The Cashmere Jungle’s Lipstick Mafia

This was the week it finally happened. I confused Cashmere Mafia and Lipstick Jungle. I was watching both last night, one after the other, which probably had something to do with it. It's a mistake that I would not make again even if Cashmere Mafia wasn't done for the season.

Here's exactly what happened. Caitlin was in trouble with her boss for their makeup company having been dropped completely from the Fashion Week lineup. Caitlin was tasked with finding a designer in need of help. “Oh perfect,” I thought “Victory is in trouble with her fashion designing and could surely use the boost.”

It was so simple. It was so easy. I thought it was a little too obvious for the producers of the show to have concocted such a scheme; Victory has been in trouble for weeks and there Caitlin is, all of the sudden tasked with helping a designer during fashion week.

The only problem with my thought is that Caitlin and Victory are on two different shows. When I say “different” I don't mean different in concept, design, and execution as much as I mean different in name and network. Sure, they're vaguely different in the other three categories, but a quick glance at the television won't tell you which one you're watching.

The sad thing about it all is that Lipstick Jungle is head and shoulders better than Cashmere Mafia. I don't find either particularly exciting, but the NBC version is definitely superior. The characters are more interesting, the men drawn more fully, and the cast far, far more engaging. I have some serious problems with Kim Raver's Nico as being painted sympathetically for having an affair — that's something that would never be done if it were a man doing it — but the point is minor. Last night Nico made a terribly bad judgment call trying to buy off her boy-toy and the show didn't paint that in a positive light.

In the end however, it seems as though my distress and confusion about both shows will all come to naught. The ratings for neither are particularly strong and neither may return in the fall. Will we, the television audience, have lost something with their disappearance? I tend to think not. The Sex and the City movie comes out this summer and so by fall it will be on DVD and anyone jonesing for a fix of self-obsessed New York City women will be able to watch that over and over and over again.

I guess I'll miss Brooke Shields being on television on a weekly basis and Andrew McCarthy's oddly divorced from reality billionaire, Joe Bennett, but I'd bet that both Shields and McCarthy land on their feet.

Maybe though, just maybe, ABC and NBC will figure out some sort of new business model and combine the two shows into one. I don't mean just a cross-over from time to time, I mean a true single show. The four women on the ABC version could spend more time there and the three on the NBC one could spend more time there, but they could have regular interactions and then Caitlin could finally help out Victory just as I'd imagined she would.

It's a thought.

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