So “Sex and the City 2” is out, and the reviews have been, um, less than kind. My old partner Matt Seitz suggested “This is why they hate us,” while Roger Ebert said “some of these people make my skin crawl,” and HitFix’s Alonso Duralde, who liked the first movie, called this one a “bad-drag version” of it.
I will not be seeing the movie in a theater (though, admittedly, since I became a dad I see very few movies that way), nor on DVD, nor on cable if I can help it. I loathed the first movie, and everything I’ve seen and read about this one makes it seem like it’s going to be worse.
And what’s most frustrating of all is that I did, once upon a time, enjoy “Sex and the City” the TV show (partly as a Take One For the Team show, but partly on its own merits for the first few seasons), and these movies have made me retroactively hate that, too.
In TV, like in sports, there’s often talk about how sticking around too long can hurt your legacy. Willie Mays fans had to see him falling down in the outfield as a New York Met, Michael Jordan fans had to watch a slow, earthbound version of His Airness in a Washington Wizards uniform, “ER” fans had to endure the slow death of Mark Greene, etc.
But in most of those cases, the embarrassing later years don’t really tarnish the glory days. If I see Jordan do the up-and-under move from the ’91 finals, I’m still dazzled. If I stumble across a TNT rerun of the episode where Clooney saves the kid in the storm drain, I’m watching till the end.
But the first “Sex and the City” movie, and the many snippets I’ve seen of the second, have filled me with such bile for these characters, their world and the franchise’s aesthetic and sense of humor that I now cringe when I come across reruns of episodes I once liked. How was I not traumatized by all these puns? I’ll ask myself.
Sarah Bunting wrote a piece for NPR about how the scathing reviews of the movie don’t matter, nor does its actual quality, because the people who loved the show are going to go see and probably enjoy it anyway. And I recognize that, as someone outside the franchise’s target demographics, I’m not who Sarah is talking about. Still, it disheartens me that the movies can be powerful enough to erase most of the good memories I had of watching the show with my wife back in the day.
So, two questions for you: 1)Has anyone else had a similar reaction to these movies, vis a vis the original show? And 2)Has a show or entertainment franchise ever jumped the shark to the point where it’s not just unwatchable after, but where you can no longer enjoy the stuff you liked from the earlier years?