Sex and the City
So there we were, four girls dealing with being single and thirtysomething in New York City. It was a blast. No real jobs to worry with, just shoes, shopping and sex – all the while wearing fabulous outfits. Life lived to the full – and everyone loved us for it. Never mind the Spice Girls, we were the real pioneers of Girl Power, the true post-feminist ideal of women shaping their own destiny and using men for a change, rather than the other way around. Go us!
Only then, after six seasons as one of the most popular shows on TV, it all came to an end amid tabloid stories of in-fighting and bitchiness. Rather than appearing in magazines as the perfect role-models for aspiring professional clothes-horses, we started being subject to long-lens shots of cellulite and sagginess. The glamour had gone – and so had our careers.
Oh yes, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) may have continued to appear in a few films, but they were all fairly bland stuff, and never troubled the box-office. But what about the rest of us? Sex-mad, sultry Samantha (Kim Cattrall) was last seen playing Harry Potter’s dowdy mum in a period TV movie, and hit her fifties two years ago. Cutesy Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has spent most of the last few years voicing a cartoon spider on a US kids’ TV show when not playing somebody’s mother in bad movies. Sassy lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has merely been cropping up in guest spots on US TV shows, despite showing some early promise playing Eleanor Roosevelt opposite Kenneth Branagh’s FD Roosevelt in a halfway decent US TV movie.
So despite all being such idols back at the turn of the millennium, it all seems to have gone wrong for us girls. Now fortysomething (and fiftysomething), no matter how much we may have tried to show everyone that you don’t need to be married by thirty to have a good life, and as much as we thought we’d proved that you can be a woman approaching middle age and still be sexy, smart, desirable and in control, it turns out we were wrong. Because in the world of celebrity, if you’re female then age and looks still matter – and after our show came to a close and we had to venture out into the real world without the benefit of expert stylists and make-up artists, the fickle world of film and TV took one look and decided we were pretty much past it.
Hell, if the Spice Girls can do a comeback, why can’t we? Yes, those pop star precursors of the maids from Manhattan may be a decade younger than us, but hell – they all managed to put aside their well-publicised differences and get along long enough to put together a sell-out comeback tour, didn’t they? Surely we can all forget our differences for the few weeks it takes to shoot a movie to fleetingly revive our fame, bring in the old fans, and top up the pension funds?
And so it’s back to more of the same for a while. Carrie still trying to get hitched to Mr Big; Samantha still eyeing up men young enough to be her kids; Miranda still being paranoid about her bartender boyfriend’s fidelity; and Charlotte still trying to get pregnant after all these years. Will it be final closure – or will we all be back again in a few years, now all in our fifties, and all still acting as if we were spoiled teenagers? And, more importantly, will the fans still care?