Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Just to Say....

.... how much I agree with Lucy Mangan in the Guardian. Sex and the City is, indeed, a spectacularly horrible show. Mangan says it is about women who 'are marionettes playing out male sexual fantasies dressed as female fashion fantasies.' Personally, I'd go along with Homer Simpson who argued that it is about gay men played by women. Either way, it is a vile, dishonest, exploitative confection. Seinfeld, however, wasn't, so I am saddened by the news that Michael Richards, who played the gigantically grotesque Cosmo Kramer, is in trouble over a racist tirade. Richards' career seems to have gone nowhere since Seinfeld. The co-creator of the show, Larry David, however, went on to make Curb Your Enthusiasm, a masterpiece. Actually, what I really wanted to say was that, Sex and the City aside, American TV comedy has, for the last twenty years, been one of the great consolations of my life. Scrubs is the current consoler. I want to be Dr Cox, some say I am.


  1. Bill Hicks summed up Sex and the City and all the garbage including the awful Friends(what the hell was all its popularity about, even amongst seemingly intelligent people??) with the line, "Piece of shit, walk away." And in response to an imagined attempt at deeper analysis of Basic Instinct I think it was, "You're getting way too deep with this...Piece of shit, walk away."

  2. Me I see myself as Kelso, in my better moments - tho I know in my heart I'm Ted. Sex and the City - was it a comedy? - was indeed ghastly beyond words. Hard to believe that the Americans of all people cld have made a TV series so entirely morally nihilistic (despite appearances, Seinfeld wasn't
    - it was too Jewish and too honest). The American sitcom is truly one of the great consolations of life and one of the wonders of TV - as is the US cop show at its best (NYPD Blue currently on More 4 - still often sublimely good - and followed by Curb! It doesn't get much better...). My own guilty consolation is Everybody Loves Raymond. A much maligned show I reckon.

  3. I want to be Dr. Cox as well, Bryan.
    I find him to be refreshing but I don't think I'd want to have coffee with him.
    I just want to be him.

  4. American comedy has improved greatly over the years. They still make far too many dodgy sitcoms though. But Curb, Scrubs and Arrested Development are/were brilliant. And when it comes to cartoon comedy (Simpsons, Family Guy et al.), the Americans are world leaders.

  5. I agree with you Bryan on the superiority of American sitcoms. However having lived there, we only see about 5% of them over here. On TV there you see all the dross and most of them are indeed terrible.

    However we have had our revenge, we have sold them all the worse than unbelivebale 'dancing on ice', celebrity-reality-show insanity. You may not like sex and the city, but our response was truly peace by massive retaliation.

  6. I never even watched "Sex and the City," yet we get HBO. The reason we pay HBO's exorbitant prices, however, is because we love "The Sopranos." Now *that* is first-rate TV.

    However, hub & I just watched another (occasional) British series that we love, and I'm wondering how it is perceived in the land that made it: "Prime Suspect," with Helen Mirren, is what I'm referring to. I think this is just a brilliant show and I'm really sad that I think we just saw the last one (Jane Tennison retires at the end of it).

    Please tell me you love it in Britain too (otherwise, we really have a disjunct in what counts as good TV), and if not, why not.

    Last but not least, Bryan's merry men, if not Bry himself, did you guys ever see the miniseries "State of Play" with Bill Nighy, Kelly Macdonald, James McAvoy, and a host of other fantastic actors? It was about English media and politicians and I thought it was astonishingly good. Is that the general consensus over there, or is there another disjunct here?

    Hope to hear from all you insightful folk.....

  7. Every time I've seen a clip of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' it looks quite superb; so why don't Channel 4 broadcast it? I know they want to promote their sister satellite stations, but could they not, at least, repeat it on Channel 4?

  8. Susan,
    I didn't see State of Play, but of course I saw Prime Suspect. Without Helen Mirren it would have been a good cop show, with her it was art. Over here it turned her into a national treasure. After that and The Queen - both of which felt as though they were actually directed by her acting - she seems to me to be one of the (if not the) greatest actors of her generation. I once told her this just to stop her talking, but I meant it.

  9. I'm very happy to find my tastes in comedy are shared by others after all. It seems to me that Scrubs has its dedicated fans, but why it hasn't attracted a larger viewership in the States or Australia is a bit of a puzzle.

    Sex and the City: appalling, and the "gay men as women" was indeed obvious. Mind you, it is a little worrying that it did have a significant young female audience. Also, Sarah Jessica Parker seems to be a smart, pleasant enough woman in interviews, and I could never understand why she would be attached to such an show.

    One other point: is it just middle age cynicism, or I am correct in believing that American sitcoms over the last 5 years or so have taken a big dive in quality, with just one or two now watchable? I can remember in other decades certain sitcoms which were likeable even if not great; the quality now seems very polarised.

    Also, what happened to good British sitcom? I suspect that a significant part of its problem has been the tendancy to have just one writer doing a whole series. American sitcoms perhaps suffer from too much writing by committee, but the opposite puts a lot of burden on one person.

    However, I must admit, as a silly bit of stuff, I did find The IT Crowd quite funny.

  10. Recent British sitcoms of note would be The Office, Extras, Nighty Night, Saxondale; which are post heart warming entertainment, in fact they seem to pull the rug of comfort away from the feet of scripted tragedy (which I prefer.. along with torture etc, rather than the bitter sweet affluenza of Sex in the City).

  11. Oneblue: As someone who considers "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" as the best long running sitcom ever, I don't exactly warm to the dark comedy of embarrassment and humiliation which you seem to agree is at the heart of those shows.