January 04, 2005
The love Rabbi on Sex and the City

I am delighted to report that a new remaindered books shop has opened up near me, although the one a bit further away that closed down recently had a much better choice of recent stuff.

Anyway, at the new place I obtained, for a mere £3.99, a copy of Why Can't I Fall In Love? by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. (And never you mind why.) Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is also the author of Kosher Sex, and, although a new name (and what a name) to me, is apparently quite a big cheese in America, on talk radio and such.

Here is what he says about Sex and the City, the final two episodes of which were recently reshown on Channel 4 TV here in Britain:

Our culture's obsessive emphasis on independence has led too many singles to back-burner their search for love and turn instead to their like-minded, sympathetic friends for solace. Now I don't want to go on record saying we should cut off all our friends if we're going to find romance. But I will take a stand that may prove controversial: For too many of us, our attachment to friends threatens to dull our longing for a long-term romantic relationship. The wildly popular HBO series Sex and the City offers a fascinating window into this problem, though I hardly think its writers intended it this way. The series presents its four central characters as avid manipulators of men; ultimately, they always seem happier complaining to each other about the flawed opposite sex than pursuing the men they bemoan. To be sure, they make brief forays into the world of dating, but it's when Samantha, Charlotte, Carrie, and Miranda return and regale each other with the stories of their encounters that each episode reaches its stride. In fact, I believe the secret of Sex and the City's success isn't just that it's funny and sexy, but that it captures the camaraderie many women today have come to think of as more important and more lasting than the romantic relationships they claim to crave. For these women, men are a means to the end of their own friendships, rather than vice versa; they derive greater stimulation from each other than they could ever derive from a man.

Setting aside the matter of whether you agree with the Rabbi about whether friendship really does interrupt more intimate relationships in real life, I do think that the man has a point about Sex and the City.

I watched those final two episodes before reading the above judgement, and was myself struck by the air of falsity and fairy tale which pervaded all the various happy romantic endings we were offered for the four ladies (most especially for Carrie and Samantha), while noting that the relationship between the four when they got together to talk about these various endings was as convincing as ever.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:55 PM
Category: TV