For the final couple of years of its original run, my husband and I were regular viewers of Sex and the City. We got to know the characters, and enjoyed laughing, tsk-ing, and looking askance at their actions, choices and decisions. Until recently, I thought we both viewed these people in much the same way.
The other night we were watching one of their reruns. Carrie Bradshaw was writing her eponymous newspaper column. This is actually the program’s device to enable the central character to lay the groundwork for the plot of the evening’s episode. In this particular case, after musing about the differences between women and men, she wonders (voicing as she types) “Could it be that women are just like men”?
My husband observed, “You know, she’s just like Daniel Schorr. She asks questions, puts them out there, but never actually answers them.” Floored, at first, by his ability to correlate this enormously sexy, petite, blond hottie with that gruff, ponderous, 80-something intellectual, I was rendered temporarily speechless. But after a moment’s consideration, I nodded in agreement. I concurred, saying, “Well, sure, honey. No doubt at this very minute people all over the country are comparing Sarah Jessica Parker to Daniel Schorr. In fact, it’s entirely likely that you have just identified how the character hersexyself was conceived. "
Picture a Hollywood conference room. Plenty of fresh fruit, organic juices, and imported, bottled water. Two men in open-necked shirts and Armani slacks are brainstorming new shows. “Let’s do a show about Daniel Schorr,” one writer says to the other. . “Only let’s make him a young woman with a killer body.” “Yeah,” the other one adds, “and she’s got to have a funky wardrobe, and be completely obsessed with men and shoes.” Thus an Emmy-winning series is conceived.
“And we’ll give him friends—buddies that he hangs out with,” Writer One posits. “Pals to have overpriced meals with, go shopping with, and yak on the phone with. They’ll visit one chic restaurant after another. Of course, I guess they'll have to be gorgeous women, too, if we’re going to get viewers.”
Writer Two adds, “Now they can’t talk about politics or national security, or education. Nothing about the social security system. This will just be about their personal lives. Their jobs, their relationships, their seeming ability to purchase an endless array of designer clothes and accessories with no regard for cost or the moral question of overacquisitiveness. But I guess we should stick with meeting men, dating them, and breaking up with them as the main theme.”
Honestly, I always thought that one of the reasons he enjoyed this particular program was that it is rather titillating at times. It deals with topics not addressed on network television, and there is a fair amount of explicit talk, coupled (and I do mean coupled) with some incredibly suggestive scenes. In other words, I figured it appealed to his horny-slash-sexual side.
Now it turns out that he has been thinking of Carrie as Daniel Schorr, a political observer and commentator for longer than we have been alive. Don’t get me wrong, I respect Daniel Schorr. I enjoy hearing his opinions and analyses on NPR, but neither his name, nor voice, nor image has ever come to mind during “Sex and The City”. What else have I been missing?
If the raspy and hoarse Mr. Schorr was indeed the prototype for Carrie, what about the rest of the cast? Perhaps Charlotte, the perpetually romantic good girl, was patterned after Tom Brokaw. Has there ever been a cleaner-cut, more trusted all-American boy? His highly-respected books about the men and women who fought in World War II have only enhanced his “good guy” image. Miranda may have been based on the avuncular and reflective Mike Wallace. Mm, no… Not cynical and disillusioned enough. More likely it was the late Tim Russert of Meet the Press. He was the master of the skeptical head-shake, frequently combined with a soft chuckle, clearly communicating disbelief in the idealists around him. And surely Samantha, the promiscuous, self-involved gadfly would have to have sprung from the model of Geraldo Rivera. Like Samantha, he makes his own news where there is none, and just can’t wait to be “in your face” about it. Oh yeah, Samantha is definitely the Geraldo of the stiletto-heeled man-junkies.
Yes, my husband has really nailed this one down. He was able to see past the glitter and glamour, the carnal nature of the cast, and the Manolo Blahnik shoes. Getting right to the heart of the show, with an insight and perception so rare in middle-aged men. Yep, he’s a real Barbara Walters.
So the next time you tune in to “Sex and The City”, think of it as a political round-table, with no need to offer equal time for opposing views. Try to look past the long legs, the plunging necklines, and the push-up bras. You just have to be able to fantasize.