Are we happy giving up Sex for shopping?

February 26, 2008

In 2004, US television channel TBS delivered Sex and the City to those households not blessed with HBO. However, due to the strict censorship guidelines for a mainstream broadcast, the risqué language and sex scenes had to be re-voiced or edited out. Apparently this resulted in a show that included more Charlotte, the same amount of Carrie (who hardly cursed and was never naked), a less caustic Miranda and hardly any Samantha. Take a look at the TBS promo to see what could have happened if SATC had started on network television.

Now that mega broadcasters NBC and CBS have embraced the uber woman with Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia, both networks are dealing with satisfying the desires of the SATC audience while being strategically draped in many layers of beautiful clothes.

The mythology behind these shows both being commissioned at the same time goes a little like this. Candance Bushnell (the original Carrie and real-life columnist who started SATC) phoned Darren Starr, the guy who launched her onto the small screen, to say that her latest book Lipstick Jungle was being turned into a new TV show. There was an uncomfortable pause before Darren admitted to already having his own new female-centric show happening. So now we have two shows inspired by one and I can’t help but wonder, will either survive?

Channel 7 in Australia have bought Lipstick Jungle and no air date has been set. The pilot opens with the mandatory aerial shot of New York City and quickly introduces us to the trio of gal pals lead by statuesque Brooke Shields. Five minutes into the episode, Victory, the fashion designer, has received a bad review after launching her new autumn line. Her response? ‘This business is hard, I need a cupcake.’ Re-visiting the first series of Sex and The City delivers equally cringe-worthy moments (remember the staged vox-pops and Carrie talking straight to camera?) and Lipstick Jungle MUST get better, because NBC has ordered a further six episodes to make a full 13 week season in the wake of the writer’s strike.

Like the US, Cashmere Mafia has aired here first, and was the 9th most watched program last Wednesday night. Although I spent the entire pilot willing Lucy Liu to break out some Charlie’s Angels moves in pursuit of her promotion, the overall package appears much closer to a grown up version of SATC. Miranda Otto is mesmerizing as the jilted woman. The men in their lives are good people. And even though I have very little idea what any of them actually do for work, it is something to aspire to in that only-in-tv-land kind of way. As yet, only seven episodes exist with no mention of a return to production, so enjoy it while it lasts.

The one major improvement common to both clones is in the wardrobe department. SATC’s wardrobe diva Patricia Field made an incredible name for herself and has a store in Manhattan and an online boutiquewith a few random designs, but who could fit into SJP’s clothes or would want to? Various web links identify items worn on both Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia, with many able to be sourced in mainstream stores. Which is good because if we have to give up sex, we may as well shop.

Much has been said about both shows and it is unclear whether either will be embraced long term. Although it is a little disturbing that the one written by a woman included that cupcake line.


5 Responses to “Are we happy giving up Sex for shopping?”

  1. Lesley Says:

    I have to tell you honey, I deleted LJ from my PVR schedule but CM remains. LJ did NOT get better, in fact the cringe-moments got worse and the clothes were just not enough compensation. CM however, is turning into a secret vice.


  2. tvmatters Says:

    Hi Lesley

    Thanks for the heads up – I’ve only got so many TV hours in my week and I always like to know what I can cull. We better hope that CM gets re-commissioned soon, but knowing Darren Starr’s stellar record (Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place) I can’t imagine in NOT happening. So far I’ve only seen ep 1 – does Bonnie Sommerville give up the lesbian thing soon?

  3. themolk Says:

    I just can’t invest in either… I don’t have any TV watching time left in my schedule! Help me, TVmatters…

  4. tvmatters Says:

    With this year’s schedule, the thing that’s hard is that there’s no one big night for television. The good shows are scattered across different days and timeslots. We need to start demanding TIVO.

  5. […] and an online boutique, but who could fit into SJPs clothes or would want to?… source: Are we happy giving up Sex for shopping?, TV […]

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