In 1998, I was graduating high school and HBO was debuting a show about 4 thirty-something ladies in New York talking frankly about sex while prioritizing designer shoes over rent and food. Ahh, the nineties, such a simple time.
I loved Sex and the City when I started watching in season 3. I loved the clothes, and the clothes, and the glitz of New York, plus all the clothes. But I didn’t watch TV then the way I watch it now; now the clothes are dated, the show is a pretty poor representation of New York, and the glitz is somewhat tarnished.
Then the Sex and the City movie happened. After the movies the glitz of the show was beyond tarnished for me. The first movie was bad enough, but then SATC 2: Arab Boogaloo happened and it made me so angry that my urge to kill rose anytime SATC was mentioned in my general vicinity.
It took 5 years
and a partial lobotomy to no longer have that reaction to the show. And I figure, if I could sit through a mini-marathon on CosmoTV without ripping my ears off I could probably handle rewatching all six seasons and writing about it.
The episode opens with an anecdote about a thirty-something British woman who moves to New York (with her Louis Vuitton luggage set, natch). She meets a man who “makes two million a year” at an art gallery, they eat dinner, they golf, they fuck, and soon enough they’re looking at houses together. Mr. Two Million hints to the realtor that maybe he and the British chick would fill up every room in that house with babies (that poor hypothetical vagina) and Ms. Expensive Luggage (pretty sure her name is actually Elizabeth, but whatever) swoons appropriately. More swooning commences when Mr. Two Mil suggests she meet his mother and then…nothing. Girlfriend gets ghosted.
Elizabeth, looking rough for someone who has a full set of Louis Vuitton luggage, is recounting this story for a dark-haired smoker in a coffee shop. The smoker is none other than Carrie Bradshaw, sex columnist extraordinaire for the New York Star. Carrie tells us that poor Elizabeth just found out about the “end of love in New York.”
I may or may not have rolled my eyes 14 times since this episode started.
There is more Carrie smoking, more inane voiceovering, more dated sax playing in the background. Carrie muses about all the great single ladies in New York who travel and buy $400 designer shoes and laments how these women, with so much disposable income (God, time before the recession was amazing) could be all alone. Maybe they’re comforting themselves with money and designer shoes, Carrie. I would be.
And now I’m being bombarded by unattractive, but probably rich men (aka: toxic bachelors) mansplaining answers for why NY women were single. They’re not even good enough excuses to type out.
Next we meet Miranda Hobbs (A BRUNETTE MIRANDA) who starts telling a story about a woman who had sex for fun, when suddenly she found herself 41, single, and unable to get a date. Apparently this means the woman’s life was over so she left New York to move in with her mother in Wisconsin. Miranda really missed her calling as a children’s writer. Then Charlotte York sets back the feminist movement 50 years because the only viable way to land a man is to play by “the rules.” Her hair is in a super cute flippy bob though.
There’s more back and forth with the toxic bachelors, Miranda, Charlotte, and now Skipper (the SATC universe’s Nice Guy™) ending with one of the toxic dudes aggressively suggesting that women should just marry fat men. 😐 Maybe if dude didn’t hate women he’d be less angry.
It’s Miranda’s birthday and the girls are celebrating by having drag queens bring her cake. And we finally get to meet Samantha Jones, complete with a declaration that women would all be better off if they just had sex like men.
Carrie’s voiceover tells me that Samantha is an inspiration—she’s an older woman (late thirties is older? I really have no chances then) who regularly sexes up dudes in their twenties. “This is the first time in the history of New York that women have had as much money and power as men [LOL], plus the equal luxury of treating men like sex objects,” says Samantha in all her inspirational wisdom. Sam is going to have her mind blown when she reaches 2016.
There is more inane conversation along this vein with Miranda declaring she dumped a poet because after sex (which was great, apparently) she “didn’t want to go there” when he wanted to share his poetry. I guess dude’s poems were pretty bad then.
Charlotte pipes in with some schmaltz about not giving up on love, Carrie thinks it’s impossible to have sex like a dude and I’m just sitting here going:
Voiceover Carrie, in all her stereotypical rom-com glory is sitting in bed delivering the first of 92
glorious tedious ridiculous thesis statements: “Was it true? Were women in New York really giving up on love and throttling up on power?” (Which, if you haven’t guessed by now, is where I’m getting the title of these posts.) Carrie, dropping the spoon, grins into the camera, “What a tempting thought!” The constant fourth-wall breaking is making me rethink this entire project and I’m only part way through the first episode.
The next day Carrie is having lunch with Stanford (finally! A character I don’t loathe!) and we are treated to Carrie asking Stanford if he is in love before spotting Kit Harrington (not this Kit Harrington) in all his late 90s trash glory (dude looks like he was the bad boy in a one-hit wonder 90s boy band). Kit is Carrie’s ex, a mistake she made repeatedly in her twenties and early thirties, but I guess it’s understandable because he was the best sex she’s ever had. Stanford urges Carrie not to approach him, so obviously Carrie just has to go over to Kit and tells Stanford its for research. Stanford wins my heart forever when he tells Carrie he “doesn’t have the patience to clean up this mess for the fourth time.” THAT’S A GOOD FRIEND CARRIE. LISTEN TO YOUR GOOD FRIEND STANFORD.
So, Carrie goes back to Kit’s where we’re treated to listening to Carrie agree with whatever it is Kit’s doing under the sheets (hint: it’s cunnilingus). He pops up saying it’s his turn and Carrie, short of laughing in his face, bounces. This may be the only time I truly respect Carrie Bradshaw. Get yours, girl, get yours.
Strutting out of Kit’s building, full of pride in successfully sexing like a dude, Carrie is promptly bumped into by a very rude person who doesn’t even say sorry when the contents of her purse go flying. (This is how you can tell I’m Canadian.)
She quickly begins gathering the 1000 condoms that have flown out of her bag when a handsome man approaches. The handsome man helps her pick up her Trojans, Carrie notices he isn’t wearing a wedding ring, and the handsome man all but wink,wink, nudge,nudges her. Flustered, Carrie pulls on the hem of her dress as she looks back at the handsome man walking away. And that, boys and girls is how Carrie and Big met-cute.
Carrie, in the name of research, is having coffee with Skipper. Skipper is whining about how he has ~feelings~ and is generally lamenting life as a Nice Guy™ while Carrie muses about whether or not Skipper was gay. The nineties were wild, you guys. A lightbulb over her head lights up because ding! ding! ding! Carrie thinks Skipper should date Miranda! What could go wrong?
Carrie is not a good friend, you guys. She voiceovers all about how Miranda is going to hate Skipper and how she’ll think his “sweet nature” (*gag*) is going to make her think he’s really a lying asshole. Why, why would she think this is a good idea??!!
Anyway, that’s when Charlotte calls to cancel going to the club with her friends because she has a date with “ungettable bachelor” Capote Duncan (aka: one of those toxic bachelors from earlier) and how she isn’t participating in the sex like a man game that’s apparently happening.
Remember how in the late 90s dresses that looked like lingerie was a thing? Carrie’s leopard print number will remind you it was very much A Thing. She makes a terrible joke comparing Chaos (the club) to Cheers and you really get a sense that Carrie is probably a terrible writer. The New York Star is lucky to have her.
Oh god, the next scene is Miranda and Skipper on their date. Miranda is complaining about how many models were there at the club and how were regular women supposed to compete with them? She calls Skipper Skippy to further undermine him, and honestly I think it’s hilarious. Rude af, but hilarious. Skipper tells Miranda he thinks women who aren’t beautiful are still capable of being interesting (ugh, shut up Skippy) so Miranda
reaches down his throat, rips out his heart and eats it in front of him rips into him because she thinks he’s implied that she isn’t beautiful. It’s like watching the dumbest accident ever. You can’t look away but also you’re rolling your eyes so hard you may rupture a blood vessel.
As Carrie attempts to intervene, she’s accosted by Kit (Chaos is the place to be seen, after all) who corners her just to say that he’s glad she FINALLY figured out the kind of relationship he’s wanted this entire time: sex without commitment. They both say they’ll call when they’re horny, but Carrie’s expression will tell you that’s never happening.
Carrie walks up to Samantha who is eyeing Mr. Big. She tells Carrie he is the next Donald Trump, just younger and better looking (obviously—a rotting hunk of meat is better looking than Donald Trump); apparently he only dates models, but Sam is determined to make him hers—for the night at least. She checks herself out, squares up her courage and her shoulders, and sidles up to Big asking for him to light her Honduran cigar. And even though she’s basically giving him a preview of what he’d be in for with a night with Samantha Jones, Big doesn’t fall all over himself to replace that cigar she’s sucking on with his dick. This is how you know Big is a Classy Dude. Well, that and he smokes Cubans. Of course, him declaring how cool he is because he’s been smoking cigars since “they were terminally uncool” just negates that. Hipster Big is just a smarmy jackass.
Meanwhile, on Charlotte’s date she and Capote are leaving a gala when he asks her to come back to his place to see his “Ross Bleckner.” That’s what toxic bachelors called their penises back in the 90s. Charlotte’s rules tell her to say no, but the lure of the Bleckner beckons. They kiss but Charlotte’s rules dictate that a lady has to get up early in the morning so Capote, ever the gentleman, gets her a cab. But then he gets in and asks the driver to take him to Chaos because while he gets and respects Charlotte’s no sex on the first date thing, he “REALLY needs to have sex tonight.” Did I call him a gentleman? I meant gross asshole.
Back at Chaos, Capote slips into the club to look for his lay while Miranda and Skipper kiss outside. Skipper is apparently smitten and Miranda wants to get laid. Whatever. Carrie attempts to get a cab, but lucky for Carrie Big pulls up in his limo, saving her from the “unthinkable”—having to walk home. Bitch, please.
On the ride home, he ask her what she does for a living and she tells him she is a “sex anthropologist,” and Big—ever the charmer—replies “like a hooker?” with that giant smarmy-ass grin of his. He clearly thinks he’s witty af and frankly, he’s the only one. Carrie explains that she’s a columnist for the New York Star and that she’s researching that whole sex like a man thing. Big then condescends that Carrie has never been in love in that special way of his that makes Carrie promptly fall in love with him. It’s a charming story, really. One for the grandkids.
Big’s limo pulls up to Carrie’s house and as she leaves she turns and ask him if he’s ever been in love; Big answers “abso-fucking-lutely!” because of course he does.
Meanwhile, Capote picked up Sam at Chaos and they did it, obviously.
- Tim (aka: Mr. Two Million)
- Peter (Toxic Bachelor #1)
- Capote Duncan (Toxic Bachelor #2)
- Nice Guy TM Skipper
- Mr. Big
4 Honduran cigars out of 10 Cubans