When ABC and NBC went head to head in the broadcast network battle for a “Sex and the City” clone, it was always going to be a tough call which one would survive: NBC’s “Lipstick Jungle,” based on a novel by Candace Bushnell, who wrote the original “Sex” novel, or ABC’s “Cashmere Mafia,” which was executive-produced by Darren Star, who held the same role for “Sex” on HBO. The latter series deserved it more, but in the end, it was the former that scored renewal at the end of its first season. While Season 2 of “Lipstick Jungle” started off promisingly, with Mary Tyler Moore turning up to play Brooke Shields’ mother and Charles’s death, it still ultimately suffered from the same problem which existed in its first year: you can’t readily buy into the three leads – Shields, Kim Raver, and Lindsay Price – cultivating friendships with each other. (They do at least acknowledge that the women have very different natures in both their business and personal lives.)
Shields and Price get the best plot lines, with Wendy (Shields) getting fired for making a decision that’s morally right but legally wrong, and Victory (Price) trying to stand on her own two feet, i.e. without Joe (Andrew McCarthy), despite her former publicist (Rosie Perez) trying to damage her reputation, but Nico (Raver) never fails to be in a miasma of melodrama, and since she’s never been a terribly sympathetic character to begin with, you almost root for her to fail at times. The show’s diehard fans will no doubt be sad that there will be no Season 3, but after watching “Lipstick Jungle: Season 2,” the average viewer probably won’t be terribly surprised.