…and the City.
I also love the Wizard of Oz.
The night before last, as I was surfing channels with the remote, I came across the episode of Sex and the City where Miranda and Steve are moving to Brooklyn and the ladies each have an opinion about Miranda’s move across the bridge. That same night, TNT was featuring classic movie scenes and I saw Dorothy confronted by The Wicked Witch of the West after she arrived in Munchkinland. These two events, coupled with the events commemorated this week, allowed for somebody, somehow to put their peanut butter in my chocolate, form this idea in my head and give life to this post.
I admire Sarah Jessica Parker’s character of Carrie Bradshaw (pre Mrs. John “Big” Preston). After all, she lives in New York, is a writer and loves life. With the exception that I live in Florida and that I only own about two pairs of good shoes, we have a lot in common.
I also love Charlotte York’s enthusiasm for tradition, Miranda’s no-nonsense outlook on life and definitely find Samantha’s passion for (must put this delicately) passion, very engaging. The ladies of Sex and the City are by far four of the best characters ever written for television. They live parallel lives to the four main characters from the Wizard of Oz with Carrie playing the protagonist, doting Dorothy Gale, as her friends play the Scarecrow (brilliant Miranda, anything but brainless), Tin Woodsman (the sometimes cold, teflon-coated Samantha with a heart of gold) and the Cowardly Lion (timid Charlotte who can find her roar when pushed).
And just like the city of Oz is an ever-present character in The Wizard of Oz, Sex and the City also holds another ever-present character: the fifth lady, the unnamed one, who stands regally and with distinct subtlety labors in the background while our four ‘Sex’ ladies romp around her. Unwillingly brought to her knees one day (now I will ask you to get you mind out of the gutter…) she now stands again for she is non-other than ‘the City’ part of ‘Sex’: she is New York.
No television project has ever captured the essence that is this city better than this show. Manhattan, the lovely little island and all its environs has been creatively worked into the storylines, has been displayed in the background (but never in the back row) and has always played a prominent part as Carrie and company’s not so silent sister whose concrete jungle sidewalks (think yellow brick road, but more worn and leading to more places, including to Wicked on Broadway) ushered the girls to some of their favorite haunts.
Sex introduced us to Magnolia Bakery, (the now defunct) H&H Bagels, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park, the Staten Island Ferry, The Hamptons, The Plaza Hotel, Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien, Serendipity 3, Junior’s Cheesecake, Prêt-A-Manger, West 14th Street, too many restaurants and clubs to mention and, despite being pretentious (Central Park West penthouses) and at times flashy and gaudy (Times Square), it has never upstaged the girls presenting each of them in their best light. And while some of us knew about these places already, SATC made them accessible, real and served as a visual Frommer’s Travel guide for our next trip into ‘the City’ (if you are walking through Central Park on a bright summer day it truly does look like the Emerald City).
This week we saw many pictures of New York during some of its more trying moments and we saw the resurgence of a broken town and community who had no choice but to move forward and up.
When I watch Sex and the City, I am reminded (as I wrote before) how the fifth lady, who one day was brought to her knees, pulled off a feat that not even trailblazing Carrie Bradshaw or cyclone, house-toting Dorothy Gale could muster: While on her bare feet, without the benefit of a humbug Wizard or the magic of a “Good” Witch, the fifth lady lifted herself up, dusted herself off, swallowed her tears, clicked her Jimmy Choo-less heels three times and saw herself home (a place like no other), to stand taller and prouder than ever.