I love the Sex and the City series. It is smart, funny, and honest. But after joining the Church in 2009, I had to make the decision about the stuff I watched on TV, listened to on the radio, and what I wanted to expose myself to. To the old me, that sounds prude and archaic, but to the new me, it was smart and brave.
I remember when I started dating a fellow who didn't watch rated R movies. I thought wow, this guy is straight laced. And then, when he asked me to marry him and we had the tough conversation about whether or not I would also adhere to his no rated R movie promise, I wasn't sure if I could do it. There are so many great rated R movies out there! Plus, there are so many PG-13 movies that are even worse than some rated R movies! But honestly... it actually wasn't even a huge deal until Sex and the City 2 came out. All my closest girlfriends (my bridesmaids) wanted to see it. We made plans to go see it. I thought it'd probably be okay if I went without Andy... right? But then I felt ... well, not quite right about it. So I made the tough decision to tell them I didn't want to go. I felt like I was destroying my friendships with them, abandoning them and what we loved so much before, changing into this newfound religious prude that didn't want to watch the second installment of a movie we so loved and celebrated together. Andy told me it wouldn't be a big deal. I felt otherwise.
And then the movie came out. And it was horrible. And all my girlfriends told me how awful it was, not even worth wasting the time to see it! And I thought, well that was lucky. And with that, I decided to commit to no rated R movies with Andy and see if it really would made a difference in my life.
And then we got a clear play early on in our marriage, and were able to watch a ton of rated R movies we had wanted to, with certain language and scenes edited out of the movies keeping the plots in tact. It was a bit choppy at times, sometimes it'd skip, and always I would be on the side googling the movie plot to ensure we hadn't missed any important plot logic scenes. We never missed any. It was then that for the first time I realized there was a lot of awful language that wasn't necessary to the plot line or character development. I remember my English teacher from HS saying if you were really smart, you could figure out how to say something without a curse word. To express the anger or disappointment or frustration with words. Not bad words though. For someone who used to say a lot of F bombs for emphasis (and to be funny, or so I thought...), this was quite the epiphany for me.
I still love the Sex and the City series. If it's playing on E, I find myself watching a few episodes here and there (when my kids aren't around), especially when there are marathons, reminiscing about the times my BFF and I would rent the DVDs from Blockbuster after it was just released and watch it together during college winter break or summer break. In the beginning, we were in shock and disbelief at the audacity of the series. We couldn't believe some of the scenes, the nudity, and the "sex!" But by the time the series ended, we were numb to it. It was just part of the show. It was part of the plot and the show was after all about four thirty something on the verge of forty something girls in the city and ... wait for it, sex.
I know that by watching rated R movies unedited, it's doing the same thing for me. Numbing me in a sense. Making it so that the crude jokes aren't so crude, the nudity isn't so nude, the violence isn't so violent, and so on and so forth. I know that each person is different with their ability to be exposed or to endure something. Just like not everyone will become an alcoholic upon drinking alcohol, or become an addict if they try drugs once, but still... I am grateful for the simple counsel that has inspired our family to stay away from rated R movies. I am grateful for the new videangel.com website that allows you to pick and choose what curse words are silenced, the level of nudity and violence, implied or not, because now it seems like keeping myself away from those great films isn't really that big of a deal, and now we can watch all the rated R movies we want with a rating even better than PG-13. And I am also grateful that my brother, a film major and huge movie nerd, upon hearing I did not watch rated R movies, threw out a few curse words, made fun of me a bit, and then respected my decision and never questioned me about it again. And that E plays edited episodes of Sex and the City on rerun all the time.
These little tender mercies sent to me from my Heavenly Father help me to understand that it was a good decision, full of blessings that I was not aware of when I decided to try it out.