ColorTherapy in Film: Sex in the City/HBO Green

Name: Elemental AF-400, Thicket AF-405, Agave AF-420.
Brand: Benjamin Moore Affinity Line

Sex in the City opens this week, and since Sex is in the air, I thought I’d dive into a color & sex subject that I've been wondering about for years....

HBO has had a slew of programs in which every other set was painted the same shade of pea soup green. I could never decide if this was because A) the color was in vogue, B) it photographed well, or C) the people in it photographed well. After HBO cancelled all my shows, I stopped watching television so I’m barely interested. I have a friend who would like to guest-write a column on “blondes in green” but until then, I leave deeper analysis to the production-designer segment of the peanut gallery.

Suffice it to say, these sets are dripping in green. I know I personally look dreadful in this color—it clashes with my complexion, I find it drab and I don’t have the Patricia Field wardrobe for added buoyancy. Yet it somehow works on camera. Blondes do bounce right off of it, redheads even more so and it’s not as cool as “Mary Tyler Moore Blue” from the 70s. The camera hates bright white, which burns out the screen, and a complacent color is needed so here we are. Let’s look at a few photos.

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This wasn’t the only program on HBO to utilize pea soup green—I think their production team in the late 90s was pea green happy. Here, for example, is a still from Six Feet Under, which I think helps to contribute to its ultra-pensive melancholy: it’s drab. And I seem to remember the whole Fisher funeral home painted this color from toe top to crown.

Back to Sex in the City, Pea Soup seems to be a good foil for our peach-vodkas-n-cream complected gals, and all those fun frocks. Here are:

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Carrie’s UES apartment
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Miranda’s Brooklyn Brownstone
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Samantha’s Botox doctor’s office
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Charlotte’s bedroom
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The diner seen in every episode
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More or Carrie’s apartment

And on into the night. I had thought to produce downloadable “SITC” bubblegum cards for Color Therapy readers to trade with each other, but I didn’t think it would hold water with New Line.

So, reader, do you have Sex on the brain? Is this the default color de jour, does it look good on film or do you really love it? I know we’ll all be watching this movie for next season’s fashion and color cues. Let’s have a few cosmos while we study our fan decks.

Possible color matches, from the new Benjamin Moore Affinity line: Elemental AF-400, Thicket AF-405, Agave AF-420.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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