Monday, November 2, 2009

Sex in Translation

Of all HBO's original programs, Sex and the City, has unquestionably had the widest reach having been made both into a feature length film (with another on the way) and syndicated on cable television. But in each of these instances (and likely in those to come) the dynamics of the original property have become inextricably oriented away from the progressive (though limited) program Jane Arthur's describes.

A few months after the series ended in late 2003, TBS began airing re-runs of the show on their cable television stations. Cut from 30 to 22 minutes (to accommodate advertisements) and stripped of its characteristic nudity, sexual content and frank language the "cable-cut" syndicates are utterly sexless and lacking even in their former appreciation of their downtown local. The resultant episodes with their re-cut format and reconstructed content lack not only the authenticity of the originals but fail to capture the individual characteristics of these well-developed personalities instead resorting to the restrictive conventions of tv sitcoms.

While the film retained its language and some of its nudity it too fell victim to the conventions of its medium, forcing the (now heavily airbrushed and worked-on) crew to assume to positions of characters in a two and a half hour plot line. While the writers retains some of the shows original quirks, the unimaginative format played up each of the characters identifiers, effectively turning the women and their male counterparts into caricatures of their former selves,


  1. I also felt like the plotline of the movie was really retrograde compared to the show. I mean, come on: Samantha gains some infinitesimal amount of weight and the other girls all remark on it? Miranda is portrayed as basically 'causing' Steve's infidelity because she doesn't wax her bikini line and is too judgmental? I'd be interested as to other people's perspectives on the film vs. the show.

  2. There was a good deal of writing on this issue (in reviews ect.) but shockingly nothing on the "cable-cut" show. I was shocked that I couldn't find any video mash-ups or articles written after the debut of the first TBS episodes. If I'm not mistaken Sex in the City is the only HBO show that has been syndicated on a major american network.