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Reading Sex and the City (Reading Contemporary Television) Paperback – March 18, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although HBO's Sex and the City has won Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards, film studies lecturers Akass and McCabe are peeved that some find the show a "'worthless pile of swill' with no cultural relevance." With this wide-ranging collection of essays, they set out to dispute that view, calling on various contributors to reveal the myriad ways of interpreting the show's plot and characterization. Sex's narrator, Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), details the exploits of gal pals Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte, simultaneously exploring issues of sex, independence and relationships from a decidedly female perspective. The book's most heated debate centers on whether the overall image of women on the show is positive or negative. Are Carrie and company third-wave feminists who won't conform to a preconceived image of emancipation? Or are they enmeshed in a traditional yearning for Mr. Right? In the 21st century, according to most contributors, happy endings are relative. The book covers a wide array of topics, such as the symbiotic relationship between fashion and costume, and historical representations (by Woody Allen and Theodore Dreiser, among others) of single New York women. Some writers criticize the show's image of men and the instances of lesbian homoeroticism, claiming both detract from the celebration of women, sex and gay life. Others enjoy walking in Carrie's Manolo Blahniks. Most of the analysis is thought provoking, and the majority of the clearly written arguments allow readers to make the final judgment. Some viewers may not crave such scrutiny, but other fans will enjoy the added depth. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Sex and the City, with its trendsetting fashions and frank discussions about sex, has been iconic from the get-go, and these collected essays analyze its commentary about modern-day society. Joanna di Mattia examines Carrie's reactions to her two most significant suitors, the sexually exciting Mr. Big and the romantically inclined Aiden. David Greven compares the strange guys the women often encounter to The X-Files "freaks of the week." Astrid Henry sees the women's enduring friendship as the biggest symbol of female empowerment in the show. "One of the most important themes is the value of female friendships and the role of these friendships in helping each of the . . . characters to understand herself and her life," Henry notes. And what book on Sex and the City would be complete without a mention of those famous Manolo Blahniks? Sarah Niblock examines the shoes' creator and their significance in an urban setting. Anyone who loves Sex and the City and appreciates how it reflects contemporary times will want to read these smart, accessible essays. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Reading Contemporary Television
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris; First Edition edition (March 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1850434239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1850434238
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,590,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Waren on August 11, 2005
Being a critical media scholar and (Yes,fan of the show) this collection of insightful essays is a media scholar and/or feminist scholar dream come true. If you are looking for deep "dishy" style of gossip behind the show you will be sadly disappointed. "Sex and the City" is a show that will go down (no pun intended) for letting women reveal and talk about love, sex and relationships in a honest true fashion, regardless of how you feel about the characters and their "impossible" lifestyles. I always marvel at how this show often broke ground by often crossing gender and cultural guidelines within its audience base. I am intrigued by how universal the show is and how it makes me a little mad that some people want to dismiss it as a silly women/gay show.

Split into five parts the book touches on sex and relationships, the social and cultural impact of the show, female identification, narrative text and intertextuality within the show, and of course fashion. The last essays being a great deal of fun as they look at the famous "Sex and the City" tour in NYC, fandom and the intersection of being a scholar and bridging fan base gap as well. Editors Kim Akass and Janet McCabe should be applaud for their thought-provoking and meaningful work, I would quickly snatch (again no pun) any critical reader that these ladies do on any series. A critical celebration of "Six feet Under" has already been published this spring. I am "dying" to read that one. (ok, bad pun intended!)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Houser on October 30, 2006
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The essays in this volume cover the first five years of the six-year run of the HBO original series Sex and the City. The first four sections of the book are comprised of scholarly articles on the subjects of (1) Sex, Sexuality, and Relationships, (2) Socio-Sexual Identities, (3) Fashion and Cultural Identities, and (4) Narrative, Genre, and Intertextuality. The fifth section contains mostly brief personal essays about the authors' appreciation of the show, and as such is the weakest in the book. I especially enjoyed Susan Zieger's essay, "Sex and the Citizen in Sex and the City's New York" in which she discusses one of the dilemma's facing third wave feminists, the conflict between identity politics and "do it yourself" citizenship. In it she observes "DIY citizenship is a consumer fantasy which always encounters the reality principle of identity politics." Mandy Merck's "Sexuality in the City" was also noteworthy. She engagingly addresses the often-discussed issue of whether Sex and the City is the product (and projection) of gay men's imagination (i.e., the producers) or an authentic depiction of contemporary women (noting that most of the episodes were penned by women).

There's a lot of good stuff in these essays. While readers need to be fairly familiar with the series, its characters, and plotlines to get the most out of this collection, anyone with an interest in media or culture studies will be able to appreciate what the authors have to say. The book is indexed and has an excellent bibliography. Another fine volume in the Reading Contemporary Television series.
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By Si on October 17, 2009
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These ladies did a great job with this book! Thanks for all the wonderful insight!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany Lindenmuth on October 24, 2006
this book is great! it tells you everything about every sex and the citian, every episode, the actors/actresses, trivia, glossary (you'll have to read the book to find out what i mean by gloss.), and much, much more. if you love sex and the city, you'll love this book.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sofia Smith on October 1, 2008
Just curious if a women who chose to have children and live a married life might find this book at all interesting????
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