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September 19, 2008

Another SATC Couch Trip: The Carrie Diaries or Bullshit Ad Infinitum

I was reading an article in Australian Vogue about the Carrie Bradshaw phenomenon, namely the unrealistic example of a writer's life offered by this fictional character. The article is only available in the print edition of Australian Vogue, but if it can be summed up, it basically points out flaws in the Carrie Bradshaw world of writing. For example, it's completely impossible to go spastic in luxury fashion stores in Paris on a mere twenty thousand dollars; you can't buy four Chanel suits with twenty thousand dollars. There's more where that came from. Regular splurges on premium designer heels for a once-weekly columnist is completely unrealistic. In the Sex and the City film, one pair of shoes Carrie wears are quoted (in the film) with an incorrect price in the vicinity of five hundred dollars when the real pair is around nine hundred dollars.

So what the hell is going on? What is it with unrealistic characters? Do writers (Candace Bushnell) really believe that other writers are going to swallow the bullshit? Carrie lives in Manhattan, she writes a one-weekly column, she can afford to pay her rent, buy heaps of designer heels, go on spending sprees in Prada (a mere handbag averages two thousand dollars; Prada doesn't create dresses below five hundred dollars) and go nuts with her book advance (a paltry twenty grand) in Dior, in Paris. I'd believe if it there was any reference to a huge trust fund, but there isn't, which is why the character of Carrie Bradshaw is severely flawed.

The Vogue writer pointed out the disparities; she was unable to recall any similarities in her life. At one point she decided to increase her writing schedule and relied on her partner financially; she still couldn't afford designer trinkets. If you're single, have no additional financial support from a spouse or family, then you're on your own. People wonder why writers are –in a way- predisposed to bouts of depression. Well here's a clue: you're trying to write, balance writing with a full-time job, have no other form of financial support apart from your day job, and feel like you're going nowhere sometimes. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why some people find it discouraging or downright depressing, but in the world of superficial columns, fictional writers like Carrie can afford to buy nine hundred dollar Louboutins from the boutique.

Well there's more Carrie. Not to worry. Bushnell is planning the Carrie Diaries
. The first book in the Carrie Diaries is slotted for 2010. By then, are we going to be interested in a teenage Carrie? It's been years since the TV series finished, and by 2010, two more years would have passed since the film, and why would thirty-year-old women, or thirty-plus year old women be interested in reading the 'teenage' diary of Carrie? I mean, we've already read about the sexual incidents, have watched the show (which is absolutely nothing like the original book) and the film, and we're going to take a retro dive into Carrie's teenage insights? It's becoming like Friday the 13th; endless sequels of nothing-in-particular. Then again, I can see the appeal or corporate appeal behind such a character. Sex and the City is also about advertising fashion brands, and it has become more about fashion brands than a story. Can we expect a teenage Carrie to wear a bubble skirt, tube skirt or shoulder pads, Eighties style? (Insert Al Pacino Godfather III voiceover) "Just when you thought you got out (from the pile of shoulder pads, Choose Life! T-Shirts, Frankie Says Relax T-Shirts, bubble skirts et al) they (Harper Collins and Candace Bushnell) drag you back in."

When will Candace Bushnell ever grow up? By 2010, the aftermath of the financial crisis (around the globe), not to mention the recession that the US is in denial about, a character like Carrie will be out of synch or out of the times. I never thought I'd see the day where characters (book to television) would get up my nose but Carrie Bradshaw is a neck-and-neck tie with Belle (de Jour). I'm just waiting for the photo-finish.


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what a catch up. you've had an industrious week here. I read the same article. All Carrie is about is the fashion, not the writing. That's what I think anyhow. I don't think a person could be called a writer if they lived exactly like Carrie does.

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