The Fifth Character

I've had the
sublime pleasure of watching today's guest blogger grow up, mature and become a
smart, young PR professional. Like her dad, though, Catharine Cody isn't shy
about sharing her POV. Her guest blog concerns the iconic TV show 'Sex & the
City' and how it shaped (if not, warped) her generation's view of PR.

The goose

"Sex & The City" ruined the image of PR for
just about every girl my age. Growing up, we all thought Samantha Jones had
just the coolest lifestyle possible. And, then we landed gigs in PR and, well,
let's just say, the truth was a little different.

But, I wouldn't change the basic plot of Sex. It was too
good to tamper with. I would, however, add a fifth character who REALLY lived a
PR executive's life.

I'd call her The Goose. She'd be the youngest of the
group and an intern at a hot, midsized Manhattan PR firm. But, unlike Samantha,
the Goose would do lots of administrative tasks. And, afterwards, she'd
decompress with her BFFs and have a conversation along these lines:

Samantha: "Oh, I'm so tired. These new Pradas are
killing my heels and I've got a huge party at Lotus tonight. P'Ditty, Lady Gaga
and Snoop Lion will all be there."

Carrie: "Big's MIA again. He won’t answer my calls."

The Goose: "At least it's only one person not
returning your calls. Try calling 100 reporters each and every day and getting
them interested in flow valves. Talk about rejection!"

Carrie: "Big was supposed to go apartment hunting
with me. There's a to-die-for one bedroom in SoHo that has our name written all
over it. Now, someone else will grab it."

The Goose: "Try sharing a two-bedroom apartment
with four other people in a crumbling walk-up in Secaucus. You want to talk
about to-die-for? My commute kills me!”

Samantha: “Ariana Huffington wants to do lunch, but I
just don’t like the cut of her jib. 
How’d she even get my number?”

The Goose: “Wait, you’re complaining about how Ariana
Huffington got your number?  I give mine
out to every single reporter I meet and my phone barely ever rings!”

It would definitely be interesting to see how this
dynamic would play out with girls in high school and college who are just now
figuring out what they want to do in life(and think PR is all about glamor.)  Had I known most of my day would be full of
“sorry-not interested” and “Can you just email this to me?” I might have had
different expectations about the real world of public relations. Now excuse me,
I need to go pitch a new cleaning product that’s safe for the environment.  

7 thoughts on “The Fifth Character

  1. Great post, Catharine. I completely agree with you and I wish some people still didn’t think that what I do here at Peppercom is the same as what Samantha does. Also, she has pretty flexible hours from what I remember–I wonder how her clients like that . . .

  2. Thanks for the comment, Julie. Young and impressionable girls don’t usually know right from wrong. When watching the show, i really believed that’s how the world worked. I soon found out how wrong I was.

  3. I could never understand why people still believe TV is reality when reality TV isn’t even reality.
    I agree that (based on what they see in TV shows and movies) people believe PR is a fun, glamorous profession filled with red carpet events, swag, and celebrities.
    However, I also find that TV warps people’s views of NYC. I see young people moving here from other parts of the country thinking their lives will mirror the characters on “Friends.” They are stunned when they find out they can’t even afford a closet-sized apartment in a doorman building in Tribeca.

  4. I couldn’t agree more, Syd. Samantha can keep her celebrity events. Me, I’ll stick to real world PR.

  5. Though lighthearted in tone, this is instructional for any young person considering a PR career based on what she sees on TV. I know first hand about this; I once had a young AC quit on me after a few weeks, disillusioned because she expected PR to be like “Spin City,” a popular sitcom at the time.
    The reality may not be as glamorous as its fictional counterparts, but this is still one of the more fun ways to make a living.