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Wayne State University Press

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Sex and the City

Deborah Jermyn

Gender, Media Studies, Popular Culture, Television Studies, Women's Studies

TV Milestones Series

Published: January 2009
ISBN: 9780814332887
Pages: 128 Size: 5 x 7
Illustrations: 13 b&w illus.
Published: January 2009
ISBN: 9780814335642

Good things come in small packages.…Sex and the City, by Deborah Jermyn, is a five-by-seven-inch book that deserves a spot on any bookshelf devoted to cultural studies, media, and women's issues.

— Jan Whitt

With its bold depiction of four female friends navigating the pitfalls of Manhattan’s dating scene, Sex and the City, which aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004, was a unique television drama that evolved into a ubiquitous and widely debated cultural phenomenon. Deborah Jermyn’s Sex and the City investigates the program’s critical and popular success as well as its lasting cultural impact. To give readers a complete picture of Sex and the City, Jermyn draws on close textual analysis of selected episodes, existing critical work on the program, testimonies from its stars and producers, and intertextual evidence ranging from the Sex and the City bus tour to fan guides and Web sites.

In this volume Jermyn explores the show’s characters, its careful generic balance of comedy and drama, its mix of both fantasy and realism, and its dedication to the intricacies of women’s friendships. Jermyn notes that in the course of its six seasons Sex and the City emerged as a kind of controversial shorthand to explore the zeitgeist among a generation of post-feminist TV audiences, each week considering issues surrounding femininity, feminism, sexuality, consumerism, and women’s lifestyle choices. Jermyn argues that, in short, Sex and the City’s success and wider cultural impact invite us not just to analyze the particular accomplishments of its writing, design, and performances but to recognize the contribution and significance that television can have on public debate and life outside "the box."

With the 2008 release of a full-length—and long-awaited—feature film version of Sex and the City, the series proves itself once again to be timely and relevant. Fans of the series as well as scholars of television history will enjoy Jermyn’s insightful study.

Deborah Jermyn is Reader in Film and Television at Roehampton University in London. Her co-edited books include Understanding Reality Television and Falling in Love Again: Romantic Comedy in Contemporary Cinema, and she is author of Crime Watching: Investigating Real Crime TV.

Jermyn demonstrates that Sex and the City was not only a popular show but one that seemed to have had particular importance to female viewers. She strives to place Sex and the City within the context of TV history by citing shows like Friends or The Golden Girls, film history by citing New York-based films like Breakfast at Tiffany's or Annie Hall, and broader cultural studies by citing such works as Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown."

– Lucy Fischer, professor of English and film studies at the University of Pittsburgh

With its account of the creation and development of Sex and the City, and its assessment of the show's television context and remarkable impact, this volume offers an excellent appreciation of its achievement and a balanced academic discussion of what it means for TV and its viewers."

– Jonathan Bignell, professor of television and film at the University of Reading and author of An Introduction to Television Studies, British Television Drama: Past, Present and Future and Popular Television Drama

This is overall a book of significant value whose seriousness of purpose, strong scholarly reasoning and historically informed approach distinguish it as a significant contribution to our knowledge of the complex interrelationships between television, gender, and culture."

– Critical Studies in Television

Good things come in small packages. Part of the TV Milestones Series published by Wayne State University Press, Sex and the City, by Deborah Jermyn, is a five-by-seven-inch book that deserves a spot on any bookshelf devoted to cultural studies, media, and womens issues.

– Jan Whitt

Written with the enthusiasm of a fan while drawing on insights from a range of academic sources, this book offers fascinating background detail about the program's production and reception and a strong argument for the program's significance, not only to its female audiences but also as 'quality' television."

– Jane Arthurs, author of Sex and the City and Consumer Culture: Remediating Postfeminist Drama and Television and Sexuality: Regulation and the Politics of Taste<br />

Deborah Jermyn, who lectures on film and TV at Roehampton University in England, wrote the first academic book on this subject, called simply Sex and the City.

– Robert Fulford, National Post

– Citiation Missing