Friday, October 21

Season Five, Episode Seven: The Big Journey

The Summary:

Welcome, my friends, to yet another episode in which I am compelled, against my will, to talk about Big. Le. Sigh. But his presence in this episode is not toooo terribly annoying, so... I'll take it! I will thank heavens for small mercies! I will count my blessings! And so on, and so forth.

Okay, so, Carrie hasn't had partnered sex in quite some time, and is feeling this rather acutely. (She tells the ladies, in more detail than seems quite... legal in a public venue, that she has been having dreams about running up to complete strangers and imploring them to do various things to her. I am sure the family with kids sitting at the next table was glad to know this information!) Given that her book tour (ooooooh, fannnnncy) will shortly be taking her to California, she has decided that this particular itch can productively be scratched by... you guessed it... the newly West Coast-ed Big. I see.

Carrie insists to her skeptical friends that she is now entirely devoid of any real feelings for Big, and as such can safely bed him without dire emotional consequences to herself. And for once... she is actually right! She can, and she does! Who knew!

Granted, there are some bumps along the road to said encounter (of course there are.) She initially thinks she won't end up calling Big when she gets to Cali, after all, because she has suddenly developed an unsightly blemish. (But then... it disappears!) And then she thinks that the usually-obliging Big will not, well, oblige, since he's actually read her book, and as such has also actually reckoned for the first time with how absolutely crappy he was to her when they were dating, and how much he hurt her through said crappiness. Scruples about what sleeping with him again might do to Carrie's emotional life--Big has them. (But then... they disappear!)

So Carrie--has slept with Big. Chris Noth--has presumably gone out and bought himself a nice new boat with the proceeds of those few minutes of screen time. What of the other ladies, you ask? Miranda... has literally nothing going on. Nada. Nary a thing. She is still a lawyer, still a mother, still exists in time and space. But other than that... we know nothing. Fair enough! Hope all is well with you, Mistress Hobbes! At least we have no evidence to the contrary...?

Not much of interest going on with young Ms. Samantha Jones, either. She is bored with New York, and feeling a little midlife-crisis-y. To shake things up, she decides to accompany Carrie to California. She doesn't really have a great time. Bummer. Except that that makes her return to her actual life in New York with something resembling appreciation and gratitude. Okay! That's better!

I guess Charlotte's plot line is the most interesting of the lot this episode (defining, of course, the word "interesting" rather loosely). Interesting does not mean, I hasten to add, that it is not also MADLY predictable from word one--as the dear gentlemen of MST3K once said, of a particularly obvious "reveal" at the end of a particularly dopey horror movie, "even dead people know what's going to happen!"

So Charlotte begins this episode by loudly proclaiming that for women, emotions are inextricably intertwined with sex--that they have to have a genuine emotional investment in a bloke before they sleep with him. She also loudly proclaims that she does not like/has no emotional investment in her divorce lawyer, Harry. Doesn't like him on the one hand--staunchly insisting women need to feel for in order to sleep with on the other. Can you see where this might be headed, dear readers...?

If you answered... with Charlotte sleeping with Harry, then consider yourself a winner! Give yourself whatever you feel is the appropriate number of stars! Yup, in a shocking twist, just as Charlotte was insisting that she would never get involved in an emotion-free sexual encounter, because this is something that women never do (even though... she is friends with Samantha...?)--she gets involved in an emotion-free sexual encounter! You shock me!

Said encounter (and her desire to have other such encounters with Harry in future) leads her to seek out a tutorial from Anthony about how to successfully conduct such assignations. And surprise, surprise, in seeking to follow Anthony's advice, Charlotte finds that she... is not very good at acting like Anthony, after all! (But they are so similar in their personalities, tastes, attitudes, and feelings about love, sex, and courtship! Oh, wait...)

Plus, turns out--Harry is really sweet, and obviously actually cares about her. Hmmmm. Any guesses about where THAT might go? All together now: "Even dead people know what's going to happen!"

The Analysis:

LGBT Folks Watch:
Anthony--just for something new and different! He is amusing in the few scenes that they give him, as per ever. And I am glad to see an actual gay, recurring character, even if he is something (okay, a lot-ing) of a raging stereotype of What Gay Men Are Like. (Outrageous buddy to uptight straight girl? Check! Obsessive interest in both fashion and anonymous sex--not necessarily in that order? Check!) Ah well. He at least reminds us that The Gays do, indeed, exist... which the show is all too often in danger of forgetting. So... success? A little bit...?

"He's Sweaty and Pushy": Continuing Questionable Language About Our Lone Jewish Character Watch: So on the plus side, Harry is... still around! Yay, Harry! Unlike 98 percent of the gents in the series, Harry is a nice guy, who seems like someone you would actually want to know, in real life. (Unlike pretty much all of Sam's conquests, and certain BIGS who shall remain nameless.)

On the minus side, I am still creeped out by how he is talked about here--Charlotte stresses over and over that he is not the kind of guy she wants to date because "he's not very attractive"--because he's all sweaty and pushy and vulgar. Given that these adjectives/ideas all too powerfully echo long-standing, pernicious stereotypes about The Jews, and Harry is, as we are oft reminded, one of the Chosen People... this makes me more than a leetle uncomfortable. And we haven't even gotten to the extended joke about how "hairy" Harry is yet... brace yourselves for that sucker anon!

"Are We the New Bachelors?": Some Rubbish About the Allegedly Shocking Fact That Women Like Drinking and Sex Watch: So the overarching frame for this episode is Carrie's question of whether or not single women of the early 21st century are "the new bachelors." (Answer: No. Moving on!) Carrie is suddenly struck by the fact that some women... are happily single and resistant to the idea of commitment! That some women... have sex outside of long or short-term relationships! That some women... enjoy cocktails! Therefore... they are just like Hugh Hefner, circa 1962, I guess? Forgive me for thinking this is essentially balderdash. Actually, no, it's not even essentially balderdash, but rather is straight-up, no-holds-barred balderdash! And also something that Helen Gurley Brown (God rest her wacky soul) realized back when it actually was 1962. For goodness sakes, people.

Notable Quotables: Samantha, on how handling a midlife crisis is tricky for her: "I already fuck younger guys. And I don't want a sports car."

Next Up...?:
Our season finale ("I Love a Charade," by name) if you can believe it! We have arrived at the very end of this very short season! And there are very fun things for us to very carefully consider, I, um, verily say unto you! (These sentences brought to you by the word/by variants of "very.") Sarah Jessica Parker is by now clearly pregnant, but Carrie Bradshaw is not, and is very excited to once again run into... the dashing Jack Berger. (Your humble blogger is very excited about this, as well. Yayyyy! Jack Berger!) She runs into him in the Hamptons, where Samantha is throwing a party at Richard's house (???), Charlotte is realizing that she actually likes Harry, despite his (sigh) alleged vulgarity and physical unattractiveness, and Miranda is once again ambiguously, quasi-romantically involved with Steve. Oh, and Nathan Bloody Lane is around, too. Hooray! Lane-ness!


  1. Nathan Lane! Hooray!! I appreciate your snarky impatience with this episode!

  2. Oh, Mistress K., he is beyond charming in the episode! He is wearing cravats in several scenes, for Pete's sake. If that is not a good time, I do not know what is. I am glad that my snarkiness is amusing... the episode is just silly, it gives me nothing which I wish to watch. Now next week, with Nathan Lane and Jack Berger present... there is PLENTY I want to watch!

  3. Charlotte's little speech about feelings and sex being inseparable reminds me of the episode ("Frenemies"?... I think) where Charlotte had finally reached the end of her rope regarding Samantha's sexual indiscretions and bolted out of the restaurant. You'd think that her confrontation with Sam would have changed her views. Guess not...

    "I Love a Charade" is soooooo in my top ten favorite episode list. I love almost everything about it! I especially like the chanteuse's (I'm being old-fashioned!) rendition of the classic "Is That All There Is?"


  4. I totally agree, Alex, the singer's rendition seems very Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald to me--she does a lovely job... and I love her dress, as well! She's pretty much the perfect 1940s torch singer, circa the 2000s.

    And I'm very fond of the episode, as well--it does a nice job of satisfactorily wrapping up a season which has lots of errant plot threads dangling about... and of course.. JACK BERGER. Yay.

    The parallel to "Frenemies" is such a good one, I totally hadn't thought of that! It does seem totally weird to have Charlotte say, "For women, love and sex are one in the same!"... in Season Bloody Five, after she and Samantha had been arguing about this very point season after season... and finally seeming to make their peace with their very different views on the matter. Oh well. I guess it's just an excuse for her/us to be "shocked" that she seems to embark on a no-strings-attached affair...?