What are you binge-watching this weekend? For me it’s going to be Martin Scorsese’s Pretend It’s A City, which follows Fran Lebowitz around her beloved New York City, a docuseries companion to Public Speaking, which just marked its tenth anniversary in November.
Last April, just after the start of the lockdown in North America, I posted about Fran’s interview with The New Yorker, exactly what I needed at the time; I still go back to it at least once every couple of weeks, partly for reassurance, and partly amusement. It is comforting to know that no matter what, Fran will always be in New York, complaining about something.
And now there are seven episodes of her complaining, musing on NYC, offering her opinion on, well, hopefully everything. I don’t always agree with Fran’s opinion, but I will never not want to hear from Fran – which is why Scorsese worked on this project, because he too always wants to hear from Fran. In a joint interview with The New York Times this week, when asked about doing a sequel to Public Speaking, Marty said:
“I enjoyed making “Public Speaking.” I found it freeing, in terms of narrative. But primarily, it’s about being around Fran. I really would like to know what she thinks, pretty much every day, as it’s happening. I’d like a running commentary — not all the time, but one that I can dip in and out of during the day.”
I too wish that life could be accompanied by Fran’s running commentary in my head. As she admits, she never stops talking, LOL:
“You mean, am I worried about running out of things to say? No. I am worried about running out of money. But it never even occurred to me that I would not have something to say. It’s just there. It’s like having a trick thumb.”
In her review of Pretend It’s A City for The AV Club, Roxana Hadadi writes that:
“Pretend It’s A City is a very niche project, shaped by Lebowitz’s nostalgia toward New York City “back then” and her acidic analysis of contemporary life, and it’s difficult to tell to whom this would appeal outside of Lebowitz and Scorsese fans.”
As a fan of Fran, that’s exactly what I want out of Pretend It’s A City. I want it to appeal to Fran experts. If those who are unfamiliar with Fran watch this on Netflix, as they continue to consume more content because, well, there’s nothing else to do on the weekends, and catch onto it, even better. My friend Iain, a co-Fran-conspirator, texted me when the trailer first came out a couple of weeks ago predicting that “every 25 year old is going to know who she is come January 8”. I don’t know if Iain’s prediction is going to come true. But I would love to see Fran get memed and GIFed, not because I want her to go viral but because I would love to know then what she would think of being memed and GIFed.
Yours in gossip,