Okay, so, as the title may have already suggested to you--this episode features the ladies going on a road trip, away from their beloved NYC. (Or at least... the non-married ladies. Sorry, Charlotte!) A production company is considering optioning Carrie's columns, to transform them into a film (trust me, y'all, turning SATC into a movie or movies... bad. Idea), and want to fly her out to L.A. to discuss it. Miranda and Samantha tag along, and as you can imagine... hijinx ensue! And so... to those hijinx let us now turn!
Though I guess, if I am going to be perfectly accurate here, Carrie, for one, is not feeling terribly hijinx-y. She is, by contrast, actually feeling pretty darned miserable, in the wake of her break-up with Aidan, the bloody ending to her affair with Big, etc., etc. She hopes that leaving NYC for a bit will give her the chance to forget about Aidan, Big, and the whole affair mess for awhile. Yeeeeah... good luck with that!
Turns out, it's Matthew McConaughey who is interested in optioning her columns, and Carrie is summoned to go and meet with him. Now, I've always found Mr. M a charmless and vaguely creepy screen presence (apologies to The McConaughey, I hope that he's a very nice man in real life), and this episode does not in any way alter or modify this distaste on my part. In their distinctly bizarre meeting, McConaughey pretends to be Mr. Big (whom he hopes to play in the proposed film) and propositions Carrie--then shifts from propositioning, to asking Carrie why she and Big are both such deeply messed-up people, who ruin all of their relationships. Yikes. What fun for Carrie, on all fronts!
In the end, Carrie decides that what she needs is to not be interrogated by creepy strangers/movie stars about the mistakes she's made in her romantic past, but rather some time and space to figure them out on her own, re-group, and re-build her life. So that's what she decides to do. Sounds... surprisingly healthy and sane! Well done, Ms. Bradshaw!
Miranda, meanwhile, is feeling that she is too buttoned-down and repressed--she needs to embrace life, to be freer, to be sexier! Turns out that being life-embracing, free, and sexy translates, for Ms. Hobbes, into riding a mechanical bull in a bar, and tearing off her shirt whilst doing so. Ummmm... yee-haw?
Samantha... is not riding a mechanical bull, mercifully, but is rather getting to know Garth, a nice poet, who also happens to be a dildo model. (I am told that this is a very common combination.) Samantha very much enjoys sleeping with the poetic Garth, but has noooo interest whatsoever in hearing anything which he has to say, or learning anything about him. Delightful!
Garth says that he's been thinking about moving to New York, and would love it if he and Sam could continue seeing each other... Sam, embarrassed by the thought of introducing sex-industry-worker Garth to her fannnncy friends, and fundamentally uninterested in him as an actual person, vetoes this idea. But, as Carrie's voice-over says, when Samantha left the real man/poet/individual Garth behind, "she took the best part of him with her" (meaning, of course, the dildo which he'd modeled for, and had given to her.) Wow. That is... harsh!
Charlotte, in the meantime... is not in L.A. at all, but rather is still in New York, settling into her life as Mrs. Trey McDougal. Not entirely happily, since she and Trey, it transpires, never had sex on their honeymoon (after a couple of unsuccessful tries, they turned to playing golf instead... yiiiiikes.) Trey won't discuss the matter, and Charlotte is understandably upset both by said silence, and by the aforementioned Lack of Consummation.
Via the electric telephone, Carrie advises Charlotte about how she can determine whether or not Trey's impotence is physical or emotional... i.e., by wrapping a ring of paper around the unconscious Trey's penis, to see if he is capable of getting an erection while he's asleep. (I mean, is there a sitcom in the history of TV that doesn't have a variation on this plot line?) Turns out, the Paper Test reveals that... Trey is, indeed, physically capable of having an erection! Hooray, Charlotte is happy! Except... wait, nope, scratch that--actually, Charlotte is sad, because this means that she's dealing not with a physical problem, but rather with an emotional one. Ah. Tricky, that! Perhaps riding a mechanical bull and ripping your shirt off might help?
Ah, Let Us Compare Men to Objects Once Again! Watch: So as you may have already gathered, I find the whole "ah, Garth, how I do value your gentlemanly area, but no other part of your body, mind, heart or spirit!" thing rather distasteful. Ah, reducing men to their penises! How it does rival in charm the practice of reducing women to their vaginas!
Now, I would not be understood to condemn Sam entirely and completely here--she's bored by Garth? Fine. (His poetry is pretty dreary, I will admit--but keep following that muse, sir! Believe in your dreams!) She's just looking for a casual fling whilst in sunny California? Fine. But must this translate into such a nasty disregarding of Garth as an actual person, as well as a (I guess talented is the right word...?) dildo model? Must this translate into Sam actually referring to him AS "A DILDO," rather than as a human being? I feel that it does not.
I also rather dislike that the primary reason that Samantha rejects Garth isn't it even that she finds him dull (which... fair enough, some of his poems last a loooong time), but rather because of the nature of his chosen profession. (And no... not talking about the poetry here.) When Garth brings up the possibility of he and Sam continuing to see each other in New York, Sam's first thought is that she couldn't possibly introduce "Mr. Dildo" (as she dubs him) to a room full of her glamorous friends at a Met gala. Are you bloody kidding me? Soooo... you support the sex industry, eagerly participate in it as a consumer... but would be ashamed to be on the arm of someone who freely chooses to work within it? I disapprove, Ms. Jones. Disapprove, I say!
Miranda Hobbes, Supporter of Rape Apologist Logic Watch: So in this episode, as Miranda is lamenting to Carrie about how much she wishes that she could let loose and be more openly sexual (which, fair enough, follow your bliss, Ms. H--but could there have been a better way to feel free and sexually confident that ripping a perfectly good shirt off, whilst riding a mechanical bull, in the middle of dive bar...?), she points out a woman wearing a short, tight, low-cut gold lame dress, wishing that she could be more like this Golden Lady.
Carrie instantly assumes that, because of the way that she's dressed, that the GL is a sex worker. (Of course she does. Because for a woman to appear in public in racy garb means that she definitely must work in the sex industry. Or... perhaps not?) Admiring the GL's willingness to dress in such an overtly sexy way, Miranda demands of Carrie, "Do you think there's any chance she's not up for sex?" No. She. Did. N't. But alas... yes she did. Our own Miss Hobbes, invoking the extremely creepy language and logic usually drawn on by rapists. ("I could tell that she wanted it because of what she was wearing," etc.) Delightful.
Except, nope, sorry, my mistake... that was actually a HORRENDOUS thing to say. The only way you can know that a lady is definitely "up for sex" is if she tells you that she is. Otherwise... no. Maybe gold is her favorite color. Maybe she had a bad day, and wore something festive to cheer herself up. Maybe she just wanted to go out on the town looking sexy, dang it. But--and please repeat after me, Miranda H.--just because a lady is wearing a sexy dress does not mean that she is signaling her complete sexual availability to the world at large. And affirming that she does... plays into the nastiest possible "well, if she hadn't been wearing X, I wouldn't have done Y" rape-apologist type logic.
And now if you will excuse me, I need to go watch "My Short Skirt" on an endless loop on YouTube. "My short skirt is not an invitation, a provocation, an indication that I want it, or give it, or that I hook. My short skirt is not begging for it--it does not want you to rip it off me, or pull it down." A-bloody-men to that, sister.
Next Up...?: "Sex and Another City." Yup, we are still in L.A. Boo, I miss the East Coast! I miss it even more when the ladies attend a pool party at the Playboy Mansion. Yes... they really do. [Pillows head in arms, and seeks comfort in sleep.]