Culture.

  • Tue, 20, Aug, 2019 - 5:00:AM

Tim Batt will (probably) never watch Sex and the City again

Left: Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt by Andi Crown / Supplied | Right: Kim Cattrall / Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t heard of The Worst Idea of All Time podcast… well, you’ve arrived too late. Maybe. The boys – local comedians Guy Montgomery and Tim Batt – have shut up shop. Just like they said they would after the first season – an avant-garde exploration of what happens when you force yourself to watch Grown Ups 2 once a week for a year.

For their second season the fellas, as they’ve come to be called by their legions of cultish fans, took Sex and the City 2 for a year-long spin. They swore they wouldn’t do anything like that again. Then they did – with the panned Zac Efron vehicle We Are Your Friends.

But that was that, three seasons was enough – until they decided to watch the original Sex and the City film, twice a week for six months.

They’ve just come off season four and now they’re totally done. So sorry newcomers, you’re dang out of luck. Supposedly.

I caught up with Tim about the politics of Sex and the City and where to from here.

Hi Tim! So, you and Guy must hold some of the strangest world records out there – particularly in regards to the Sex and the City universe. You’ve spent over 200 hours ‘inside’ SATC without ever watching the show. Can you imagine what the TV show looks like?

The mind certainly plays tricks when you've been hanging out with the worst version of a friend group for this long (even if they aren't real, per se). I have caught parts of the series and have always been aware of its cultural importance – it’s what makes these bad movies so ridiculous.

Did you have any reservations (perhaps at the front of the second season) as two boys entering such a female world?

We did. We were aware of the potential of the season being read as two guys shitting on a very important universe that was built for a female audience. But even when we watched Grown Ups 2 for a year, we were always the victims of the podcast. And as we've said time and again, no movie would stand up to this kind of scrutiny. The point has always been that Guy and I walk ourselves into a mental jail, lock the door behind us, and throw the key out of reach. We made a point of having all female guests (except for our final episode guest, Paul F. Tompkins) for our Sex and The City 2 season. It was actually pretty great that we didn't hear from a single person asking why we only had women as guests – I don't think anyone even noticed.

I appreciated that you had a roster of female guests on the pod this season too – with a variety of views on SATC. Did this help you to see the film in new ways?

Absolutely. I think watching the film with the intended audience is always worthwhile. Film reviewer Dom Corry (a friend of the pod who's guested a couple of times) always preaches that you take a movie for what it's trying to do – that you have to come to a film, rather than maintain the idea that it should come to you. Watching with a bunch of hilarious and very smart women in their 20s and 30s was perfect for this. For the record, they fucking hated the movies too. But there was definitely scenes, lines and characters they enjoyed that Guy and I did not by virtue of our experience as dudes.

I understand the TV series is considered a feminist feat, but the films represent some of the whitest, most capitalist, most narcissistic strands of feminism I’ve ever seen. How did you survive your immersion in that place?

The second film, in particular, is an atrocious and entirely tone-deaf display of racism and hyper-consumerism but no matter what the film is, you can't engage with the story or themes after about 10 watches. Then you're in the territory of analysing background characters, inventing conspiracy theories and trawling through IMDB pages to generate some new sensory information to avoid going out of your mind.

One review I read contained the line “I walked into the theatre hoping for a nice evening and came out as a hard-line Marxist”. Did watching this film so many times have any impact on your political thinking?

I can absolutely relate to that review. The trappings on display without any mention or regard for the fraction of people for whom it's relatable just generates an Eat The Rich mentality. Even their feminism seems to be interpreted solely through the lens of whiteness and wealth and frankly, it's pretty fucked.

The solidarity of female friendship which I understand made the TV series so great is lacking too, so you're just left with these 40-something white women bitching inside of 5th Avenue penthouse apartments.

You’ve had some time to think about it... which gal are you? And who would you say Guy is?

Guy has repeatedly said he identifies as a Miranda which blows my mind because I have him cast as a Samantha. He's no ‘slut’ but he's incredibly positive and social and basically a joy to be around. I think I'm closer to a Carrie unfortunately – a bit more riddled with neuroses and self-generated stress. Though, thankfully, I’m not nearly as self-involved.

Finally – and please take it easy on yourselves – what have you boys got planned next?

We’ll hopefully be announcing what's coming up for the fellas next month. We do have an idea and we’re just now figuring out if it's feasible. We have decided that the podcast cannot continue for another season in its current form – we simply don't have the mental capacity to run another season of it. But stay tuned, I don't think we're quite done just yet.

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