Lipstick Jungle: NBC
If the networks must do the same show twice, couldn’t they at least do one of them well?
Apparently not. Lipstick Jungle is marginally better than ABC’s shameless rip-off, Cashmere Mafia, mostly because Jungle’s women are a tiny bit harder to hate, if equally hard to believe. But it’s an awfully small margin and not one likely to make much difference to viewers. (Robert Bianco, USA Today (opens in new tab))
The crucial difference between Sex and the City and its knockoffs is the HBO smash was fun, a farcical fantasy. Lipstick Jungle and Cashmere Mafia aspire to be taken seriously as drama. This might explain the cool reception for Cashmere Mafia. Nevertheless, it does have several million viewers, who would appear to be the likely targets for Lipstick Jungle. But if you don’t care for the ABC series, there’s nothing in the NBC show that would make it any more appealing. (Tom Jicha, South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Lipstick Jungle" is the superior product of this winter’s "career-woman pals try having it all" dramedies, but that’s not an especially esteemed sorority…. [It] exhibits many of the same familiar flourishes as its unwanted sibling, punctuated by moments where the women supportively unite in moments of crisis, commiserating over how difficult it is to manage their fabulous lives. Nothing wrong with that per se, except that "Sex" did it better already, and the dialogue about double standards women face has all the subtlety of a Cosmo cover. (Brian Lowry, Variety)
Both series try too hard to imitate the high-gloss “Sex and the City” and miss that show’s saving grace: it mischievously undermined the myth of sex, glamour and happiness in a lighthearted way. That series took an amused, anthropological look at Manhattan dating rituals, which lent a touch of social satire to the wish-fulfillment fantasies. And when it started, in 1998, it was visually fresh and sophisticated….Ms. Shields is appealing but unconvincing, and Ms. Raver is almost as much of a stick figure here as she was as Jack Bauer’s love interest on “24.” (Alessandra Stanley, New York Times)
All three women are likable enough, in a slightly stilted soap-opera way. But the early storylines offer little that we haven’t visited a dozen times before: late arrivals for school events, a husband who feels inadequate because his wife is the power player, a boy toy, workplace crises with high-strung stars. (David Hinckley, The Daily News)
Tragically, everyone has cornball lines that they have to deliver, some worse than others.
Well, you get the picture. All three actresses deserve better dialogue than they are given. But the clothes? They speak volumes. (Linda Stasi, New York Post)
What do women want? Well, they don’t want another migraine-inducing soap opera about the lives of high-strung, whiny female executives in New York. I’m pretty sure of that…. For some reason, the shows that cynically copy the structure of “S.A.T.C.” seem determined to show us that the accomplishments women strive for just aren’t worth it after all. But these programs’ biggest flaw is not that they lack credible portrayals of women. Their depictions of life, even fantasy versions of life, are just false, predictable and cynical, through and through. (Maureen Ryan, The Chicago Tribune)
What to say about "Lipstick Jungle" when the title alone says it all? Power babes duking it out in the big city (because, presumably, if they were rural power babes, lipstick wouldn’t figure in so heavily). Me, I’m not so crazy about reducing an entire gender, particularly my own, to a cosmetic. And as for "jungle," well, there’s only one power species in the jungle, and that’s a cat, a metaphor that just doesn’t seem terribly modern, does it? (Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times)
What keeps "Jungle" from being laughably bad is Shields is so charming and Raver so intelligent in their roles that they carry scenes that should just keel over and die. (Price doesn’t have anywhere near the chops to make anything out of her bubble-headed part.) And the production - directed by Timothy Busfield ("Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip") - has a certain glitz and energy to it. (Charlie McCollum, San Jose Mercury News)
Why now? Just imagine the anti- Hillary forces condemning these two network shows about type-A female personalities, as if they had anything to do with serious achievers. The assertive-to-the point-of-aggressive woman is getting special scrutiny this year….Don’t bother to call it post-feminist or third-wave feminist, just call it tacky soap opera. Really, what we’re seeing here are HBO knockoffs, not election-year commentary. (Joanne Ostrow, The Denver Post)
About the best that can be said of Lipstick Jungle is that it’s not quite as bad as ABC’s truly horrendous SATC clone Cashmere Mafia, but that’s like arguing that Stalin had better table manners than Hitler. Or, for that matter, debating which is more irritating: Lipstick Jungle’s faux feminist twaddle (”I find it offensive that women always feel that we have to apologize for our success”) or its appalling attempts at repartee. (She: ”You may not be as much of an ass as I thought you were.” He: “You know what they say: All men are asses, and all women are crazy.”) (Glenn Garvin, Miami Herald)
I hate "Lipstick Jungle" so much, I may burst into tears and stamp my foot and screech "I want a cupcake!" (Diane Werts, Newsday)
Click here to watch a clip of Lipstick Jungle.
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