Monday, March 3, 2008

Cashmere Mafia, Why Bother?


I have watched every episode of the Cashmere Mafia so far. I started watching because one of the four women in the group of friends, Caitlin is allegedly a lesbian. Well, maybe not, maybe bi, or maybe nothing. We find out early that Caitlin is someone who has never had a successful relationship, and two weeks is considered a long courtship for her. The suggested reason for this is that she hasn't figured out she's a lesbian yet.



Until one fateful day at the office when she and another woman have "eye contact" and the woman, Alicia, senses a connection and asks Caitlin out. They go out drinking, there's a couple minutes of conversation, where Caitlin admits she's in uncharted territory, followed by their first kiss, in public out on the busy New York sidewalk. At this I'm already scratching my head. Okay, this woman has never been with another woman before and is unsure about the whole thing, so...to make her feel more comfortable, I'll take her to a very public place and lay one on her. That should take care of it. Somehow this development does not deter Caitlin, and she comes out to her friends after the second date, and second public kiss, over coffee and danish. They don't bat an eye, and wish her luck. All perfectly normal.


Time goes by, all the other three women's characters are highly developed, as well as their relationships with the mates. We get to see some great interaction, chemistry, spats, etc. And although I'm not straight, there seems to be some level of realism here.



Hey, where did Caitlin and Alicia go? Oh, they are going to a baby shower for one of Alicia's many pregnant, straight looking, lesbian friends. At the shower, which takes place in a restaurant, one of the alleged lesbians asks Caitlin and Alicia, "If you two decide to have children, where will you get your sperm?" Caitlin looks shocked, as she should, who the hell would ask a couple that's been together for all of two weeks to a month? The time line is fuzzy since we never see them as a couple. Is that supposed to be second date conversation material for lesbians now? WTF? I mean seriously. Caitlin jumps up from the table and runs to the nearest hot man she can find. Can you blame her? Kind of. Anyway, he's just oozing charm and personality and between the interaction they have in the bathroom hallway, and then at the bar, we see more chemistry than we've seen between the two women for the whole of their "relationship". We never see the relationship develop between the two women, it's just there, instant relationship along with expectations and commitments, out of nowhere, while we were watching Davis screw around on Juliet.



Why write in a lesbian character if you don't know how to, or won't, develop her? This makes no sense to me. I know more about the other three women's spouses or boyfriends than I know about Caitlin! In a final insulting blow, we discover that Alicia is pregnant, but was afraid to tell Caitlin, and Alicia's ex-girlfriend comes back feeling entitled somehow, even though the pregnancy occurred after the break-up. As soon as Caitlin decides to accept her relationship with Alicia, and the unborn child as part of that world, Alicia breaks up with her to get back together with her nasty ex-girlfriend. Wow, now I hate lesbians! Man, they are messed up. Could the writers of Cashmere Mafia have done a less interesting, more bigoted, more "tv-stereotypical" portrayal of lesbians? I don't think so.



Now they don't seem to know what to do with Caitlin's personal life, so she doesn't have one at the moment. She's just work work work. Yes, the other's get to have personal lives, but that's different. Heterosexual relationships are everywhere, and easily studied, unlike the rare illusive lesbian relationships that may not really exist at all. It could just be fantasy. At least that's what you'd tend to believe after following this storyline, or lack there of.

16 comments:

TheWeyrd1 said...

Okay, for the record they kissed THREE times, one kiss a week for the first THREE weeks of the show! That's still a record for primetime network TV. Also for the record, in the time between the pilot being filmed and the show being pick up the actress playing Alicia became pregnant and would be showing. So the writers had a choice: they could hide Alicia behind furniture or write the pregnancy into the show or have Caitlin date a succession of people including men. I think the furniture idea might have been best, but on the other hand I don't think, from all that I read on the show, they intended to keep the Alicia character long term. All the characters' work and relationship problems are part of what makes for good drama and comedy. That said, it doesn't mean that ABC did a good job with the show. For one thing, they had the producers CUT key scenes between Caitlin and Alicia (like a bedroom scene). But I wouldn't completely blast the show and totally discount what they attempted to do (before ABC made them cut stuff) because it did go alot farther than any OTHER show on primetime network TV with women anyway (go figure why they let things roll with the guys in Brothers & Sisters). And I still like the way Bonnie Somerville plays Caitlin and Lucy Lu as Mia tickles my funny bone too (in fact the two together would be a great show). So who knows, maybe they'll be back next fall...it could happen...maybe.

RED MOJO said...

I don't have any inside information, if I insulted the wrong people, I apologize. The writers may have done and excellent job, and it's the network that left a bitter taste in my mouth. In any event, what was seen, was pretty ugly, and frankly, I'd rather remain a mythical creature, than be seen in the light they are shining. I don't feel I owe them a "Thanks for the effort." I would agree that the rest of the show is well writen, and I like the characters.

Benjamin Boudreau said...

Queer as Folk, better or worse? It's the only gay show I've watched and I have to say I was a bit distracted by the pure smuttery of it all.

While gay men get more face time on TV, I'm still not sure if we're moving away from the promiscuous and butt-of-the-joke roles. Probably not...fags are a hoot.

As for Cashmere Mafia, I much prefer SNL's Lady Business

http://tinyurl.com/25dqru

Benjamin Boudreau said...

Oh...should clarify. Ben = card-carrying member...not bigot.

kj said...

wow. i'v never seen this show but you and theweyrd1 have done an excellent job filling in the blanks. i would have the same reaction as you,rm, to a superficial trite character, not to mention superficial and trite relationships.

did you like stanford in 'sex and the city'? i did--actually, i loved every single character.

the good news is reality's coming, inch by inch. i think back 10 years...

thought provoking post, rm. thanks.

roro said...

Awesome post - I think what's so frustrating is there are so few queer storylines on tv to begin with. And personally, I'm totally starving for those stories. So when the story in question turns out to kind of suck the way you describe, it's really, really disappointing.

RED MOJO said...

benjamin, I like Queer folk. Cashmere Mafia is different because it's on network tv, and it's not a gay show, it just has a gay character. I appreciate that they tried, but it was disappointing to say the least.

kj, Things are better than they were. From that perspective this was great. However, it's not 10 years ago. I do like sex in the city.

roro, My point exactly. I'm grateful they are trying, but the networks need to allow it, if they are going to allow it.

citizen of the world said...

Mmm, maybe they wanted a token gay character to tap into a growing demand, but didn't quite know where to go from there? I don't know. Seems like at least an effort, which is good thing.

RED MOJO said...

benjamin, Thanks for the link to SNL's spoof on Cashmere Mafia, very cute.

Slip said...

This is a travesty! How many Cashmeres have to die just to clothe these one season wonders?

VE said...

I don't know; I haven't seen the show but they all look highly developed in that picture!

RED MOJO said...

citizen, Yes, effort does count, it's still disappointing when it's poorly executed.

slip, the needless slaughter of cashmeres for this show is possibly one of the sadest events of the year thus far.

ve, yeah, but they, huh?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I couldn't watch the show after the first few minutes. It seemed like an inferior new incarnation of Sex and the City, which was great, but imitators usually are not, no matter how much eye candy they offer.

It sounds like they wrote a gay character for the titillation value, but didn't give her a life so what was the point?

Ces said...

Is it appropriate for me to laugh because I am cracking up and could not stop laughing. You are a very good writer Red, I'd rather read you than watch this show.

RED MOJO said...

heart, yes, like I said, "why bother?" I'm sure it helped with the ratings, but it was kind of bait-and-switchy.

Ces, Yes laugh away! I do try to inject humor into most of my posts, and I do hope that comes across.

khushi said...

The writers may have done and excellent job, and it's the network that left a bitter taste in my mouth. In any event, what was seen, was pretty ugly, and frankly, I'd rather remain a mythical creature, than be seen in the light they are shining. Cashmere Mafia is an American television dramedy which ran on ABC from January 6, 2008 to February 20, 2008. The series was created by Kevin Wade, who also served as executive producer alongside Darren Star, Gail Katz, Jeff Rake and Michael Pressman, with Susie Fitzgerald co-executive producing. Peyton Reed directed the pilot