For example, in Sex and the City, although the women are praised for being the non-typical housewife and instead possess this glamorous ideology of being a successful, single women outside of the home, we cannot ignore the role that men play in their lives. Although Carrie may not NEED a man (she is successful and stable in her career without one), it is evident that her happiness fluctuates with how well her relationships, specifically her relationship with Big is doing. For example, in the Sex and the City movie we see Carrie go from being the happiest bride-to-be in the world as she poses in Vera Wang for a magazine spread to her being so down in the dumps that she sleeps for days on her what should of been honeymoon and then drowns herself in alcohol any time she gets. The article talks about during the Sex and the City show, "Carrie's sex life and those of her friends act as research for her weekly newspaper column" (315). Since this show is based on white, heterosexual characters, the sex life of these ladies, and thus, the success of Carrie's column, is completely dependent on the characters' relationships with other men. Let's face it, the different men Samantha is sleeping with every weekend or the struggles and drama related to Charlotte finally finding and marrying her prince charming and becoming pregnant by him make for great television, but the show would not be half as exciting without the drama these women go through in their many relationships. Arthurs says, "the women's single state is a necessary precondition for their central preoccupation-sexual relationships, and how to achieve sexual satisfaction" (317).
Likewise in The Hills, Spencer, the lead male role, possesses great power in the show because he somehow has the power to manipulate Heidi into thinking her relationship with him is worth losing her relationship with Lauren, ultimately adding to the drama as the show's producer's create awkward run-ins between the couple and Lauren. Spencer's ridiculous sayings and actions make for great television because people can't get enough of how full he is of himself and how crazy he acts, so, he draws a lot of viewers to the show, and I hate to say, but without him there would be much less drama and the show would be less entertaining.
All in all, I agree with Levine and Arthurs that the shows are centered among and targeted mostly to women, however, the male roles in the show bring in most of the drama that young teenagers today seem to obsess over, and I feel like we overlook how powerful their influence can really be.