I like Sarah Jessica Parker, but I don’t always like the characters she plays on screen. Carrie Bradshaw? Self-absorbed bad writer with an inability to understand an appropriate dress code! Meredith, from the iconic film The Family Stone? A cold, misguided woman with an inability to understand an appropriate dress code! I see a trend...
Parker is well aware of how people view her characters, and the fact that many critics dislike women characters that aren’t built to be pleasant 100 percent of the time. In an interview with The Daily Beast, she explained her annoyance with the criticism of unlikeable women on screen:
Parker says that she often hears Frances, her character on HBO’s Divorce, described as “unlikable”—“I guess because she had an affair,” she laughed. She conceded that Frances is “exacting and maybe chilly,” but added, “I dig that. I mean, there are millions of different kinds of women and I feel like they all have a story that is worthy of our time—if we are decent storytellers. I always say, well, you know, Tony Soprano was a murderer and people didn’t say he was unlikable, but a woman can’t have an affair without being called unlikable?”
I’d argue that nobody called Tony Soprano unlikable because they called him... a murderer? Mobster tends to get the message across, no?
The lingering legacy of Carrie Bradshaw has saddled Parker with another reality: young women still think they can come to New York City, where people pay thousands of dollars a month for apartments the size of suburban closets, and “make it” (in Jimmy Choos or not). She says:
“Women stop me all the time and they tell me they came to New York, more often than not to be a writer... I’m touched that the city still has some promise to it, because I think it’s important that we are a beacon of—that this is still the place where ideas can be birthed, and that you can leave someplace else that feels limiting and confining… The fact that people can still come here with a dream.”
And she has some words that seem directed at those who still think Parker, well, is Carrie.
“She was a deeply emotional person. She made tons of mistakes. She was raw and exposed. She was flawed. She was ridiculous. She was silly. She was funny, she was smart. She sobbed and you know, pulled herself across a threshold countless times to try to find home. But people thought, you know, they didn’t think it was work for me. I’m like, no, actually, look at all of it. Take your time and look at all of it! And then ask me if it was fun—or do you want to have a serious conversation about the fact that I’m an actor.”
So just to be clear: Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t care if you think her characters are unlikable, and don’t move to New York City to write about your sex life because Carrie Bradshaw is not real.