SATC = Sex and the City!
I’ve been planning on writing this post since day one – a post about my favorite television show of all time, Sex and the City! If you have never seen the comedy that aired on HBO from 1998 – 2004, I implore you to stop reading this post immediately and instead, curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and all six seasons, now available to stream free with an Amazon Prime membership (which, if you don’t already have, you should also get pronto).
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, I’ll give you a very short background. The show features four strong, independent, single women living their lives and searching for love in New York City. It is narrated by Carrie Bradshaw, the protagonist played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and follows her life as well as the lives of her three dearest friends, Miranda Hobbs, Charlotte York, and Samantha Jones. Miranda, my personal favorite character, is a Harvard Law grad, cynical, jaded, and has a dry sense of humor. Charlotte is a hopeless romantic who is the epitome of a WASP, and Samantha doesn’t-give-a-f*ck what anyone thinks of her and sleeps with most of Manhattan. And then there’s Carrie, everyone’s best friend, a writer who somehow can afford her closet full of $400 shoes. Each episode attempts to answer a question that Carrie poses for her column in the New York Star – questions like, “do you have to play games to make a relationship work?” and “can you ever really forgive, if you can’t forget?”. It’s both laugh-out-loud funny and can make you cry, sometimes all in the same episode. In short – it’s an amazing television series.
I, for one, did not watch the show when it originally aired. I was in 8th grade when the series started, and my Mom barely allowed me to watch Felicity, let alone SATC. We also didn’t have HBO. I discovered the show in college thanks to our college friend Rita, who was ahead of the curve on both designer jeans and designer television. But it’s Jackie whom I have to credit with making me fall in love with the show. She purchased some bootleg DVD’s from China that we started watching when we became roommates junior year of college. Since then, I’ve seen each of the 94 episodes an average of 20 times each – some many more. I would be remiss to not also mention Caitlin, another SATC diehard fan who’s impersonations of Samantha are dead on – I can’t help but think of her and crack up almost every episode! One of my favorites: “F* me badly once, shame on you. F* me badly twice, shame on me”. If that’s not a motto for life, I don’t know what is.
Although I’ve spent hundreds – no, thousands – of hours watching Sex and the City, it’s worth noting that I rarely give my undivided attention to the show anymore, and haven’t for years. Instead, it serves as a background as I clean and fold laundry – and as a mantra for my life. Just last weekend, I was cleaning and listening to one of my favorite episodes (see below) when it hit me. Carrie turns 35 in the episode, which means that when the series started, Carrie was likely in hear early 30s – 31 or 32, assuming she ages a year each season. And then it hit me. No longer am I watching a show about four women older than me, to whom I can relate but only distantly – at least I am in my 20s and have plenty of time to date and find my husband, right? Except now, I AM Carrie Bradshaw and all of her friends – early 30s, single, and looking for love. When did that happen?!
For those of you who haven’t seen the show or are only casual watchers, what I’m about to say might seem silly to you. Sex and the City means so much more to me than just entertainment. The themes explored throughout the six seasons, questions discussed, and situations encountered are a reflection of my own life. I cannot express the number of times that I’ve experienced something in my real life and thought to myself, “there is a SATC episode just like this!” As ridiculous as it may sound, the show has provided me with a bit of free therapy. Although the characters are fictional, the ups and downs of their lives are based on the lives of real women like me, and knowing that I’m not alone in my struggles – even if only through the television – is very cathartic.
I thought it would be fun to share my top five favorite episodes. Although there are many that I love, these five consistently rise to the top on my most-watched list!
Sarah’s Top Five Sex and the City Episodes
#5: The Real Me [season 4, episode 2]
This episode is Jackie’s favorite (at least it used to be…but maybe that has changed?!). In The Real Me, Carrie is asked to participate in a fashion show that features a mix of real models and regular people, of which she is the latter. The episode attempts to answer the question, “No matter how hard we look, do we ever see ourselves clearly?” Despite not seeing herself as a model, Carrie agrees to walk the runway – and becomes “fashion roadkill” when she falls and Heidi Klum has to walk over her. I also love when Miranda says that she can’t believe a man finds her sexy, and says that “sexy is what I try to get them to see me as after I’ve won them over with my personality”, to which Carrie replies, “you win men over with your personality?” It’s a fun, lighthearted episode, and anytime I hear the song “Got to be Real” by Cheryl Lynn, I think of it and smile.
#4: Plus One is the Loneliest Number [season 5, episode 5]
Now we’re getting into the serious stuff. I chose this episode because it hits a nerve with me, as I imagine it does with many single women. Carrie has a party thrown in honor of her new book release, and although her career is going as well as ever, she can’t help but be saddened by the fact that she doesn’t have a “plus one” to her party. Carrie muses, ” In New York, they say you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment. So, let’s say you have two out of three, and they’re fabulous. Why do we let the one thing we don’t have affect how we feel about all the things we do have? Why does one minus a plus one feel like it adds up to zero?” This is also the episode in which Samantha gets a chemical peel that goes wrong, and tells Carrie, “it was an impulse purchase”, to which Carrie replies, “GUM is an impulse purchase”. Makes me laugh every time!
“Single and Fabulous? That question mark is hostile!” Ah, what a fabulous episode. Carrie and the girls go out for a night on the town, which turns into an all-nighter, causing Carrie to arrive late to a photo shoot looking like shit. The cover was supposed to read “Single and Fabulous!” but instead swapped the exclamation point for a hostile question mark. The experience makes all of the girls question their single status and reach for the company of men whom they are only so-so about. Carrie stops short of sleeping with a man, “I realized if I went home with him, it’d be the only time I’d ever had sex to validate my life. The question mark would no longer be a question, it would be a fact.” The episode poses the question, “is it better to fake it than to be alone?” – a question that I’ve explored myself on this very blog.
#2: The Agony and the “Ex”-Tacy [season 4, episode. 1]
I LOVE this episode, largely because just like #4, it hits close to home. This is the episode I referenced earlier in this post, in which Carrie turns 35 and no one shows up to her birthday dinner due to unforeseen circumstances. Carrie admits to her friends later that night that, ” I hate myself a little for saying this but… it felt really sad not to have a man in my life who cares about me. No special guy to wish me happy birthday. No goddamn soulmate… and I don’t even know if I believe in soulmates.” The scene is so real, so raw, that I can’t help but get emotional almost every time I watch it. A truly great episode that epitomizes what the show is really all about – not just sex and men, but real friendship – and the relationship one has with one’s self.
#1: Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda [season 4, episode. 11]
And, finally, my all-time favorite episode. There is just so much good stuff in this episode! The main storyline is that of Miranda finding out she is pregnant with Steve’s baby and deciding to get an abortion. Charlotte, on the other hand, wants to be a mother but is having trouble conceiving. The emotions between the two characters are raw, and the effect the story line has on Carrie is very real. Ultimately, after much agonizing debate, Miranda decides to keep the baby. I love the way the writer handles these complex topics in a way that makes them very relatable to the viewer. To balance out the heavy storyline, Samantha comes to the rescue with a classic Samantha story line. She uses her status as Lucy Liu’s publicist to get herself a Birkan bag, which, just like most Samantha story lines, is hilarious. “How the fuck long does Lucy Liu have to wait for that Birkin? If they’re so hard to get, maybe you can explain why I just saw a fucking nobody in a track suit carrying the exact one we want!” Love it.
So, tell me – are you a Sex and the City fan? What are your favorite episodes?!