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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



Yeah, generally my tastes fall into some certain categories. Espionage. Science fiction. Action/adventure. But I don't like to confine myself in those. You stick to what you know you like, you're going to miss out on a lot of stuff. I would have missed out on stuff as widely-ranging as Gilmore Girls, House, and Veronica Mars if I had just let initial impressions stand. In fact, with those three shows, they defy an easy label as much as my tastes (I think) do.

It was with that spirit that I decided to have a look at Lipstick Jungle.

There are, of course, other reasons to look at it as well. I'll address that in a mo'.

Well, these things don't always work out, do they? Being Candace Bushnell's new series, based on her book, it certainly invited comparison to Sex and the City, and in that way I'd call this the less fun version of Sex and the City. There's even an attempt at a Mr. Big type character.

Quick overview: Three friends, a publishing exec (Kim Raver), a film exec (Brooke Shields) and a fashion designer (Lindsay Price), try balancing personal and professional lives as twenty-first century women.

Now, not being a twenty-first century woman myself and also not being one terribly inclined to subscribe to any sexist idea of what men and women can or can't do because they are men or women, I kind of find this being written for someone else. Not me.

To me, this whole thing feels like old news. I'm sure there are many people out there, many women out there, who struggle with the pitfalls of being a woman in power and trying to have a family and like that, but the way this show comes at those struggles is just so on the nose I found it a bit of a turn-off. It lacked subtlety. The kind of subtlety you might need to reach beyond women who wish they were these women (i.e. men). Since I don't imagine that successful women would want to come home and unwind by watching people dealing with the same issues they are (but with more money and/or style).

Though, you know what will get them men is the sex. All three leads spend copious amounts of time in their underwear. I fully expect a certain quota to be fulfilled in each episode.

At any rate, I just feel like most everything in here has been mined before. In fact, if you've ever had a conversation with someone about what women have to do or what they have to be (or think they have to be) to be a successful professional, you'll find it echoed in these five acts.

Kim Raver is the hard-edged business woman who tells Brooke Shields how to fire a guy because she was being too nice. That almost seems a sexist idea in and of itself and leads to the scene where a male sees a woman in power taking action and calls her a bitch. That was so unexpected because I wouldn't think that they'd line up that shot like a tee ball so blatantly.

The end (and spoiler alert here) is both where things get interesting and where I get the idea that they maybe run out of any sense of things being new territory before the first years is over. In Shield's characters first attempt to fire a director, she plays it soft "this isn't really working out the way I think we both want it to" and "you're not really happy are you?" and ends it with a hug. When that doesn't "take" she fires him the mean way. So now the director is going to sue her for making advances (the hug) and being fired when he didn't reciprocate.

The reversal of the typical sexual harassment thing. I knew it would come eventually, but already.

I acknowledge that this isn't exactly up my alley, but I don't see much in this other than a soap. The female version of Big Shots.

Oh, and total waste of Julian Sands. He should be wearing a black Italian suit and threatening people somewhere rather than being a husband to wrapped up in the world of antiquities to notice that his wife has a phone number scrawled in Sharpie on her thigh.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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