To kill some time while waiting for my regular TV shows to resume, I decided to revisit the first/only season of Cashmere Mafia… and I was delighted to spot Anna Camp in the pilot episode, playing a spoiled, liberty-taking nanny, hired (and then fired a few scenes later) by Zoe. This was one of Camp’s first credited acting gigs, but you wouldn’t know it to watch her… she’s remarkably self-assured on screen, and cute as a button to boot! I also have to give a shout-out to Purva Bedi, the Desi actress who plays Juliet’s unnamed assistant… she appears in 3 episodes (almost half the season!), but doesn’t get much to do beyond announcing arrivals and relaying phone messages. Meh.
When I first wrote about the series, back in 2009, I blamed its untimely cancellation on the hectic pacing… and it’s still a little hard to keep track of all the business-speak, second-time around… but now I wonder if it didn’t also have something to do with the characters themselves. As a feminist, I’m all in favour of seeing strong, smart, and successful women depicted on TV… but the problem with the four powered-up protagonists here is that they’re such workaholic elitists, it’s almost impossible to identify or empathise with them. The appeal of a show like Sex and the City was that it gave viewers a chance to vicariously live a life of glamorous decadence, filled with sex, food, and shopping… despite the fact this show is clearly pitched at a similar audience, the characters here are all too busy stressing out over their careers and relationships to ever actually stop and smell the proverbial roses. Yes, they’re all incredibly beautiful and rich and powerful, but you’d have to be crazy to covet their lives… tied to a desk, missing their kids, and getting cheated on by their partners! Where’s the fun in that? Nowhere, that’s where!
That said, I was on the verge of trading this DVD in, but I’ve decided to grant it a reprieve this time… largely because of Lucy Liu, looking ridiculously gorgeous in her high-fashion get-up, and being all adorable with an adopted rescue dog. Bless her.
Incidentally, I made the mistake of picking up the first season of Lipstick Jungle (Cashmere’s contemporary competitor), a few months back, and found it intensely irritating and intelligence-insulting. Again the characters seemed way too powerful for me to actually care about them, and the storylines were just ridiculous (Example: A famous actress exits a police station after almost killing a taxi’s driver and passengers while she was drunk-driving a stolen limo, and the first question the assembled paps ask her is “Who are you wearing?”, just so the Fashion Designer character can get her moment in the spotlight! Gah!!). The only good thing about that show was its highly addictive theme song… which I later identified as ‘The Bomb’ by Bitter:Sweet. I’ve listened to a couple of their albums since, and really love their sound… which is kinda like how Portishead might sound, if Beth Gibbons were a Cosmo-sipping, canapé-scoffing socialite. Fun!