Review: Pretend it's a City ★★★★★
By all accounts, Fran Lebowitz and I are nothing alike.
If Fran and I met, I'd place a large bet on her despising me after little more than a chat over coffee. As a chronic people-pleaser (part of the reason she would find me repulsive), I find it odd that her assumed hatred for me is part of the reason I adore her.
Fran Lebowitz is one of the few people that are honest, in its truest form. What I find perhaps most profound about Fran, is that her opinions and offerings are not seemingly groundbreaking, yet always feel like a cutting perspective. I attribute part of this purely to her method of engaging. As a woman, it is so incredibly refreshing to see a woman in conversation with various men (Alec Baldwin, Spike Lee, David Letterman and Scorsese all feature) who is so bitter, uncompromising and direct.
Fran Lebowitz is a skilled articulator, a communicator who pulls no punches and wastes no words. Delicious.
Pretend it's a city is an experience. In order to love it, it's imperative that you can handle monologue you disagree with, the stream of consciousness kind. You also have to tolerate Scorsese to some degree, his presence may be limited, but his enjoyment of Fran is one of the most distinct aspects of the series. Most of all, you must love New York.
In a world where toxic positivity runs rampant, Fran's disdain for society and culture as a whole is a refreshing perspective. To meet a humorist who both loves and resents her city, to meet a cynic who isn't problematic or patronising, to meet a woman who is just so unflinchingly herself in a world of pushback - is fucking unique.
An extract from 'the Delights of New York, Fran Lebowitz, and Martin Scorsese’s Laugh' by Naomi Fry:
"Lebowitz needs plenty of room. This will come as no surprise to anyone who is even vaguely familiar with her work, which, in the past four decades, has largely consisted of being Fran Lebowitz: a strong-willed, grumpy, verbose, brilliant woman, who is eager to give her invariably cutting take on anything and everything. "
Pretend it's a City isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if it is your personal brand of earl grey...you're in for a treat. And if you don't like Fran or the show, do not worry...she definitely does not care.