Andrew Eccles, NBC
Brooke Shields, Lindsay Price and Kim Raver

Candace Bushnell will happily prattle on about how her new TV series, "Lipstick Jungle' is so much like real life.

She's selling "Jungle" (Thursday, 9 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5) short. Based on her book, it's a soap that's a whole lot of trashy fun.

Bushnell, who also wrote "Sex and the City," doesn't see it that way. She think this new comedy/drama about the lives, loves, careers and friendships of three prominent New York women is apparently just this side of documentary.

"One thing that I absolutely love about our show is I think there's a real truth there," she said in a teleconference with TV critics. "I think there's a poignancy, and I think there's a reality to the show. And we've worked very, very hard on the tone of the show in making sure that it's not too broad."

Not too broad. But, at the very least, there's a whole lot of heightened reality.

Take, for instance, clothing designer Victory Ford (Lindsay Price). Just as her career hits the skids, a billionaire (Andrew McCarthy) begins to pursue her romantically.

"Well, Victory's storyline is a reality, believe it or not," Bushnell said. "Of course, 'Lipstick Jungle' is a TV show, and there is an element of wish fulfillment. But the truth is, the storylines are really the kinds of things that happen to women in New York."

Seems like Bushnell has, perhaps, lost touch with the common folk.

Unless you think that it's an everyday occurrence for an unfulfilled wife/editor of a fashion magazine to soothe her ego with an incredibly hot young man many years her junior. Which is what happens with Nico (Kim Raver).

Or if you believe that a movie mogul like Wendy (Brooke Shields) could achieve the kind of comeuppance that befalls a horrible woman who makes poor Wendy's life miserable.

(That's coming in Episode 3, by the way.)

Do these things happen? Sure.

Do they happen frequently to women with power, money, looks and fashion sense? Of course not.

But it really doesn't matter that "Lipstick Jungle" isn't as "grounded in reality" as Bushnell would like to think. It's a whole heck of a lot of fun to watch if you like somewhat trashy, over-the-top soap opera that creates characters who ring true and are relatable even if the situations fall firmly in category of wish fulfillment.

Hey, all this happens while the women are wearing the latest in designer clothes.

(Did I mention Bushnell wrote "Sex and the City"?)

If, perhaps, the show's creator missed the point a bit, one of its stars did not. For women of money and power, Shields said, all of this is "not so far-fetched."

"But what I also sort of don't want to lose sight of is that at ... the bottom line, we are on network television and we are in the entertainment industry. So we have to allow ourselves to not have to reconcile too much when it comes to just also being entertaining."

And the characters do ring true within their universe — sort of the way the characters on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" rang true despite the outlandish premise.

As Shields put it, you can "care for the people but also be entertained."

And it's a whole lot of fun.

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