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"Single in the City" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 07/09/2002

There may come a day someday where there is a reality show version of every fictional show. To some, this might be a scary thought, but I donít think it is that bad.

Like a fictional show, the success or failure of a reality show will depend on how good the show is. Like the TV show adaptation of a movie, a reality show version of a successful fictional show has to live up to the quality of the original. The new Womenís Entertainment Network show, "Single in the City," a "real" version of HBOís "Sex and the City," succeeds in some ways and fails in others.

Without knowing all of its intentions, the show succeeds in terms of giving us a peek into the single dating scene (at least the single female New York dating scene.) The women who agreed to be documented, who call themselves the Barracudas, have the same attitudes in dating as Carrie Bradshaw and her friends. These are women who have mixed feelings: they donít want to settle down yet, but they are constantly looking at their biological clocks. They have different attitudes about sex (how casually, how frequently, etc.) They talk amongst each other about their troubles in bed with men. The talk isnít as graphic as the original series, but this isnít a premium cable channel, so itís understandable. I was wondering why there wasnít more bleeped stuff or something. Does this mean the women on the HBO series talk more graphically than the way real women talk, or were the women in "Single in the City" saving their really juicy dish for when the cameras werenít rolling? From what women I work with have told me, women are just as filthy as men are when talking to each other, but they are more discreet about it. Maybe in future episodes the women will let their guard down a little more and let us in.

Where it fails is allowing in the humor. As much as "Sex and the City" is a peek into the trials and tribulations of four single women, it is still a comedy. "Single in the City" is not a comedy at all. As I stated before, I don't know if that was intended or not, but it would have been nice. There were a couple of funny parts (like one scene where the guy that one of the women was dating that evening actually thought he could convince her to have sex in the back of a cab), but overall, it is a show that isn't trying to tickle our funny bone. I think that maybe I might be getting the wrong idea about the show in this case.

The other failure of the show I know I'm not getting wrong: the narration. The thing I've noticed lately about documentary reality shows is that the most interesting ones are the ones that do not include a narrator. This isn't PBS after all! One of the things that makes NBC's new show "Crime & Punishment" so compelling is that it doesn't have a narrator, thereby making it just as interesting as "Law & Order." I know that "Sex and the City" has Carrie narrating the action, but in "Single in the City," the narrator is a different person...not one of the four women. "The Real World" has gone through eleven successful seasons without a narrator, so why does this series need one? It's distracting. I would rather see the women address the camera "Real World" style so I can get an insight into how they are feeling at the time when going on these dates.

I will still watch this show, if for no other reason than to maybe pick up on some secrets about women's attitudes about dating that I didn't already know. It is kind of like reading Cosmo to get some inside tips (no, I don't do that!) Maybe after they get used to the cameras, they will let their guards down and share some deep secrets that they didn't want men to know. After all, aside from me, your friendly, self-sacrificing TV geek critic, how many men are actually watching the Women's Entertainment Network?

1/2

Ratings System:

DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!

Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!

 

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