Remember Carrie Bradshaw and her trio of New York City romping friends? For six seasons they entertained us with the travails of their friendship and love lives. Despite the title, the show was really about relationships, not only with lovers, but also with friends and work.
After recently watching an episode, I started thing about what drew me to the show in the first place. My life could not be more different from the urban uptown lives of these women. I have no $1000. shoes, no fancy apartment on the upper east side, and no designer wardrobe. I don’t go to clubs and drink expensive cocktails. Nor do I dream of possessing these things or experiencing the lifestyle of these women.
In successful literature, television or movies, there is an underlying universal truth, that when we see it, makes us relate to the story. None of us are aliens or intergalactic troopers, but we can watch Star Wars and relate to the concept of good versus evil. We can imagine being on the right side, fighting for justice. We watch an old episode of I love Lucy, and although we don’t live in the fifties, we can relate to the mishaps of a zany red head who means well but doesn’t always deliver.
My favorite shows are always the ones where I find and connect to a universal truth. I love the sappy but heartwarming movie While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. The main character, Lucy, is lonely and dreams of having a family when, accidentally, she finds one. The pull of family is something that I relate to and that draws me in every time.
Another example is It’s a Wonderful Life. I watch it every Christmas, and it never gets old. George Bailey always does the right thing. He works hard and sacrifices and always tries to help the folks of Bedford Falls. When things fall apart, he struggles, only to be lifted up by those he has helped along the way. The universe truth in this movie is a strong one- your life matters. Don’t we all want to believe that?
Unexpectedly, Sex and the City gave me things I could relate to. I understood work focused Miranda, striving to make it as a lawyer. I admired sweet Charlotte, who upheld high standards, wanting what is best and right. Though I first thought I had nothing in common with sex obsessed Samantha, I admired that she not only knows what she wants, but she has the guts to go after it.
That brings us to Carrie, who often opens the show writing on her computer. She takes her experiences and then considers and rejects views about everything as she tries to make sense of the world through writing. Though I had no idea when I originally watched the show, and I have no sense of being inspired by her, in one way, I have followed in her Manolo Blahnik wearing footsteps. I too contemplate events and try to make sense of them by writing. I am always looking for the bigger picture. What does it all mean and how can we use it to be better?
Carrie understands what it is to change. “Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back,” she says. “Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.”
And there is the universal theme. We strive, we fail, we love, we laugh, and in the end, we all want to be someone great.
What universal truth do you find and relate to in your life? I would love to hear your book, movie or television universal truths!