sex and the city

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And Just Like That – Series Review

Published February 4, 2022 by Maryanne
And Just Like That promo photo swiped from Google search

I’ve said many times that I’m a late bloomer when it comes to Sex And The City. While the original series ran, I was living my own Carrie Bradshaw life, writing for a series of newspapers in NYC and then for a local New Jersey paper after 9/11. I was living alone and dating up a storm. By the time the second movie was out, I was happily married and working for myself as a book editor and gearing up for writing my first book. Sex And The City was not on my radar. Until one day my business was a little slow and I was under the weather. I laid down on the couch to chill and put on the television. I fell asleep, then woke up in a daze and saw one of the early episodes of Sex And The City. I was hooked!! I caught up on all the episodes I missed and watched both movies within a matter of weeks. Over the years I re-watched several times. It was a fun show and reminded me why I’m happy I’m no longer single. Many of the episodes reminded me of some bad ex. I’ve invested in the characters and had a love/cringe relationship with all of them. (I wouldn’t say love/hate because I honestly don’t hate any of them, including the least popular Jack Berger).

I wasn’t going to watch And Just Like That, mainly because I do not have HBO/MAX. However, once I heard Big died–wow, that made me sign up in a heartbeat. The scene was so tragic, it stuck with me for days. A fake TV character died, yet felt like I lost a friend. Something this intense deserves a watch. And Just Like That, I purchased an HBO/MAX subscription.

During the 10 episodes of And Just Like That, I had mixed feelings.

As a professional writer/editor, I feel there shouldn’t be holes in any story. In And Just Like That, there were many. That’s what irked me the most. TV should be relaxing, not work. We shouldn’t have to use our imaginations in order to justify sloppiness. And that’s exactly what I did.

For example, they start off with Bitsy running into the girls, Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte. Bitsy asks where Samantha is. Charlotte says, “We lost her.” (Meaning she moved away to England after a fight with Carrie). Bitsy’s face dropped because at first she thinks Samantha died. There is no mention that Bitsy’s hubby Bobby died 18 months ago, but we find out at Big’s funeral. So, why is Bitsy so jolly when her husband had just passed? Major fail #1, in the very first episode.

Fail #2. The children. According to the timeline, all the kids should be older than teenagers. If we use our imaginations, you can assume the time of a TV show or movie stretches out a bit, making time go slower than real time. What was supposed to be 20 years later is only 15 years later. But then how would that explain…

Fail #3? Why are the characters appearing so much older than mid-50s? This is the biggest fail. This is what is angering many fans, including myself. It’s so ageist. First of all, these are high society characters. They have the money to go to the gym, access to the best doctors, the best of food, they don’t have money worries that middle and lower class people do. They SHOULD look and BE healthier than portrayed! But we have Steve with hearing aids, Harry getting a colonoscopy, and Carrie getting hip replacement. I’m a good three years older than these characters and have none of their health problems! Nor do I sit on TV every night eating desserts as Steve and Miranda do. Which brings me to the most obnoxious comment ever, from Michael Patrick King, producer of the show. He said that 90 percent of married couples are unhappy. Uh, where did he get that demographic? I’ve been happily married since 2011 and with my husband since late 2005. ALL — and I do mean ALL of our coupled friends have been together even longer, some since the 1980s and are HAPPY!! YES MPK, we are all HAPPY! I don’t know what planet you come from, but perhaps try hanging out with more positive people? Don’t be such an angry little elf. Happiness exists! Single people, do not listen to MPK!

Fail #4What happened in Cleveland stayed in Cleveland. In one of the later episodes, we have Miranda surprising her lover Che by taking off to go meet with her in Cleveland unexpectedly. The show ends with Miranda gleefully saying, “I’m in a rom com!” But the next show picks up with no mention of Cleveland, yet Miranda surprises Che by showing up at her apartment unexpectedly. Che gets taken aback from this. So, was it okay that she showed up in Cleveland, but not at the apartment? Or did Miranda back out and not go to Cleveland. I guess we’ll never know.

There were also other cringe moments and timeline fails that I don’t care to get into, but you can find out yourself by watching the series, or reading the reviews of others. I’d rather spend some time on the positives of the show.

But it had its moments

With all the messiness, I did LIKE the show. I just didn’t love it. Nor did I “hate watch” it. And I would love to see a Series 2. Here are some of my favorite moments from the series:

  1. Hello It’s Me. When Carrie and Big were listening to Big’s record collection and Big sang “Hello It’s Me” to Carrie. Totally romantic. It reminded me so much of my own relationship. We dance and talk and listen to records. So old fashioned and cool, which is why when Big died, I felt a part of me died too. I never take my marriage for granted to begin with, but this episode really had me thinking. What would life be like without my husband? I can’t even imagine! I felt Carrie’s pain–Big time (no pun intended, that’s Carrie’s job).
  2. Steve’s reaction to Miranda breaking up with him. David Eigenberg’s acting was so realistic, I almost cried. We had another epic Eigenberg moment during a painting scene where Steve asked Carrie about Miranda and Che’s relationship. You just wanted to reach into the screen and give him a hug!
  3. The new characters. No matter what we thought of these characters in the beginning they all grow on you. By the end of the series, the viewer becomes interested in their lives too.
  4. The fashion. While there were many fashion fails, there were plenty of wins, along with cute hairstyles. Many fans complained about Miranda’s wig, but I liked it.
  5. The final episode had two fab moments–when Carrie texts Samantha and they agree to meet for lunch in Paris; and when the producer of the podcast gives Carrie her own podcast called “Sex And The City.”

And Just Like That, my Thursday morning show is over. I really hope there is a Season 2. What do you think?

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

Overnight Success Is Not a Real Thing

Published June 26, 2019 by Maryanne

Monkey AroundIs it business or monkey business? 

During my years as a journalist, people contacted me to publicize themselves. (Or just for a great story in general). It was a dream come true writing about bands (both famous and up and coming). I shared the story many times about how I interviewed The Jonas Brothers before they were a household name.  Those years were an amazing run in my life.

Then I started getting into writing books. And public speaking.

All of a sudden, publicists were coming out of the woodwork wanting to make me a “star.” Five years later, none of them impressed me.

Finding a good manager/publicist is like figuring out who to give your virginity too. It may take a long time. It may not happen at all. But whatever the case, don’t just give money to anyone.

I didn’t settle for love and ended up with a very happy marriage. So, why should I settle for a publicist/manager? In the end, I want it all — including a dream publicist/manager!

My goal in finding one would be:

  1. Someone who doesn’t lead with money. When someone (like the last scam artist) suggested that I create a Go Fund Me page in order to use her $7K per month services, I ripped her. I told her, if I was interested, I’d pay CASH in PAYPAL. And that Go Fund Me pages are to support those in real need, like people with cancer or hurt animals … Not publicists. Her plea of desperation for money was a major red flag. She spoke about money before she spoke about what she could do for me. Our phone consult lasted a mere five minutes while she put me on hold several times to talk to her friends at the restaurant. How can you ask for money when you barely spoke to someone? She didn’t even purchase one of my books, so how could she promote me? SCAM ARTIST ALERT! Another one said he could get me to warm up for Tony Robbins if I paid him $50K. He said Tony Robbins always wants him to be his opening motivational speaker act, but he’s too busy with his own stuff. I researched, and asked around. Nothing told me there was any truth in this man working with Tony Robbins.
  2. Someone who believes in me. Several years ago I exhausted myself interviewing potential managers. During one interview, a retired guy said, “Are you any good?” I ended the interview quickly. Why? Because he didn’t do his homework before the interview. If he read my newsletters and saw that I was consistently working for myself since 2009, he’d KNOW I was good. To me, being at the top and not lasting isn’t a good thing. But being somewhere in the middle and having longevity IS! I interviewed a woman who was putting me down while wanting the job. It reminded me of the “Sex and the City” movie when Carrie Bradshaw is interviewing potential assistants and asks, “So, why do you want this job?” It’s mind-blowing that people would want to work for you, but don’t get you. It makes no sense and is sure to go nowhere fast.
  3. Someone with a great track record. Yes, I know a few people like this. They are so good they don’t have time to work with me — yet! I say YET in high hopes that someday these women/men may have a window of opportunity for me. This could be another pipe dream–kind of like how some women wait for their dream guy to divorce his beautiful wife. But when you have in mind something special, it will manifest. It always does. Just don’t force it.

The thing is, when it comes to publicity, just like anything else that is good, stable, and successful, I say, do not rush your muse. Cherish your precious creative talents like you would your body and soul. Do not give them up to just anybody.

What you have is a GIFT from God and the Universe. Slow and steady is the key. Overnight success is not a real thing.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

When it Comes to Reviews, Bad = Bad Ass!

Published July 31, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3767“It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.” — Mae West

One of my favorite episodes of “Sex and the City” is when the character Smith Jerrod is the new poster model for “Absolut” vodka and referred to as the Absolut Hunk. That is, until some jealous person scrawls over the ad,  if my memory serves correctly, “Absolut Ass.” (Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).

Smith Jerrod was so put off by the cruel, unnecessary act that he almost quit his acting career. Yet his gal, Samantha, encouraged him. She explained once the gays and teenyboppers embraced him he’d be a hit! And he was.

But dear readers, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need justification from fans. As an artist, writer, musician, etc. — you are already GREAT!  The fact that you are an artist willing to share your work is something to be proud of. Having the desire/will/dedication to publish (or self-published, doesn’t matter) — more power to you! AND … if you are making money to boot, darling you are so THERE!

So, now you have it all — guts to share,  people who enjoy, people who buy, and the blessing of not relying on anything else but your art for a living. Then the bomb drops … a bad review.

Thank God I learned early in my career that a bad review is the total opposite of what you’d think. A bad review is not “bad” at all. In fact, it’s “bad ass.” It simply means: people are reading! It also means people are being provoked by your work, and/or people are jealous (though I like to believe I’m strong enough to accept a bad review without using the word “jealousy” to go tit for tat with a hater). AND it can get you MORE readers — yeah!

When I was a writer in New York City for several publications at News Communications, one of the writers/editors was trashed in a “letter to the editor.”  I was new to the industry and feared she was going to get reprimanded or fired. Luckily I was wrong! The editor cheered her on and said, “People are reading you!” She became the darling of the news room.

A few years later, when I was an editorial assistant at The Montclair Times, I got my first bad review. I had written a feature article on the three tattoo shops in the town. A man from NYC, obsessed with our New Jersey newspaper, griped about hating tattoos and wondered: “…if Maryanne Christiano has any tattoos herself!”

I was ecstatic! Someone was reading me! My first bad review took me to Cloud 9!

That same man wrote letters to The Montclair Times, every three weeks, like clockwork, usually griping about something someone wrote. I saved the funnier ones in a folder. Part of my job as editorial assistant was to confirm “Letters to the Editor.” Eventually I built up a relationship with this man and we became friendly with each other. Another staff member said to me, “I can’t believe you get along with that guy!” This man was infamous for attacking the car of a NYC politician, so the fact that I got along with him was impressive.

Bad reviews don’t mean anything. They are no reflection on your character, not even your talent. Even best selling authors and the hottest rock ‘n’ roll tickets in town get bad reviews. Take for instance, one of my favorite bands, Queen. After seeing them for the third time two weeks ago, I started re-reading “The Queen Story” by George Tremlett, a book I had since I was 13.  I had long forgotten how they were trashed by the music magazines when they first came out. In fact, two journalists in very reputable newspapers trashed them after their amazing show with Adam Lambert. One was so off the money,  I was tempted to write a “Letter to the Editor” about his bad review.

“Go get ’em, Tiger!” my husband said to me. Though after a little research, I realized the journalist was around my age and a musician himself — a good one at that. I re-read the article and though I disagreed with him saying Brian May had a bad voice and his guitar solo was too long, I realized the dude was all about Freddie Mercury, and I’m okay with that. I couldn’t bring myself to trash a fellow middle-aged journalist and Freddie lover. However, his bad review inspired me to visit Google search and give the “thumbs up” for every excellent review I could find about the Queen + Adam Lambert world tour.

I rarely write bad reviews about musicians even though I’ve made a living as a music journalist for many years. Though I’ve given many bad reviews to venues I’ve received bad service, like Whole Foods and a hair salon I won’t mention because the owner stalked me down, harassed me on the telephone and demanded I take the bad review off Yelp. The only reason I did was because we had a mutual friend so I decided to take the high road. I deleted the bad review but will never forget the bad service: a stylist leaving dye and foils in my hair while she went to the bathroom to fight with her husband on a cell phone! (The result, my hair got fixed, two hours later; but she got a divorce. Bad karma, right?)

Bad reviews I’ve given other writers, I can count the times on one hand. The only times I trashed a book were two that were super popular and it was definitely no skin off their ass; and another book that criticized every band she wrote about, because to me that said, “well, then, why even bother?”

I never got people writing about things they hate when reviews come across so much more exciting when you write about what you love (and are knowledgeable about!) Bad reviews never stopped me from seeing a band, seeing a movie, buying a book or a CD. I’ve even befriended people who have gotten “bad reviews” from others. I fail to judge by anyone’s opinion except someone I really trust that knows me inside and out.

The thing I’m getting at here, is that bad reviews are just like mosquito bites. Annoying, but not nearly the end of the earth. The classy way to handle them is just ignore them.

But do embrace those who get you. Some may totally, some may a little, some not at all but like you anyway. What I’ve also learned, as a creative person, though some people may like me and not my work, others may NOT like me, but love my work. The greatest compliment ever was when it got back to me that a person who didn’t like me was trashing my character, but added, “She’s a great poet though.”

Not everyone is going to like everything about you. Some might not like ANYTHING about you. The cool thing is, it’s no reflection on you or your merit in the art/music/publishing world. The bad critic has no real power over you — especially when others are digging what you wrote and you’re selling art, books, articles, etc. and have been doing so for many years. In fact, a bad review may do many good things, like getting the right people curious or inspiring your true fans to defend you.

While there’s always room for improvement, never beat yourself up over a bad review. Take all reviews with a grain of salt. Don’t compromise your style or voice to appease a critic. And for God’s sake — keep creating!

Sex “Bomb” and the City

Published August 8, 2013 by Maryanne

sex bomb

Two years ago I watched “Sex and the City” for the first time. Fell madly in love with the show and watched every episode — several times.

The other day I got an Amazon gift card and decided to check out the book.

I was disappointed.

Here is the review I posted on Amazon:

I watched “Sex and the City” for the first time two years ago and fell in love with it. I knew the book was going to be different — and in most cases the book is better.

I somehow missed the original “Sex and the City” column in the Observer, so I had nothing to go by. However, around the same time there was another sex/dating column that ran in the New York Press by a young lady named Judy McGuire. The column was called “Date Girl.” McGuire’s column was hilarious and a great read! When I worked in NYC I looked forward to Tuesday evenings when new The New York Press was published and I read “Date Girl” religiously. I think I was expecting “Sex and the City” — the book — to be cute, fun, cool and honest like McGuire’s writing always was.

So I got the “Sex and the City” book a few days ago. It was a turn-pager only because I was wondering if it was ever going to get better. I didn’t “get” the characters as many were dull, egotistical and needy. It was like, “yeah, whatever.”

Not to mention, the book was poorly edited. Grammatical mistakes practically jumped off the pages.

There were some funny parts, like the “nanny camera” story, but for the most part it was boring, depressing and definitely not empowering for a woman.

Shoes That Make a Point

Published March 11, 2013 by Maryanne

One Toe

Cartoon swiped from Google search

I love going shopping with my husband because he’s an artist and he truly appreciates me trying on clothes.

I’m petite, only 5’2″ at most and my husband adores this, so he loves picking out clothes for me. And he has that artistic eye that can automatically see what looks good before you even put it on.

That said, I always have a blast shopping with him. When I’m torn between two pair of tights — which color matches better — I can always count on him to give me the perfect answer.

Yesterday we had a beautiful day in New Jersey and decided to do some shopping in Red Bank. After record shopping, a certain clothing shop caught my eye and I’m like, ‘Let’s go in here.”

After buying three great pieces, I spotted some cute polka dotted shoes. They were slip on mules but with a very pointed toe. “What do you think?”

Like me, Dennis loved the polka dots, but hated the pointy toe. He explained that I don’t have a “pointy toe” personality. What is a “pointy toe” personality?

“Someone who is  [and he made a weird noise that sounded like “eeehhhhh/nayyehhhh”] in your face. Your personality is sweet and subtle.”

Ahhh, I knew EXACTLY what he was talking about! Kinda like the women who were shopping in that very same store. Very loud. Major sense of privilege. Has to be center of attention. SCREAMING in your ear while you’re shopping. Baby talking to their children, giving no respect to fellow customers, acting as if the world belongs to them — and them alone. Eww!

(Not to mention that he pointed out that pointy shoes make your toes look deformed — and he definitely has a POINT! — pun always intended!).

Then he continued to point out how he used pointy shoes to draw wicked characters in cartoons.

His observations made so much sense. I thought about the show where I saw the most pointy shoes ever … “Sex and the City.” Whenever Carrie Bradshaw was bitching about a relationship, there she was, walking in the street, toes pointed 10 to 2, and those pointy shoes coming straight at the camera!

Now, I love this show, but the image and the association with these types of females — “EEhhhh/nayyehhh” could have easily replaced anything that was coming out of Sarah Jessica Parker’s mouth. No wonder so many men hate that show! It truly stereotypes a certain kind of woman that is self-serving, whining and always putting herself first. The pointy shoes just add to that character. If you notice, whenever Carrie is in a vulnerable situation, she’s barefoot. And I never realized this before!

But of course the Sarah Jessica Parker is likeable. She had to be in order for the show to be successful.

The real life women in those shoes are as horrid and wicked as the points portray! They’ll push you out of their way when they are looking at something. They will stand, practically on top of you. They are totally oblivious to what is around them. They will shriek into their cell phones no matter who they are annoying.

If this is how these women treat their fellow female shoppers, I can only imagine how badly they treat their husbands! But then again anyone who marries a woman like that must be equally as obnoxious so I don’t feel sorry for them one bit!

So, as always, when shopping for my summer shoes, I will continue to gravitate to shoes that say sweet and pretty: ballerina flats, open-toe sandals, feminine platforms, or cute punky Converse sneakers. And the beauty of it will be that as always, my feet will feel just as good as I take off the shoes as they did when I first put them on.

No corns or blisters on these happy feet! Bring on the summer!