Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex And The City significant male characters: Harry Goldenblatt

Harry Goldenblatt was not Charlotte's type. In fact, very few men were.

Charlotte's ideal man, the one she wanted to marry and have a family with, was a handsome, upper class, Park Avenue WASP. Easily the fussiest of the four S&TC babes, Charlotte often didn't make it past the first date, even with men who fit into her narrow category.

One day, she bumped into Dr Trey McDougall. He fit her specifications to an almost excessive degree. He was handsome, charming, and a heart surgeon. Charlotte decided he was impeccable husband material, and went about ensuring the courtship followed all the necessary 'husband-snaring' rules - including not sleeping with him until after the wedding.
For a while, everything went smoothly. During their short engagement, the only thing Trey seemed to have against him was an overbearing mother, whom Charlotte thought she would learn to 'manage'. However, everything changed on the eve of the wedding. After a few drinks with the girls, Charlotte decided to waive her vow of celibacy, and in the process uncovered an alarming problem. Trey 'couldn't get it up'. The next morning, she asked Carrie's advice about this 'little' problem as they were standing in the foyer of the church, seconds before the wedding march began to play. Carrie mumbled something reassuring and Charlotte went ahead with the wedding all the same, seeing as (in the words of that episode's commentary) she was standing in the church and wearing a $20,000 wedding dress: No matter what the problem, she was getting married.

In the months that followed, living a life that appeared as charmed as the pages of a Martha Stewart lifestyle magazine, Charlotte and Trey's marriage was fast falling apart. Fast forward... separation and divorce. Divorce settlement: Trey's Park Avenue apartment.

While settling her divorce, Charlotte met Harry Goldenblatt. He was the 'ugly' lawyer she requested because she didn't want the handsome lawyer she was initially assigned to see her going in for the kill with Trey. Harry was bald, sweaty, clumsy, uncouth, and - probably his greatest sin - Jewish.

After a few dates and some very hot sex, Charlotte realised she was in love with him. He was the very antithesis of her perfect man, yet she had to concede she'd already met and married the perfect man, and got a far from perfect life in return. However, there were hurdles to overcome in this unlikely love-affair. Harry was set on marrying a Jewish girl, and Charlotte had a lot of work to do first in convincing him to marry her and secondly in converting to Judaism.

In the end, Harry was worth all the trouble. He was everything Trey wasn't, providing Charlotte with an understanding, passionate partner who fought as hard as she did to fulfil her dream of having a family through adoption. When the series ended, some fans were disappointed with the happily-ever-after finale. The pairing of all four protagonists into monogamous, heterosexual relationships was seen to be too neat and predictable by some. It was inconsistent with the feminist themes embodied in the series, and frightfully conservative.
I disagree. What I love about the series is how the characters develop and change. In one sense, the series follows a 'Hero's Journey' type template. In the end, the women have gone full circle. They have found a place that is home, but in the process of discovering 'home', they have become very different people. Ultimately, they do find happiness, and this is intensely satisfying, not because they've each finally found a man, but because of their considerable personal growth. In the first series, Charlotte would certainly have overlooked Harry. It's now obvious that it would have been to her detriment, and it is a credit to the writers that they've illustrated the change in Charlotte's character so beautifully.

1 comment:

Lisa66 said...

Harry is definitely my favourite. I love him for the way he loves Charlotte, the way he desires her and the way he pursues her - even though he thinks he is "batting above his average." The most endearing thing about Harry is his willingness to make sacrifices for Charlotte. There are little things like waxing his hairy back, and then major sacrifices like giving up the chance to father a child of his own. I think one of the most touching scenes in the whole series is the one where he tells Charlotte it's OK if they never have kids.

Of course Charlotte has to make her own sacrifice. She goes from being a Protestant Princess to a devout Jew.

The things we do for love!