Cashmere, Lipstick, Sex… and a City

By Nina Spezzaferro 18 To 24 Insight Archives

It’s been nearly a decade since Sex and the City premiered on HBO. While shows like ABC’s Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy and Samantha Who? have all successfully tackled the 18-34 female demographic, no show since has attempted to clone the HBO series’ success until Cashmere Mafia premiered on January 6th.

I was in junior high when Sex and  the City debuted on HBO and obviously too young to neither watch nor appreciate the show. However, the series found new life on DVD, TBS and CW affiliate stations. New generations of young women, myself included, have been able to live vicariously through the cast of memorable characters even though the women’s lives now seem outdated without such modern technologies and complications as text messaging and Match.com. But most devout Sex and the City viewers have already viewed all 94 episodes more times than they’d like to admit. Even though the Sex and the City movie is set to hit theaters this spring, women in the 18-34 demographic still yearn for a modern weekly drama that accurately and cleverly depicts the lives of women in New York City.

Darren Star created Sex and the City and while he did not personally create Cashmere Mafia, the series still bears his name in that his company produced the show. Candace Bushnell wrote the book on which the Sex and the City TV series was based. She was also a writer and co-producer during the first two seasons of the show. Bushnell also wrote the novel that inspired NBC’s Lipstick Jungle which premiers February 7th. But can Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle hold a candle to Sex and the City?

Critics seem wary of Cashmere Mafia. Amy Larocca of New York Magazine says of the series “ [It is] as if it were written by someone very far away imagining a cold, hard city in which a woman can get a schmaltzy marriage proposal on a Monday and then be dumped five days later because she beats her fiancé out for a job.” Larocca is referring to Lucy Liu’s character, Mia, whose tall, handsome and seemingly perfect boyfriend thoughtfully proposes to her in the first five minutes of the pilot. By episode two, she’s single, promoted and enjoying her new corner office without so much as a tear.

It seems the series is so intent on demonstrating how career-obsessed, shallow, modern woman struggle to balance work and a personal life that all reality is lost. The jokes aren’t funny; the male characters are largely unfaithful buffoons and the chemistry among the four main female characters has yet to be seen, but the fashion is great… I’ll give them that.

Can the show be saved? I hope so. The first few episodes of Sex and the City were weak as well. It looked as if the show would drudge on as the cast of single female archetypes argued over whether or not women could date and have sex just like men. But as with any great friendship, viewers needed to get to know the characters over time.

Kristen from E! Online conducted a Save It or Sink poll. To date, roughly half of the responses have been to save Cashmere Mafia, but perhaps only until Lipstick Jungle can take over.

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