mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

"Sex and the City" vs. "Little Women"

On Sunday afternoon Jim and I went to see "Sex and the City" with Maria and Sheila and their guys. It was a girlfriend ritual required by our devotion to the HBO series that ended 2 years ago. It was like sitting down to a whipped cream cake after months of dieting -- oooh it was so delish, but then, hmm, is this the fantasy I've been yearning for?

S&C is about women's search for the sweet life -- love and luxury -- la dolce vita. And it's about women's need for one another to share the victories and to commiserate when the guy doesn't live up to expectations. I teared up in all the right places. I loved the movie indulgence. But on reflection, the four women seem frenzied, hard-edged and judgmental.

On Monday night we were looking around for something to watch and found the 1994 remake of "Little Women" on HBO. I had the same gush of happy recognition of the four female characters -- sisters -- also looking for love and wishing for luxury. It was one of my favorite books as a child (I had an illustrated, abridged version) and I know I saw the June Allyson 1949 version at least a couple of times. It's also a fantasy -- how in the world are 4 siblings so good-natured with one another, producing plays and writing newspapers together?

Anyway, I had similar teary moments watching "Little Women." Three out of four "get their men." Vanities are satisfied. But there are some richer strains about what it means to grow up and what it means to be good. To push my analogy: the whipped cream is on a crunchy carrot cake.

"Sex & the City" does acknowledge its me-me-me attitude but it leaves you with the impression that being totally self-centered and acting like you're an eternal 25 will get you what you want anyway.

6.5.2008

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