Friday, May 28, 2010

Schadenfreude and "Sex in the City"

Why is it that the Germans have such a way with words and language? To be able to create some of the combinations that they have is truly remarkable. Where would we be without concepts such as "bildunsroman" (coming-of-age-novel), "weltanschauung" (worldview) and, one of my all-time favorites, "weltschmerz" (world-weariness).
And then there is my TRULY all-time favorite, "schadenfreude", such a great concept that the musical,
Avenue Q, even composed a song dedicated to the idea of "happiness at the misfortune of others". It seems to be a highly misanthropic tendency, but who doesn't occasionally take a slight sense of malicious satisfaction when something 'unfortunate' happens to another person. We aren't talking horrible actions, but, you know, stars that make huge fashion faux pas, an ex to whom something unlucky might happen...
This may not be a true experience of schadenfreude, but I have greatly enjoyed reading the multiple reviews that have excoriated the latest (and last?) addition the "Sex in the City" franchise. I must admit that I enjoyed the occasional TV episode, and while I appreciated some of the humor and some of the relationships in the show, the first movie just about made me want to poke my eyes out. The focus on MARRIAGE and the desperate need to partner up make me associate this movie with that awful song by Beyonce ("All the single women/girls....") which people unfortunately seem to love to play.
Don't get me wrong, I am 100% happier now than I was 10 years ago or so, and some of it has to do with the fact that I'm sharing my life with a great person (and two lovely four-legged creatures), but I really balk at the idea that a person, male or female, but particularly a woman, needs a man to be happy, satisfied and fulfilled. Despite the weak attempt at promoting the idea of the strength of friendship in the first movie, it ultimately ends with a story-book ending. And I hate story-book endings and always have. Afterall, who doesn't kind of like the original Grimm's Fairy Tale version of "Cinderella"? A bit more gruesome but also more entertaining.
And so, as this weekend marks the opening of the summer blockbuster season, I find some pleasure in the bashing of "Sex in the City". Maybe it's thinking about my own woeful attempts to be a single female in a big city which were far from glamorous, maybe it's the self-absorption of the franchise that has finally blown itself up... But, yes, reading the reviews is my entertainment for the day!
On tap for the weekend - definitely NOT a trip to the cinema with one hundred of my closes friends to see the movie and then drink a few Cosmos afterwards. Grading, reading, a hike and hanging out with friends and dogs - that sounds just about perfect to me!


Kim said...

I've never heard that term before. Schadenfreude. I like it. I heard recently that it's actually a very human thing to take pleasure in others' misfortunes (well, minor pleasure...and minor misfortunes). I'm sure it's Darwinian. Anyway, I did enjoy some episodes of "Sex and the City" but I think the notion that men complete women (or vice versa) is kind of silly. I don't expect it to leave movies or books any time soon though, as most people seem to like to believe this idea. My husband adds so much to my life, truly, but it's kind of a mutual growth type of thing. Anyway, I won't be going to the movie this weekend. I don't like crowds...or cosmos. Have a good weekend :)

Anonymous said...

You are so right! If I hadn't met my husband I wouldn't consider my life unfulfilled and I think it's sad that other people believe this is the case. I would have been okay single, just as I'm okay married.

And I don't think I've ever detested (strong word but trust me, I really do mean it) a song as much as "Single Ladies." Beyonce drives me NUTS. Lady Gaga is a close second.