“Nor did Abraham say: Now I have become an old man, my youth is gone, my dream has not been fulfilled; I became a man and what I yearned for you denied me, and now that I am an old man you fulfilled everything in a wonderful way. Grant me now a quiet evening; do not summon me to new battles; let me rejoice in what you gave me, in the consolation of my old age.”
You know how sometimes when you’re going through a lot (“going through a lot”) there’s nothing to be done for it but rewatch season three of Sex and the City on endless loop, whether the “a lot” in question is good or bad or not quite either? Just, Oh, I’m not exactly qualified for my own personal life, time to check in and see if Kim Cattrall sprawls as magnificently in a nightgown as I remember. (She does.)
One rewatches season 6 of Sex and the City primarily to meditate on Lexie Featherston and to contemplate the greatness of Kristen Johnston’s body of work. (She has a history of beautiful titles, from her autobiography Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster to her characters in Austin Powers, The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas, and Hurricane Bianca 2: From Russia With Hate: Ivana Humpalot, Wilma Slaghoople, Roksana.) One rewatches season 1 to feel like a wise old time traveler, season 2 to punish oneself, season 4 to reestablish trust in one’s own opinions, and season 5 to hate Richard, but one rewatches season 3 – in my admittedly specific experience – in order to reorient oneself in one’s own life. Rewatching season 3 is necessary for reorientation, redirection, regret, recrimination, solace, uncertainty, powerlessness, and the ability to commit oneself to action. In season 3 the man Steve – who has previously been an often-pleasant, often-draining boyfriend to Miranda – becomes a couch, and I think that’s an interesting and useful transformation to witness.
If you are my age, the odds are at least half-decent that you saw Sex and the City before you saw Twin Peaks and are therefore incapable of seeing Kyle MacLachlan as anything other than Trey MacDougal, a friendly and impotent cardiologist with the most fantastically upsetting mother in narrative history. I have now seen the pilot episode of Twin Peaks three times, and will almost certainly see it a fourth at some point in my life; if precedence is anything to go by, I will never see another episode before I die. (Precedence is nothing to go by, of course.) I don’t think I could bear to watch Trey MacDougal pretend to be an FBI agent. I have no desire to watch Trey MacDougal comment on a cherry pie; I want to watch him order the tomato basil salad after Charlotte drapes her palm over his forearm (for a second I forgot the word for “forearm” and started typing “arm-shin”) and say, “Doesn’t this look like a little plate of heaven?”
But I have nothing particular to say about Trey or Charlotte, never having been told I reminded anyone of either of them. It’s too easy to say that I have gone from Miranda to Steve; let us say that I have gone from resenting the possibility of comparison of Miranda to resenting the possibility of comparison to Steve. Miranda and Steve have a single Couple Issue, which is slightly unusual among SATC couples, who usually have several (Carrie and Aiden have Big, smoking, safety, dogs, the invisibility of Aiden’s low-key and relaxed brand of selfishness, security, “complicatedness,” the problem of sincerity; Samantha and Richard have cheating, territory issues, money and power, over-40 male panic disguised as suavity; Charlotte and Harry have looks, WASPishness, Jewishness, the fact that Charlotte refuses to live in a body); their issue is that they cannot tell the difference between when Miranda is being unkind to Steve versus when she has a job (sometimes she does both).
An average episode goes something like this:
MIRANDA: sex-ways, I’m exhaustion and ten briefcase, Steeeeeve, I abjure the dog!
STEVE: Mirandaaaaaaaa. it’s me, Steve. Steve, come on, come aaahn, caaaahhhmmmahhnnn, Miranda, the bahr, I gotta – Miranda!
MIRANDA: Steve!! I, uh, [grimace-smile-snort of disbelief] I don’t have phones for this, you orphan-man!
STEVE: The Knicks are calling me, lawmother, heart-in-drawer ensinglette, I’m a Kleenex and a tank-top and the sneakered man – I Scoob – I Scoooooob!
[An escalator descends from the roof of Miranda’s Upper West Side apartment, sending Steve sprawling to the floor and splitting his kneecaps open into angry red flowers.]
STEVE: Miranda, come back. Miranda, come watch me, you gotta come watch me and Scoob and the gang fight the Knicks, Miranda you gotta believe in me – it’s me, Miranda, it’s me, Steve –
MIRANDA: And I don’t! I don’t! I don’t have, I’m not, I can’t be meantime, with men, why isn’t it, where do boyfriends go? Where do boyfriends go? After partner?
[Miranda is swept up by the elevator’s mechanism and born swiftly up towards heaven, where she will be surely crushed to death against the grinding love of God.]