I tuned into the Lipstick Jungle premiere tonight looking for a guilty pleasure. I’m not sure I found it. But I wouldn’t write the show off completely.
First, let me premise this review with the fact that I’ve never watch an entire an episode of Sex and the City; nor have I read any of Candace Bushnell’s books. But I’m not above reading a trashy romance novel or watching chick flicks.
I consider myself a pretty average woman struggling to balance a career, marriage and kids. But to be honest, I’m not sure I can relate with the high-powered lives of these women that were included in the list of New York’s 50 Most Powerful Women. The only list I’m making is the MSNBC features of Newsvine articles.
However, that might be the point if the show is meant as an escape. Let’s take a look at the characters:
Up first is President of Parador Pictures Wendy Healy (Brooke Shields). We are supposed to see her as this overscheduled mom struggling to maintain a perfect life. She has a husband (Paul Blackthorne) that adores her, even if he struggles with his Mr. Mom role, a slew of staff to handle all the crises at work and two best friends to pour her heart out to.
With that kind of support system, most women could rise to power, if they want it. Her klutziness (she spills her purse in the opening segment) is really the only characteristic I related to. And I will say that the struggle in a marriage when one partner is more successful that the other is a legitimate issue.
Then there’s Nico Reilly (Kim Raver, 24), editor of Bonfire magazine. She’s got problems both at home and at work. Married to a professor (Christopher Cousins) who has lost interest in her, Nico starts an affair with a 25-year-old photographer (Robert Buckley) who comes to work for her next week.
Call me a prude, but I’m not really into stories about extramarital affairs. Successful marriage takes constant work. I’m sure that Nico’s marriage issues have happened over time and she obviously didn’t take the affair lightly, but I just can’t relate. I’ve been angry with husband, we’ve had our ups and downs, but an affair has never been an option.
However, I did identify with Nico’s work issues. I’ve recently faced issues with a boss berating me about taking the “mommy track” and implying that my work might suffer. Unfortunately, I think the show sent with a bit of a stereotype making these comments come from a man. Female bosses, as I’ve found out, are just as guilty of making these assumptions.
And everyone has been faced with a co-worker, such as Mike Harness (David Alan Basche) trying to climb the corporate ladder over them. Again I thought it was interesting that they cast her nemesis as a man. I’m sure I’ll offend my fellow gender, but I’ve found that women can be extremely catty and backstabbing if they set their mind to it.
Lastly, we have the single member of the group – fashion designer Victory Ford (Lindsay Price, Beverly Hills 90210). Victory’s biggest dilemma is struggling with becoming a “has been.” But she has a new man, billionaire Joe Bennett (Andrew McCarthy) in her life to ease her pain.
McCarthy was hard to picture as an aloof billionaire, but was more believable as he showed his softer, sweeter side.
The show is betting on New York life, high-powered careers and fashions that I can’t even dream of affording to bring it the same success as Sex and the City and maybe it’ll work. Since I wasn’t drawn to that show, it’s no surprise that Lipstick Jungle isn’t an immediate hit with me.
Maybe I’m too practical or maybe I spend too much time hanging out with guys and children, but this show didn’t ring any bells for me. And the parts I can relate to are the parts of my life I’m trying to escape when I’m watching television.
I might’ve have been interested if it was billed as a romantic comedy movie, but Lipstick Jungle is not “must see” TV for me. I might tune into another couple of episodes to see if it grows on me.
What about you? What did you think of the show? Any Sex and the City fans want to do a comparison? What about you guys, what do you think of how men are portrayed in the series?