Once upon a time in the ‘90s, two lovely British ladies called Edina and Patsy created all sorts of trouble for themselves in the confines of a stage that we were supposed to believe was a luxurious, yet tiny and hardly decorated, apartment in London. These two women were inseparable, and together consumed large amounts of booze and drugs while raising Saffron, a too-serious college student who did not seem to be able to leave her mother’s home and who, as we all remember, was Edina’s daughter.
Amidst an explosion of utterly dysfunctional female bonding, everything was a joke: substance abuse, child neglect, emotional blackmailing, co-dependency, feminism, cougars, fashion, wealth, you name it. It was a ridiculous set-up. We as the audience may have been in love with Edina and Patsy, and we may have even respected and longed for some aspects of their lives (i.e. endless time to hang out with your best friend, an enviable sense of humor, speaking your mind, etc.), but we did not necessarily aspire to be like them, and surely we knew we could not be exactly like them. And that is because it was an obviously absurd world, a shameless impossibility, a total absence of consequences, an endearing fantasy that delved head first and unapologetically into the ridiculous. The obvious joke was on Edina and Patsy, and they carried it proudly. It was awesome.
According to Sex & the City 2, we are supposed to believe that ridiculous tasteless yet expensive dressing is cool (go shopping!), that love in relationships is shown by gifting vintage Rolexes to men and black diamonds to women (go shopping!), that everyone everywhere in the world wants desperately to be (and shop!) like the U.S., and that you can revel in utter economic independence and have endless leisure time and great jobs (and go shopping!) without ever actually, well, working. But all of this is not a joke, and you are supposed to aspire to be (and shop!) like these women, as well as, under the pressure of a well articulated capitalist discourse, come to ignore the fact that you know you can’t, and, above all, feel very bad for not being able to do so. And go out and get a credit card if you don’t have one, and start purchasing your way into a lifestyle as close to this as you cannot buy but may be able to trade debt for. The difference will be, obviously, that as opposed to the superficial team of uninteresting characters in this movie, for you, there will be economic repercussions. Consequences, if you will.