When we came to reviewing this classic rom-sit-com, we couldn’t help but wonder, has Carrie Bradshaw become less annoying over time?
Unfortunately, we can confirm she hasn’t, and still wears the crown for most infuriating character on Sex and The City. And yet somehow, we still find ourselves occasionally yearning to hear that foot tapping, jazzy theme song and watch Ms Bradshaw get splashed by a passing van, right before launching into twenty minutes of melodrama and shagging. Because though this show may be one of the most frustrating programmes you’ll ever watch – we still haven’t forgiven Carrie for how she treated Aidan – it’s also one of the most entertaining and addictive.
For the Sex and The City virgins, let us break down the premise – set in New York, the series follows the friendship of four women in their mid-thirties to early-forties, as they try and navigate careers and crazy love lives whilst also saving time to totter around the city in their designer shoes. And it’s miraculous they’re so close really, considering they’re about as well matched as socks and sandals – you’ve got the uptight and proper Charlotte (Kristin Davis), witty and wry workaholic Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), sex obsessed cougar Samantha (Kim Cattrall), and our whiney self-destructive lead, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker). They stick together, as boyfriends – and girlfriends, at one point – come and go, in a celebration of female friendship and sexual freedom.
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If you treated yourself to a rewatch now, no doubt some of the scenes would have your 2021 eyebrows raised, wondering how Carrie got away with some of the things she said, and noticing how rich and white everyone seems to be. But the 1990s were a very different time, and believe it or not, this show was quietly revolutionary then – it first aired in 1998, before the so-called TV revolution sparked by shows such as The Sopranos and The Wire, making cable TV a must-have. But these four Fendi purse-toting women also had viewers coming to HBO en masse, ready for another round of foul-mouthed fun. In an era where women-led narratives were rare, particularly ones that didn’t centre around motherhood and marriage, we can’t help but place Sex and The City on a pedestal, ideally built exclusively out of Jimmy Choos.
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Yes, these women have way more money than they would ever logically earn in their jobs, yes, they objectify the opposite sex, yes, the unrealistic amount of readily available eligible young bachelors would put bumble out of business in a week….and yes, we can’t stop watching.
This show didn’t quite reach the status of its West Village neighbour, Friends, but its status as a classic 90s sitcom still holds up, and despite the increasingly frayed relationships between cast members, it’s had two hugely successful follow up movies. The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman says: “Women loved SATC because it featured some of the truest writing around, the sharpest observations, the most original fashion and the funniest jokes… SATC made a whole generation of girls the women they are today, and for that I thank it, from the bottom of my Manolo-shaped heart.”
First shown June 1998.