whose nickname is the Turtle (for no other reason but that the writers wanted to call this episode “The Turtle and the Hare,” one suspects)—she doesn’t even like the Turtle, but he paid attention to her and complimented her when she was down in the dumps about being discarded by another bloke, and so—date him she does! She tries to “fix” the Turtle, who is unstylish, has wretched breath, and is as boring as the dickens—she gets him nice clothes, fresh breath—but eventually dumps him, because it turns out that even wearing a nice suit and armed with breath mints, he is still as boring as the dickens! Unlike Brooke, it seems, Sam wants more from a guy than knowing which end is up on a Frisbee.

The Analysis:

Charmless Sizeism and Ageism Watch: The “undesirable” singles table which the women end up sitting at Brooke’s wedding is marked as undesirable, of course, by virtue of the fact that it is populated by the elderly and a fat lady. For who would ever wish to sit next to such people, I ask you???

Maybe Entering Into a Loveless Marriage Isn’t Such a Good Idea, After All Watch: One of the thrusts of this episode, I think, is to consider whether or not Brooke is right when she says that it’s better to marry someone “who loves you more than you love them,” to get married purely for the sake of companionship, and so on, and so forth. And happily, the episode comes down against settling in such a sad and distasteful way. (Well done, episode!) Samantha is not going to settle for the boring Turtle just because she wants male attention. Charlotte is not going to settle for the Rabbit when what she wants is a relationship with an actual person. [At this juncture, stifles the desire to type “THOUGH SHE COULD ACTUALLY HAVE BOTH, YOU KNOW, SATC WRITERS” in all capitals. Or rather… tries to stifle said desire.] Carrie is not going to settle either for chastely marrying her gay best friend or silently accepting her lover’s pronouncements about never getting married again, when she herself may want to get married, one day. No settling aplenty! Excellent.

Vibrators as Pathetic Man Substitutes Watch:

Pro: This episode vividly brings forward the fact that sex toys are ridiculously overpriced.

Con: This episode makes it painfully clear that sex toys are even more ridiculously overpriced now than they were in 1998. Yeouch.

Pro: This episode duly notes that some ladies enjoy vibrators. (In Charlotte’s case… a LOT.)

Con: This episode hints that so enjoyable are vibrators, that they may ruin the ladies for sex with the gentlemen. (Does one’s liking of Paris ruin one for London? Does one’s enjoyment of cupcakes ruin one for ice cream? I think not. But to continue.)

Pro: But… Miranda seems okay using a vibrator! It hasn’t turned her into a hermit or a freak! Ha HA! Take THAT, cons!

Con: But… Miranda at this point in the series is represented as rather bitter, jaded, and skeptical about the viability of relationships with men. The result of excessive vibrator use? I THINK IT MIGHT BE.

Pro: Kind of nice to see conservative Charlotte gleefully embracing the Land of Sex Toys, though, isn’t it?

Con: But… (lest we forget) the episode does end with her forever forswearing said Land and said Sex Toys, so that she can go and find herself a fella instead. Huh. Point to the cons, I think!

Notable Quotables: Carrie, on her decision to keep seeing Big despite the semaphore-like red flags being waved frantically about in all directions: “My Zen teacher said the only way to true happiness is to live in the moment and not worry about the future. Of course, he died penniless and single.”

Charlotte, on why, in the end, she is picking men over The Rabbit: “A vibrator does not call you on your birthday, a vibrator does not send you flowers the next day, and you can’t take a vibrator home to meet your mother.”

Next Up…?: “The Baby Shower,” in which the ladies attend… what do you think now?


  1. Ah, but like you said: that was 1998. This is 2010. If plants can tweet when they need water, surely we can make a vibrator that calls you on your birthday, a vibrator that sends you flowers the morning after.

    As for taking your vibrator home to meet your mom ... that really just depends on the mom, doesn't it?

  2. Oh my goodness, I sadly think that I need that tweeting plant technology! Perhaps that way I wouldn't kill quite so many? But then again, if they learn to communicate that well, how long is it before they gain other human-like abilities, and kill me in the night, as I sleep? Vengeance for the years of neglect!

    Hmmm, you've given me much vibrator-food-for-thought, Ms. J... some inventor could get very wealthy off of your innovations...

  3. LOL. This was funny! Very entertaining entry.

    Yeah, I've seen a lot people do the "settling" thing. I think it's sad the lengths that women will go to just so they won't be "alone". I think it's a shame that people don't seem to get that being alone is okay. I always believed the saying, "better to be by yourself, than in bad company."

    Anyways, ah yes, sex toys, I can go on and on about that but I won't. What I will say is yes, of course, you can be in a relationship AND enjoy your toys too. Better yet, you can enjoy them together. Two people = a bigger toy collection

    I like how you seem very neutral on many of these subjects even if it was maybe something you wouldn't do yourself. Very non-judgemental. Very cool.

    and I love the above comments! lol, Jen I think you are onto something...

  4. Thank you so very much, Ms. C, to have my e-mail inbox alert me that there is a new comment awaiting me from an extraordinary book reviewer, this always brightens my day!

    I hate the judge-y tone which creeps into some of the SATC episodes (i.e., "that's all very well and good for YOU to do, but since I am not slutty/messed-up/weird, I will not be doing what YOU do.") They manage to avoid such pitfalls a good bit of the time, so when they fall into one - it upsets me. Glad I seem to have avoiding slipping into Judgmental Quicksand thus far!