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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Middle age does not occur in a’single fell swoop’

Was it brought to your attention previously? HBO is now airing a television programme that features 50-somethings. With the first episode of the relaunch of “Sex and the City,” the original cast of characters (Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte — sans Samantha) have returned to present-day New York City, 17 years after the show’s conclusion. In fact, it has been shown that humans, and particularly women, are capable of surviving beyond the age of 38. Incredible!

This seems to be the point of view of AJLT, which presents a world of middle-aged folks who are always surprised and uncomfortable by everything they experience, from everyday political and social issues to their own bodies, according to the film’s description.

Among the things that surprised Joy Castro, 54, a writer and professor of English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, were the presence of Black professors, nonbinary children, and queer longings.

When Miranda is engaging with Nya Wallace, the Black lecturer in Miranda’s new human rights law graduate school, she suffers from “foot-in-mouth sickness,” which is one of the “Van Winkle-iest” moments. While cultivating a new acquaintance with the gorgeous Lisa Todd Wexley, an affluent, fashionable Black lady she meets via her children’ private school, Charlotte displays a strange sense of shyness, as well.

As Cheryl Packwood, 60, an attorney and former ambassador, put it, “The programme is now attempting to be woke without success.” To begin with, I didn’t care for the programme since it was so white and superficial. Not until you reach the age of 55 do you start putting in such effort to make a Black buddy.”

Nevertheless, apart from the external concerns of race and politics, the characters seem to be the most uncomfortable with their own bodies and ages, which they refer to repeatedly, strangely, and usually in a loud manner.

It is true that colonoscopies are performed on persons over the age of 50, and you might use this as a source for some significant humour or human drama if you wanted. Although it is true that just using the word “colonoscopy” as if it were a joke reduces it to yet another item on a long list of clichéd “middle-aged troubles.”

To the contrary, rather than illuminating the texture and complexity of midlife, AJLT is bent on just pointing at it from a noncomprehending, somewhat mocking distance, as if to say: How come there’s no mention of the universal issues of menopause, as well as its male counterpart, andropause, on a programme that’s established its name on honest discussions of bodily taboos?

When Harry asks Miranda’s husband Steve, “What’s new?” he is referring to his recent marriage to Miranda. “I got hearing aids,” says the once-boyish and fun bartender, who is now rather blank and uncommunicative. It is true that I am now an old timer. Afterwards, Miranda provides particular medical information that is really beneficial.

However, the series does make an attempt to deal with the numerous challenges that come with growing older: grief and bereavement; strained relationships; shifting sexual desires; and an uneasy acceptance of new societal norms. There is a lot of relevance to this component of AJLT. In Lincoln, Nebraska, Jennifer Brinkman, chief of staff to the mayor, stated, “I sympathise with the asking about what you need from a long-term relationship.” My own divorce is taking place at the age of 50.”

However, feeling this type of shock or uneasiness about oneself, one’s surroundings, and the people one interacts with on a daily basis — and experiencing it again and over again — is not normal. Because being over 50, or being any age for that matter, isn’t a big deal; after all, one has already gone through all of the previous ages. After all, “ageing” is only another name for “living,” and we are all doing it in little steps, day by day, without even realising. It would be great if the characters in AJLT had the same opportunity.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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