Girls, you’re go­ing to Car­rie that weight

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

I HAVE this idea for a com­edy about a group of Man­hat­tan women, their friend­ship and the hard­ships of be­ing wealthy and suc­cess­ful. It should in­volve a creative type from Sex and the City and a ti­tle that part­ners a gir­lie ad­jec­tive with a dan­ger­ous noun. Stiletto Mine­field, maybe. Or Nail­file Un­der­tow. Exfoliation Brush Ring of Fire. OK, maybe not that one.

But we can’t as­sume Lace Bat­tle­field will be a hit. Nei­ther Cash­mere Mafia nor Lip­stick Jun­gle , from Sex and the City pro­ducer Dar­ren Star and Can­dace Bush­nell, colum­nistin­spi­ra­tion for Car­rie Brad­shaw, re­spec­tively, have done much. Cash­mere Mafia was quickly whacked af­ter lack­lus­tre rat­ings. Lip­stick Jun­gle hung on for a sec­ond sea­son but is un­likely to be men­tioned in the same breath as Des­per­ate House­wives , Grey’s Anatomy and Sex and the City un­less ac­com­pa­nied by the phrase ‘‘ nowhere near as in­ter­est­ing as’’.

Based on Bush­nell’s novel of the same name, the se­ries fo­cuses on three women ( not four; see, to­tally un­like Sex and the City ) as they jug­gle ca­reers, re­la­tion­ships and fam­i­lies. Fraz­zled movie ex­ec­u­tive Wendy Healy ( Brooke Shields) is a high­pow­ered ca­reer wo­man and mother. The Mi­randa of the af­fair, driven Nico Reilly ( 24 ’ s Kim Raver), the ed­i­tor of a Van­ity Fair - es­que mag­a­zine, faces a glass ceil­ing and an un­in­ter­ested hus­band. Mean­while, the col­lec­tion of free- spirit fash­ion de­signer Vic­tory Ford ( Lind­say Price, who was in Bev­erly Hills, 90210 : the no­body’s watch­ing years) flopped, but at least she has piqued the in­ter­est of a bil­lion­aire who is not above us­ing his sec­re­tary to woo her.

Lip­stick Jun­gle is not aw­ful — the run­ning gag about the di­rec­tor try­ing to add lay­ers to a ro­man­tic com­edy is cute — but be­yond the lik­a­bil­ity of the cast, there’s noth­ing com­pelling. The women of Sex and the City may have been suc­cess­ful, but the un­cer­tainty of dat­ing and sex is a uni­ver­sal prob­lem.

Lip­stick Jun­gle and Cash­mere Mafia de­vote too much en­ergy to the spe­cific hur­dles of be­ing in the up­per ech­e­lons of man­age­ment, which is some­thing few of us, no mat­ter the sex, can em­pathise with.

Sex and the City had its share of clunky writ­ing ( six years on and I still cringe at Car­rie’s ‘‘ you don’t move to Napa’’) but the rar­ity of a frank fe­male- cen­tric show gave it a fresh­ness th­ese clones lack.

Even Vic­tory’s love

in­ter­est,

Joe Ben­nett, feels as if some­one de­cided the show’s Mr Big- type pow­er­ful love in­ter­est needed a per­son­al­ity akin to Grey’s Anatomy ’ s McDreamy. He’s even played by Andrew McCarthy who, like Grey’s Pa­trick Dempsey, is a 1980s teen heart­throb refugee.

The prob­lems of fe­male re­la­tion­ships and moth­er­hood could pro­vide an in­ter­est­ing sce­nario to ex­plore in a television show. But overt sex­ism from em­ploy­ers and hus­bands who re­sent their higher- earn­ing wives are pat short­cuts that don’t tackle any new ques­tions.

Per­haps Nappy Bag Viper Pit will.

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