Another character post today, largely triggered off by this post by Saumya, about Sex and the City. While it's a great post, it got me thinking about Sex and the City in general.
I'm not a big fan of the movies, but I like the show. I like the shoes, I like laughing at and half-admiring the lifestyle portrayed, and I like Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte (i.e. the heroine Carrie's best friends). In fact, when I watch an episode of Sex and the City, I always check the episode description first - and I find myself looking for phrases like 'Meanwhile, Samantha...' or 'Charlotte realizes that...' or 'But Miranda thinks...' or generally any combination of those names and some sort of similar phrase involving them.
Fact? If an episode seems to revolve almost entirely around Carrie alone, I skip it.
Why? Carrie Bradshaw sucks.
This is the Main Character. The Heroine of the Tale. The Narrator whose voice we have to listen to right through the episode. The Writer of Rhetorical Questions about Men. We're supposed to love her (and I'm sure many SATC fans do). Most of the show's characters are flawed in some way, but their flaws come across with such honesty, humour and sympathy that you can't help liking them anyway. Carrie, on the other hand...
I find that 90% of the time I can't stand her and 10% of the time I feel a little bit sorry for her. That's about it. As a character, she so utterly does not work for me that I often want to beat her on the head with a broomstick.
For one thing, she's unimaginably selfish. I've lost count of the number of times one of the other women has had a genuine crisis (Miranda finding out she's pregnant, Charlotte being unable to get pregnant, Samantha and breast cancer), and Carrie, most of those times, can't do anything but whine about her boy problems. Seriously. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, Carrie is whining to her friends about the most insignificant little details and completely overlooking their (bigger) problems. Occasionally, they'll call her on it (usually it's Miranda), at which point she'll say 'oh. Saw-ree' and then go straight back to whining.
This just makes me think, she's a crap friend and I wouldn't want to know her, let alone be her friend. And the thing about characters (the protagonists, anyway) is that for them to work, you have to either want to be them, or want to be their friend. Otherwise, why would you care to watch or read about them?
(Yes, antagonists are an exception. Plenty of books have made successes out of antagonist-Main Characters. But this isn't one of those situations. Protagonists can be as flawed as anything, but should still be likable. Carrie just... isn't.)
Then there's the way she treats men, notably Aiden. Aiden, for those of you who don't know it, is a flawed, lovely, wonderful guy and one of Carrie's Great Loves. He wasn't perfect, but he loved her and forgave her and he was just nice. But she treats him horribly and eventually 'chooses' Big, who, by the way, I've never understood the attraction of.
That just made me think you're an idiot. And not a very nice person.
I really should apologize for the rant, but I think it's got such a significant point at the heart of it. Basically, that I like Sex and the City. But I'll never buy the DVDs. I'll never love it. And that makes such an enormous difference.
And the reason I'll never love it is Carrie Bradshaw. Were she a small bit part, I could overlook her. But how can you overlook someone who is constantly whining and in your face?
Main characters should not suck.