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Dusting off the Manolos.

Dusting off the Manolos. (photo)

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The brisk advance ticket sales for “Sex and the City 2” confirm what’s already obvious — the films are some kind of new phenomenon, and it would’ve been stupid — perhaps even financially irresponsible in these grim times — not to make a sequel. The market is clearly still there.

It’s not, however, the same market as when the show started. The pro-/anti-“Sex and the City” factions have been circling each other, wielding the same arguments for years. If you like the show, you think it taps into something authentic about the way women bond and talk, or you like the clothes. If you’re against it, you probably despise the consumerism, the clothing-as-validation ethos — as Dana Stevens wrote at Slate while reviewing the first film, “I honestly believe […] that ‘Sex and the City’ is singlehandedly responsible for a measurable uptick in the number of materialistic twits in New York City and perhaps the world.” Indeed.

Still, that doesn’t make SatC worse than any number of Kate Hudson movies (as nicely parodied in a throwaway line in “Kick-Ass”: “Do you want to go see that new Kate Hudson movie, the one where she’s a shoe designer who can’t get a guy?”). The show, whatever its grating elements, was at least snappily assembled, certainly with more craft than the average romantic comedy these days. That British Glamour editor Jo Elvin’s best defense for the forthcoming film is that “it’s window-shopping on a big screen… a film like this is playing Barbies for grownups” speaks volumes. Once upon a time, we’d speak about how “Sex and the City” was empowering (or infantilizing), how the relationships meant something about honest discussion of sexuality.

04202010_shopaholic.jpgIt seems that as the women of SatC get older, their bonding and struggles have gotten less relevant. Economic recovery or no, “Sex and the City 2” will deliver what “Confessions of a Shopaholic” couldn’t successfully sell — fashion porn. More specifically, economic fashion porn (the Abu Dhabi setting, with its connotations of extravagant wealth, is no accident). Which means that the show isn’t titled properly anymore: it’s “Sex and Money” these days, assuming it was ever anything else.

That makes sense when you think of Sarah Jessica Parker’s trajectory from Carrie Bradshaw to the standard rom-coms she’s mostly been making since the show’s end. When you take out the sex, there’s not much left besides money, fashion and whining. If Meryl Streep’s become a viable star as she gets older, it seems the only way for the SATC ladies to age is to strip away any complexities from their personas as time goes along.

[Photos: “Sex and the City 2,” Warner Bros., 2010; “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” Touchstone, 2009]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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