Friday, October 8

Season Two, Episode Sixteen: Was It Good For You?

The Summary:

Okay, so, to recap, since breaking up with Big [pauses for a moment to be smug that Carrie is, indeed, still broken up with Big], Carrie has dated 1) JON BON BLOODY JOVI (whom, it transpired, was an emotionally stunted sex addict--bummer), 2) The Beeper King from 30 Rock (whom, it transpired, had nothing of any interest whatsoever to say for himself--double bummer), and 3) an egomaniacal writer who had already played a different egomaniacal writer earlier in the series (whom, it transpired, was no more desirable in Season Two than he had been in Season One--triple bummer.)

So, continuing in the vein of dating undesirable gentleman, in this episode, Carrie commences dating Patrick, a recovering alcoholic whom his sponsor doesn't think is ready to date yet. Excellent, what could possibly go wrong there!

Lots of things, clever reader, as your sharp self will already be aware. Turns out, that Patrick rapidly becomes addicted to Carrie, compulsively insisting that they have sex morning, noon, and night. He also declares his love for her after they've known each other less than a month. I see. Nothing creepy there, then! Unsettled by this behavior, Carrie breaks up with him, which causes him to fall off the wagon, get blindingly drunk, and roam around her neighborhood sans pants. (Hmmm, not sure if that ranks above Soulless Jon Bon Jovi, or not.) Keep up the good work, Carrie! (And for the record, Patrick happily does get back into AA at the end of the episode. Keep up the good work, Patrick!)

Miranda... buys new sheets for her bed. Seriously, that is all she does. They are a pretty shade of peach, but... I still don't care. Apart from New Sheets Happiness, the only other thing going on in Hobbes Land is Miranda getting ritualistically humiliated at a tantric sex workshop at the end of the episode. Naturally. But we shall get to that anon, I can't quite face it yet.

So let's talk about Samantha first. Two of her friends, gay couple David and David, have decided they'd like to do a threesome with a woman, and ask Sam to be that very lass. Sam agrees, and all is going swimmingly until David and David come face to face (literally) with Sam's Lady Area, and decide that, on reflection, they would prefer not to proceed. Sam is humiliated, devastated, offended. Which is the only reason why she allows herself to get dragged to...

... the tantric sex workshop that Charlotte has signed herself and the other three ladies up for! See, Charlotte is dating a gent who fell asleep while they were having sex, and is freaking out about her (perceived lack of) sexual skills. As such, she signs up for the aforementioned workshop, handily entitled "How to Please a Man." Sigh. Of course it is. At the workshop, 1) Carrie and Samantha giggle ceaselessly, like sixth graders watching a sex ed video, 2) Charlotte intently scribbles pages and pages and pages of notes while wearing a very fetching HEADBAND, and 3) the workshop leader's husband, on whom she demonstrates some of the techniques, ejaculates in such a way that his gentlemanly essences end up all over Miranda. Oh, writers. You are so darned mean!!!

The Analysis:

Thank You, Samantha Jones, for Saying Exactly What I Was Thinking
: When Sam is telling Carrie about the proposed threesome with herself, David, and David, Carrie dismisses the idea as absurd and ridiculous, because, of course, gay men would never, ever in a million years have any interest in or desire for a woman. Listening to these declarations, Samantha tells Carrie, "You know, for a sex columnist, you have a very limited view of sexuality." Ding ding ding, I do believe we have a winner!

Carrie's flat, "people's desires remain flat and rigidly fixed along the lines of sexual orientation, which, yes, I know is actually socially constructed rather than defined in absolute and unchanging terms which remain constant across all eras and cultures, but I DON'T CARE, GAY IS GAY" deserves a little bit of pushback here, and I am glad that Sam does, indeed, push back against it. Because, as we shall see more of anon, Carrie does, indeed, have a very limited view of sexuality--the episode where she dismisses bisexuality as an annoying trend indulged in by bored youngsters being one particularly grating example. [Grinds teeth together in a un-dentist-approved way at the mere memory/in anticipation of same.]

Of course, the episode does ultimately side with Carrie on this one--it's Carrie, who asserts that gay men will inevitably be repelled by the female body BECAUSE THAT'S JUST HOW ALL GAY MEN ARE, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, rather than Samantha, who makes the case for the potential fluidity of human sexuality, who wins out in the end. Because, of course, the Davids are turned off the whole idea of sleeping with Sam the instant they see her vagina.

Now, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with the Davids deciding that they don't want to go through with the threesome/deciding once they got into it that they were all for the fantasy of sleeping with a lady, but not the reality. But I am a leetle disappointed that the writers chose to go this "eeeewww, lady parts!" route. Maybe I've just read too many Dan Savage columns where he goes on and on about how gross vaginas are, and how gay men are waaaaaay too smart to get anywhere near one of those suckers. (So that's good, giving, game, and vagina-phobic, Mr. Savage? Good, glad we cleared that up.)

I also wish that the writers hadn't reinforced the whole "yes, Carrie is right, people's sexual desires inevitably remain firmly fixed in place throughout their entire lifetimes, without fail and without exception, and if you think otherwise, then you deserve to be humiliated" idea. Boo, I say, and additionally--hiss.

LGBT Folks Watch: So of course, David and David are gay. ("Gay as pink suede," as Carrie puts it which... for the love of Pete. Give yourself a time out, Ms. Bradshaw. Go sit in the corner with your dunces' cap on, facing the wall.) And though I'm a little troubled by the "eeeewww, girls' girl parts are GROSS" angle of their storyline, on the whole, I think the writers do a decent job with the Davids. They're clearly a couple who communicate well with and respect one another--they are never anything less than loving with, attentive to, and thoughtful concerning, one another. I'll take it!

"How to Please Your Man," This Almost Isn't Worth Writing About, It is So Blatantly Annoying Watch: So, at the end of the episode, we see Charlotte putting her new tantric skills into operation on her "I Swear I Only Closed My Eyes for a Minute, I Wasn't So Much Asleep as I Was Resting" lover. He is made very happy. Charlotte is made very happy, too... by watching him be made very happy. What about her own sexual satisfaction, you ask? Ummmm... who cares? She has learned to please her man, and surely for the ladies, this is pleasure enough. [Wraps self up in a warm, fleecy blanket for comfort, in the face of this cold, cruel world.]

Maybe Not All Middle-Aged People Are Repulsive Individuals Who Should Remain Celibate Regardless of Whether or Not They Wish to Do So Watch: So you may recall that a couple of episodes ago, I found it rather distasteful that the writers implied that the idea of middle-aged people who were not perfectly toned and conventionally gorgeous being sexual beings was, like, totally icky. It seems that they heard me (um, from the year 2000, somehow...), because the couple who run the tantric sex workshop are middle-aged... an attractive pair, but not implausibly, Hollywood-ly type stunning, and they clearly still have a happy and active sex life. (I could wish that same was not happening all over Miranda, but still, on the whole... I'll take it!)

Next Up...?: "Twenty-Something Girls vs. Thirty-Something Women" which, as a woman of 29, I am quite simply refusing to take sides on. I have enjoyed being a twenty-something (ahem) girl, and look forward to being a thirty-something woman. I'm so neutral I might as well be Switzerland, me!


  1. caelizabeth702 [at] gmail.comOctober 9, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Loving this! Just found your blog through your link on feministing community - I look forward to going back and reading your other entries. I remember watching SATC religiously at the time until I was increasingly more troubled by it, but it was always a mix of feminist/anti-feminist/gray area things - really enjoyed this entry, thanks

  2. Thank you so much for your comment, and for reading the blog! That was exactly my experience watching the show - always seeing an uneasy blend of surprisingly feminist (for such a mainstream, popular show) ideas, and really upsetting anti-feminist ideas. (Often in same episode.) And I think you're quite right that in many ways the show gets increasingly troubled as it goes on... certainly by the time we get to the movies... it's pretty darned bad! Thanks again for reading!