Friday, February 08, 2008

Lipstick Jungle – The Next Sex in the City?

Last night was the series premiere of the much anticipated Lipstick Jungle. Based on the book by Candace Bushnell, the author behind the Sex in the City juggernaut, Lipstick Jungle follows the lives of three friends who are all on the list of New York’s 50 Most Powerful Women.

My official reaction to the show falls somewhere between “eh” and “bleck”.

Perhaps it was the constant comparison to Sex in the City that lead me to expect something a bit more exhilarating than a wife cheating for no apparent reason, a struggling artist saved by her millionaire boyfriend and marriage failing by reason of emasculation but sadly that was not to be. While I applaud the idea of three women who believe being at the top of their career game isn’t a right devoted solely to those in the human race who have a penis, the show falls flat when a few basic facts are forgotten.

Firstly, it can’t all be bad. The last thing I need is to be repeatedly depressed for an hour once a week. Can anyone say time suck? When Carrie’s Big breakup carried on over two episodes her friends threw her into therapy and 20 minutes later she was sleeping with Bon Jovi. Realistic? No (unfortunately) Good TV? Yes.

Secondly, people are voyeuristic. We want to know the intimate details. For an hour long show there was surprisingly little going on. I used to work for a producer and part of my job was to read scripts and filter out the ones that she should read. She gave me only one rule, if there are too many phone calls in the script don’t bother. And now I see why. Brooke Shield’s character, Wendy, is a high powered executive for a major motion picture company. But instead of spending any real time on a movie set the only glimpse the audience gets of the industry is a lackluster phone call. Believe me when I say that people don’t want to see a phone call with Leonardo DiCaprio they want to see Wendy wielding her power to corner him backstage at a Victoria Secret Fashion Show. An audience that is going to stick around needs more action.

And speaking of action…is it just impossible to find a television actress that is capable of simulating a real orgasm? As adorable as Robert Buckley is, if the audience is supposed to expect Kim Raver’s character Nico to cheat on her husband for him it has to be hot. There needs to be sexual tension, passion and it needs to be dirty. A couple of over the shoulder gasps of “Oh Kirby” aren’t going to cut it. And while I’m on the subject maybe the post-coital ride home should be left to Diane Lane in Unfaithful who did it much better.

Finally, remember when Carrie Bradshaw waxed poetic about how pink carnations were coming back? Well I would rather watch a rerun of that before I watch a dialogue less Lindsay Price as Victory Ford oversee a parade of assistants flooding her living room with hundreds of expensive yet generic floral bouquets. Never underestimate the desire for clever writing. If this kind of unimaginative stunt is meant to appease the Sex in the City set I’m afraid the show’s producers will soon find that we’re just not that into it.

Bottom line: If Lipstick Jungle wants to steer clear of becoming a sensationalistic one season circus some serious reworking of the characters needs to be done. Otherwise they might as well bring on the car explosions and lesbian love affairs and be done with it.

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