Monday, February 7

Season Four, Episode Six: Baby, Talk is Cheap

The Summary:

Ah, talk which is relatively inexpensive, let us contemplate it! And babies of various sorts and descriptions, let us muse over them!

So Carrie, as we know from our last episode, wants to get back together with Aidan. She e-mails him. He does not respond. She then calls him and sets up an awkward kind-of-but-not-really double "date" with her, Miranda, Aidan, and Steve. Unsurprisingly... this proves to be really uncomfortable! At the end of said quasi-date, Carrie tells Aidan that she wants to get back together. He refuses--he's happy to be friends, but that's it. But then he kind-of-but-not-really kisses her, inspiring Carrie to stalk him back to his apartment (Carrie, justifying this course of action to Miranda: "His words said no, but his kiss said yes." Miranda: "That's the defense invoked by date rapists.")

At said apartment, he tells her to go away and leave him alone, that she broke his heart, and so on and so forth--causing her to flee back to her apartment in tears, where Aidan subsequently follows her. (These people are making me dizzy with all this gadding about.) They then sleep together, Carrie tells him that she loves him, and he... leaves. (Again I say--awk-ward.) He returns the next day, however, to say that they should give couplehood another shot. All right-y, then!

Miranda, meanwhile, is dating someone new--a gent whom we know only as "Marathon Man," since she meets him whilst training to (appropriately enough) run the NYC marathon. (Clean your minds out with soap if you thought that that nickname might have had a different source... though come to think of it, the ladies do actually give it the expected dirty connotation when they discuss him, so... never mind!) All is well with Marathon Man (ah, never referring to this gent by his actual name, how un-demeaning it is!), except that during the course of one of their trysts, he bestows what Miranda later dubs "tuckus lingus" upon her. I see.

She kind of enjoys this, but is also kind of creeped out by it... and becomes more creeped out when he indicates that he would like her to reciprocate said practice. Miranda declines to do so. And... that's pretty much the last we see of Mr. Marathon Man. Buh-bye, M.M.! Good luck with the marathon! Hope that the next lass you date actually addresses you by your actual name!

Samantha's subplot: kind of boring. She has taken to wearing fake nipples around town (as one will) in the hopes that said nipples will attract some masculine attention. They do, and she begins seeing Warren, Financial Muckety-Muck and Nipple Enthusiast. Turns out, Warren enjoys using baby talk during Intimate Moments. Samantha... finds this wildly unappealing, and tells him so. At which point, he dumps her. All right, then! Buh-bye, Warren! Buh-bye, fake nipples! Best of luck in all of your future, nipply-endeavors!

Charlotte and Trey, in the meantime, are starting to talk about getting pregnant. They are super, super excited about this, until they have their friends Tricia and Cliff (who have three young youngsters) over for dinner, with said youngsters in tow. Said youngsters, predictably, behave like total, raging monsters, and Tricia and Cliff do nothing but snap at the kids and at one another. Charlotte and Trey are a little put off by this--will having children mean that they'll have such ungovernable young people permanently at their dinner table? Will having children mean that they'll become as tired and cranky as Tricia and Cliff clearly are? In the end, they decide that it will not... their children will, of course, be lovely, and they will remain happy and in love, even amidst the demands of parenthood. And so... the Quest to Become Pregnant begins!

The Analysis:

People of Color Watch
: Charlotte and Carrie attend an African dance class, which is lead by an African-American instructor. She has a few lines, mainly encouraging her students to dance, dance, dance, which Charlotte does enthusiastically, and Carrie does not do at all.

It does not in any way increase the diversity of the show, but on a totally unrelated tangent, I will note that I enjoy watching Carrie in exercise classes throughout the series--while Sarah Jessica Parker clearly engages in an insane exercise regimen to maintain her wee little frame, Carrie is consistently shown to be indifferent to physical fitness--she goes to dance and aerobics classes with her friends, but she's always lounging back on the mat, chewing gum, and gossiping, rather than participating. This kind of makes me love her.

Charlotte, Actually Discussing An "Alternative" Sexual Practice in Tones Not of Disgust? Really? Watch
: I am enjoy this episode in part because, during the ladies' discussion of "tuckus lingus," for once in our lives, Charlotte is blase and accepting about this "outre" practice, casually noting that she has both given and received said lingus during her married life. I realize that the writers are doing this purely for comic effect (Charlotte is engaged in something more sexually "avant garde" than even Samantha? Cue the comic disbelief!) But it's nonetheless a nice reversal of the typical "Charlotte is uniformly disgusted and appalled by anything outside the sexual 'norm' " shtick... so I'll take it!

Parenthood--Can Be Challenging! Who Knew! Watch: I also think that the episode does a nice job in its musings about parenthood--Charlotte and Trey (especially, I note ominously, Charlotte) are really excited about the prospect of becoming parents... but they're also a little bit anxious about the effects which parenthood will have on their lives generally, and on their relationship specifically. And I think that it's kind of nice to see that complicated blend of feelings represented--of a genuine desire to become parents existing alongside a "our lives are going to change in radical and fundamental ways which I cannot even imagine, and that is exciting, but it is also more than a little scary" ambiguity. The narratives in our pop culture all too often tend to be of "I am unreservedly and unambiguously dying to be a mother, and after I am, my life and self will be complete, and I will glow with happiness forever," without a cloud in the sky or a hesitation in sight. Perhaps... it can be a little more complicated than that? And people can go into parenthood ardently desiring it, but also a bit apprehensive about the radical life change which it represents?

I also enjoy that the show depicts parenthood as, you know, work--I was perhaps a bit too unkind when I said up above that Tricia and Cliff's kids were monsters--I will try to be kinder here below, and say that they are unruly, challenging, and rambunctious youngsters. (There. I think that's better.) And Charlotte and Trey (who had been mooning off in the clouds with utopian visions of serene, hiccup-free mommy and daddyhood) are brought back to earth a bit, by watching their friends seek to get three children under the age of eight to behave themselves at a dinner party.

It's something like what the show, at its best, does with romantic relationships--noting that our cultural myths about couplehood often gloss over some of the thornier realities of what real life as a couple can be like... glad to see them do something in the same vein with parenthood, as well. Turns out, couplehood, marriage, and parenting--all a bit more complicated than fairy-tale-type narratives would have us believe! A conversation which Charlotte has with Tricia makes it clear that Tricia loves being a parent... but surprise surprise, just because you love and value something doesn't mean that it's always easy! Quelle news flash!

Next Up...?:
"Time and Punishment" (oh, the pun! It burns, it burns!), in which Carrie and Aidan's re-booted relationship gets off to a rocky start (of course it does), Miranda ends up naked on her bath mat (naturally), Sam has issues with her pubic hair (as one will), and Charlotte prepares herself to quit her job and embark on full-time Homemaker and Future Motherhood (sparking one of the only explicit mentions of feminism in the entire series. Except that it is here called "the women's movement." Why not just call it "women's lib" and bring us all the way back to 1971? I'll grab my macrame dress, if you take care of the avocado and pumpkin-colored home decor items!)

No comments:

Post a Comment