Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why 'Sex and the City's fairy-tale ending is a lie, part 2

When I wrote part 1 on this topic the other day, I didn't know Grace Leigh had covered the same turf in her recent take on "Breakfast at Tiffany's":

"... Like the ladies of Sex and the City, to whom New York and its male inhabitants are a wild, intoxicating playground, Holly's party-girl lifestyle and subsequent quest for wealth and social status is one in which many 20- and even 30-somethings indulge themselves today, searching for their own happy endings all while recklessly party- and relationship-hopping in a manner that, at times, would make even Miss Golightly blush. And who can blame them, when such a lifestyle is glamorized in films such as Tiffany's and the more recent The Devil Wears Prada, and in TV shows like the afore-mentioned Sex and the City and its male-oriented, West-coast counterpart, Entourage. Yet when these real-life 20- and 30-somethings emulate the less-than-admirable characters they see onscreen, the result usually falls far short of a Hollywood ending.

"The problem? Though Holly Golightly and others may make it seem otherwise, happiness does not just fall into the laps of the undeserving. In real life, love, justice, respect, and other hallmarks of success are earned rather than stumbled upon, and their fruits are much sweeter as a result. Yet when the supposed role models we see onscreen behave carelessly and then have happy endings magically bestowed upon them, it is easy to be misled into thinking that such rewards are just – for our favorite characters as well as for ourselves, no matter what the circumstances. In the real world, however, the fact of the matter is that, when we have done nothing to attain the happiness we so crave, we should expect nothing less than frustration when we fail to find it.

"While Holly Golightly is no doubt entertaining, we must keep in mind that her happy ending is a result of Hollywood magic rather than any actions of her own. Dissolute, self-indulgent, and frivolous throughout the entire film, she strives for no more than a fabulous wardrobe and an enviable social life, yet she has somehow become a role model. However, if we follow in her fickle footsteps, the most we can hope for is a happy ending that is just as magically bestowed upon us – although, without Hollywood's help, this is quite unlikely.

"Thus, rather than waiting for a happy ending to fall into our laps, an event about as likely to occur as Holly Golightly is to stop dreaming about Tiffany's, we should instead strive to achieve happy endings of our own - endings that we have earned through determination, diligence, and grace, and that we will appreciate all the more due to the effort we have made to attain them. And in the meantime, we can leave the fashion advice to Miss Golightly."

 [Read Grace's entire post.]