I’m A TV Viewer…Get Me Out Of Lipstick Jungle!

At half past eleven on Monday night, I caught myself yawning for the umpteenth time through Lipstick Jungle (Living +1) and wondering what all the fuss was about. Created by DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, from a novel of the same name by Sex And The City (SATC) author Candace Bushnell, it’s Living’s new baby. Albeit without the pzazz, energy, humour, wit and originality of SATC. To support its new acquisition, Living launched its biggest ever marketing campaign; partnerships with Coffee Republic and Heat magazine (which created a Living-branded faux back cover) were just for starters. I even saw a ‘Lipstick Jungle’ logo on a pavement on London’s Kings Road.

Yet for all that activity and hype, the return was just 200,000 viewers. Including a very bored yours truly. In short, extremely disappointing for Living. Embarrassing even.

Lipstick Jungle revolves around the lives and loves of three women: married mother-of-one movie executive Wendy Healy – played by Brooke Shields. Married magazine editor-in-chief Nico Reilly (24’s Kim Raver), and fashion designer Victory Ford (Lindsay Price, best known here for her role as Janet Sosna Saunders on Beverly Hills 90210). So far, so what? is what I say. OK, it’s only the first episode and it may yet improve (SATC didn’t find its feet immediately either) but it left me cold.

Everything’s so blah – the script, the characterisations, the fashions, the interiors…The person that stood out, the one that immediately intrigued, is Victory’s Mr Big – billionaire knight in shining armour Joe Bennett. He’s played with assurance by 80s brat-packer heartthrob Andrew McCarthy (Mannequin, Pretty In Pink, St Elmo’s Fire). I want to know more about him; I want to find out what makes him tick – can’t say the same about anyone else.

Initial stateside reviews weren’t exactly enthusiastic; The New York Times called it a "wooden clog of melodrama squeezed into a flimsy, satin and marabou mule". Entertainment Weekly said it’s "full of awful lines", while showbiz bible Variety said SATC: "did it better already" and America’s TV Guide called it "excruciatingly self-derivative". Over here, The Independent said: "Lipstick suffers from dialogue that is at best clunky, and at worst toe-curlingly inane." As for moi? My feelings can be summed up with a shrug of the shoulders and one word: meh.

Today I am mostly lovin’ – I went to a press screening for The Second Coming, the third-season opener for Heroes. I’ve got to admit, I switched off during the tedious second season. However, from what I’ve seen, it’s back on track. Save the cheerleader, save the world! Can’t resist this one either; ZelebAir’s viewing figures are shockingly bad. It’s official – it’s a flop.

Today I am mostly hatin’ – Apologies to those that loved it, but Lost In Austen went out on a damp squib of a final episode. Nice try ITV, but back to the drawing board me’thinks. 

MSN Editor Coops
Don’t miss a trick – Add MSN Reality TV Agent to your IM contacts

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I’m A TV Viewer…Get Me Out Of Lipstick Jungle!

  1. grannykaz says:

    Hmmm.  I really liked Lost in Austen, and was thoroughly enjoying it – thought it was a great idea…BUT…have to agree the last episode was a bit pants!  Very weak ending – almost like they thought "insert expletive here – it\’s only supposed to be on for X weeks – now we gotta finish it" and then got really lazy.  The series could have made more of the one (sorry rubbish with names) who came through to our time, for a start.  Sigh – kinda losing the plot – suffice to say they got lazy, and it was a disappointment :o(

  2. Coops - says:

    Hi grannykaz, thanks for your comment about Lost In Austen. I tried really hard to stay with it, but I\’d find my mind wandering. I wasn\’t gripped I\’m afraid.

  3. Russell says:

    Is it not rather unfair to criticise a programme while admitting that you turned off, or didn\’t pay much attention? Saying, "I\’ve got to admit, I switched off during the tedious second season" (of Heroes) seems to suggest that when things slowed down (which they certainly did, as acknowledged by the producers), you simply gave up. Not all shows can be constantly interesting; it is this \’entertain me NOW\’ attitude that sees increasingly ridiculous and overblown tripe infecting our screens. Season two of Heroes was a slow-burner, as have been many other incredibly successful and enjoyable shows. Saying, \’Basically, I didn\’t watch it\’ is a rather poor comment, as is stating that a programme was poor because you found your mind wandering. Sometimes a programme requires you to pay attention, rather than demanding you do so via loud noises and flashing lights.

  4. Coops - says:

    thayden, I do appreciate that there is a \’slow burn\’ element with some TV programmes – Lipstick Jungle may well fall into that category and I acknowledged that. As I said above: "OK, it\’s only the first episode and it may yet improve (SATC didn\’t find its feet immediately either) but it left me cold." Bear in mind that this is a TV show treading very familiar territory with nary a USP (unique selling point, for the uninitiated) that I could see. I wasn\’t a huge fan of Futurama, SATC and Green Wing in the beginning, but at least they had … something. There was nothing in Lipstick Jungle that particularly grabbed me, apart from Andrew McCarthy. Little wonder my mind wandered at times. I am, thus far, indifferent. But so are a great deal of critics and viewers (200,000 tuned in). I may not feel that way in the future which is why I\’m not giving up on it yet. You say: "it is this \’entertain me NOW\’ attitude that sees increasingly ridiculous and overblown tripe infecting our screens" and I\’m loving the irony as you\’ve perfectly summed up Lipstick Jungle. All that and it didn\’t entertain me…As for Heroes, I make no apology for literally and figuratively switching off halfway. When the creator of the show has to issue an apology to fans, as far as I\’m concerned, that says it all.

  5. Sati Marie says:

    Egh. I watched it too, and while I\’ll probably give it a couple more episodes, I\’m decidedly unconverted. I wasn\’t a huge SATC fan – I\’d watch it sometimes, and find it half funny half obnoxious – but at least it had…something. Lipstick Jungle (quite aside from the terrible name, which might well have turned me off before I even watched) was just flat.
    Quite aside from the fact that it had very little humour (at least for something calling itself a comedy drama) and the lines that were supposed to be sharp and witty instead seemed old and tired to me, the whole concept of corporate power-women is just overdone these days, IMO. It was great in the 80s and 90s, but in 2008 it just seems kind of trite. Frankly, I\’m sick to death of seeing books and movies and TV stuff about "strong, confident, intelligent women trying to make it in a man\’s world". I want to see programmes about strong, confident, intelligent women who are…I don\’t know, kindergarten teachers. Veterinarians. Shopkeepers and librarians and receptionists and computer programmers. If they absolutely HAVE to play the "man\’s world" angle, I\’d settle for firefighters and plumbers. Either way, something that nornal women can relate to. Shows like this seem to send a message that the only way these days for a woman to be considered successful and a credit to her sex is to be a doctor or a lawyer or a world-renowned designer or a corporate bitch. While there\’s nothing wrong with being any of those things, they\’re not the only things of value that a woman can do, and that kind of message is as outdated as the old idea that a woman\’s value lies in her abilities as a wife and mother.
    Ehh, maybe I should go yell at the creators of the show. 🙂

  6. Coops - says:

    Thanks for your comment Sati Marie Frost – I absolutely concur. As you may be aware, a similar show to Lipstick Jungle went up against it stateside. Cashmere Mafia was the brainchild of SATC, Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210 writer/producer Darren Starr. It starred Lucy Liu but that didn\’t stop it from bombing and it was cancelled. Lipstick Jungle has been renewed for another season and I\’m kinda curious to know why. For that reason, I shall stick with it, but I\’m not enthralled on the whole.

  7. Onnica says:

    Ladies, I do have to agree with most of what has been written about Lipstick Jungle – I thought I was alone in my disappointment. I am always a little wary of pilot episodes but I really had the impression that all the actors turned up for the first day of shooting not having met before. How are we supposed to believe that these women are best pals when they don\’t seem to?? I have decided it\’s not worth staying up until 10pm for, so I may try again with the repeat at 9pm…if there\’s really nothing else on. I guess lightning doesn\’t strike twice for Ms. Bushnell…It IS good to see Andrew McCarthy again though – I grew up watching his movies and will forever be a fan!
    I think I\’m the only one who really loved Lost in Austen – fair comment though, it did run out of steam a bit towards the end – but it was a very original take on an overdone work of fiction.

  8. Coops - says:

    Here are more comments, sent in during my absence, about this blog entry:
    From:    Heidi – I have to admt that I am liking the programme although would be nice to have a few more characters in it and some well known celebs making an apperance.   
    From:    krissi – got to say,got my flatmate to sky+ the first episode for me while i was at work sunday night,came home and sat down eagerly in front of the tv – and its a rare occassion that i will watch tv – and waited to experience this amazing nugget of tv gold that we were promised………………turned it off after 20 minutes and went to bed!oh well,win some,lose some.but it will be a while before i venture towards my tv remote again.
     From:    whatizname – I disagree, I think lipstick jungle is a refreshing change from all the drivel soaked shows about how great this bloke or that bloke is, or the cop show formula which has been done to death and is (i.m.h.o) is an indication of lazy writing; just how hard is it to have 2 spin-offs of a cop show where the -same- things happen to people in the -same- job, but in another part of a country-thats basically what the 3 c.s.i show are all about. Then you have S.V.U, Criminal intent, Law  and order etc, all very similar, and I think that some shows I just mentioned were spin offs as well.  It\’s a good, funny show -not- about men and its not as easy to write as a cop show seems to be. I doubt you\’ll have long to wait before it\’s dumped just like Jericho or Bionic Woman.
    From:    karin – I think the woman who plays Victory Ford is totally wrong for the character. She just doesn\’t suit the part. If one character is not convincing it can spoil the whole thing. They should have had a more zany, full of life, mad type like character. The actress who plays the part is just simply DULL. She has no screen presence what so ever. I find her irritatingly unconvincing in the part. The story lines are ok but a few of the actors need to be changed/replaced – Victory Ford, her love interest and Brooke Shields husband, replace these 3 actors with more convincing ones and it might work better.
    From:    emdybrunette –  It must be just me who likes this new program "Lipstick Jungle".  I have seen three episodes so far and i actually think that it tackles more on serious issues rather than in SATC which mostly concentrates on fashion and sex.  L J has a more complex characters and the approach to tackling with family crisis and marriage issues are far more mature than that of SATC.  Yet L J still has its fun side of things when the girls get together, it may always be a poor copycat of SATC to most people but for me its still OK and i enjoy watchin it.  I also like watching my all time favourite Andrew McCarthy, Ive loved watching him since Mannequin.   
    From:    Sky – Absolutely right. To much like SATC. If they had set it anywhere but NY perhaps they might have got away with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s